Ethiopia: The latest in the incessant self-serving lies of TPLF regime – By Robele Ababya
Botswana and Japan are paragons of democracy in our global community; both have achieved truly enviable results in socio-economical and political spheres in a short time – the former since its independence in 1966 and the latter since the end of the raging flame of World War II in which it was an aggressor. Japan is now a giant democratic industrial power and a key member of the G8 in its own right growing to its present stature despite its poor natural resources. It is therefore totally wrong that tyrant Meles cited these two countries as examples of states, where one party held dominant power and ruled uninterrupted for decades, to justify his Stalinist hold on power for 19 years.
The notorious propaganda machine of the brutal ruling regime in Addis Ababa came up with its newest brand of blatant lie meant to deceive the world community that there is a functioning democracy in Ethiopia. The subject this time is the categorical rejection by Meles Zenawi that Ethiopia is not a one-party state – vide article by Peter Heinlein posted on Abugida website on 18 August 2010, entitled “Ethiopia faces era of one-party rule ”). He lied in his desperate effort to justify stolen votes culminating in 99.6% ‘win’ of parliamentary seats by his TPLF/EPRDF party in the heavily rigged election of 23 May 2010.
Given the rapid change in information technology and the dramatic development of science and applied sciences in the last twenty years, the TPLF regime could and should have come close to Botswana in good-governance and prosperity. But Ethiopia under the ruling regime is at the tail end of the poor of the poorest African countries according to modern parameters chosen for measuring performance in good-governance. This is not surprising to Ethiopians for they have been victims of, inter alia: heinous crimes including genocide; vote robbery twice; denial of access to independent sources of information; and, in short, absence of pillars of democracy including independent judiciary, neutral security and defense forces, private property ownership including land, and free civic organizations.
In the face of known shortcomings of his government, Meles told the world that Ethiopia is not a one-party state. Alas! Interminable lies and deceptions are the hallmarks of the TPLF regime!
Ethiopia is a beautiful country of thirteen months of sunshine where lies and deceptions are as a matter of policy manufactured and broadcast daily in as many months since the TPLF regime came to power almost two decades ago. Add to this the time starting from the creation of the Marxist Leninist League of Tigray (MLLT) with resources withheld from donations for the victim of famine in 1984/85. The patriarch of MLLT grabbed power through a deluge of blood to destroy Ethiopia. It would be foolhardy not to do our utmost to restore our dignity and the beauty of Ethiopia; it would be irresponsible and dereliction of one’s duty as a citizen not to strongly object to the torrent of embarrassing public statements replete with lies, deception and misleading information.
Meles wants to shut our eyes to deceive us. He is determined to brain-wash our young Ethiopians by denying academic freedom in tertiary institutions. His regime comes out with all kinds of flimsy excuses to foreclose freedom of association including public demonstration – which are taken for granted in Botswana or Japan.
A brief description of fair, free and credible democratic elections in Botswana and Japan would be in order to show how radically different they are from that of Ethiopia under the TPLF regime, which boasts that there are 92 political parties in the country most of which are sham parties fabricated by the ruling party as part of its effort to rig elections:
There are eight political entities or parties in Botswana, namely: Botswana Democratic Party (BDP); Botswana National Front (BNF); Botswana Congress Party (BCP); Botswana Alliance Movement (BAM); Botswana People’s Party (BPP); New Democratic Front; International Socialist Organization; Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin Movement; Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) – created in 2010 and rapidly gaining strength.
However, only the following four have won seats in the National Assembly in the elections held after the independence of Botswana:
1. The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has been the dominant conservative ruling party in the history of Botswana – which, under the distinguished leadership of Sir Seretse Khama, became independent from its status as British protectorate. The BDP was created in 1965 by Sir Seretse Khama who is celebrated as father and founder of the nation and exalted for nurturing the economic and political success of Botswana. The BDP won 53.26% of popular votes and 45 out of 57 seats in the last election of 2009. The combined popular vote for the opposition was 46.74 % with a total of 12 seats in the National Assembly (Parliament) of Botswana.
The current President Ian Khama, son of Sir Seretse Khama, was BDP candidate in the last election in October 2009. The BDP has since suffered a serious split culminating in the exodus of disgruntled members leaving in droves to join a splinter group known as Botswana Movement for Democracy which is becoming increasingly popular. It seems that the dominant role of the ruling party is going to be a thing of the past sooner than later.
It stands to the credit of President Ian Khama, the fourth President of Botswana, that he did not use force to stem dissent within his ruling party, BDP, nor hinder the formation of a new party. This is a sign of a political maturity and firm democratic culture; the civilized acceptance of dissent is in sharp contrast to the heavy-handed crackdown on members and supporters of the victorious opposition party (Kinijit) and subsequent incarceration of its leaders in the aftermath of election of 2005; and rigging election 2010 heavily in favor of Zenawi’s ruling party as confirmed by independent foreign observers.
2. The Botswana National Front (BNF) is the main opposition party. At the 2004 general election it won 26.1% of the popular vote and 12 out of 57 seats. However its representation plummeted to only six seats in the National Assembly of Botswana.
3. The Botswana Congress Party is a social-democratic political party considered the third largest party in Botswana. It won 4 seats in the 2009 election.
4. The Botswana Alliance Movement (BAM) is a progressive political party. In the 2009 elections the party won one seat.
Elections in Botswana are smooth and orderly. Defeats are conceded readily and celebrations are brief and enviably efficient and civilized. The pillars of democracy: electoral commission, defense and security forces, judiciary, media and civic organizations are all free and independent. Members of the National Assembly including the President of Botswana regularly meet with their constituencies to account for their actions as well as for consultation on local and national issues. Freedom of association is taken for granted in Botswana. Ethnic-based politics is discouraged. No political party is allowed to use state-resources to influence level-playing field and enhance its position of getting elected.
Rigging of votes does not exist; no political party calls its competitor an enemy. The current President of Botswana, Ian Khama, openly condemns any attempt to amending constitutions for the sake of extending term limits for presidents in power. Surely his noble stand has sent a powerful message to leaders like tyrant Meles.
Private property ownership is sacred in Botswana. It (Botswana) is one of the least corrupt countries in the world. It has graduated to middle- income category. There is no requirement for entry visa to the USA and EU for citizens of Botswana.
Most admirable of all: There have been no political prisoners in the history of independent Botswana; no harassment of political parties by the government or party in power.
All of the above stand in sharp contrast to the pathetic conditions prevailing in Ethiopia- an ancient country suffering under deafening malaise of state-sponsored interminable lies. Contrary to naked lies of Zenawi, Ethiopia is at the tail-end of poor and ill-governed countries according to a paper in Amharic by Sisay Agena based on world wide data entitled “በዉሸት ደዌ ለምትሰቃዩ – እነሆ እውነቱን! የአፍሪካም ጭራ ነን” – to those sick with lies, here is the truth; we are the last in the world.
The opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) won in the general election held on August 30, 2009 for all 480 seats of the House of Representatives of Japan, the lower house (LH), defeating the ruling coalition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and New Komeito Party. The LDP had ruled Japan since its formation in 1955, except for an 11-month period from 1993 to 1994. The election marked the worst defeat for a governing party in modern Japanese history. It was only the second time the LDP has lost a general election, and was the first time since its formation that the LDP would not be a majority party in terms of number of seats held in the lower house.
Name of political Parties No. of Seats held as at 30/08/10
Democratic Party of Japan 307 109
Liberal Democratic Party of Japan 116 82
New Komieto 19 21
Japanese Communist Party 9 7
Social Democratic Party 7 5
Youth Party 10 1
People’s New Party : New Party Nippon 3 4
The Sunrise Party of Japan 3 2
Vacant 2 ?
Japan is one of the foremost mature democracies on earth; it is a formidable industrial might enviable for its swift ascendency to the epic of economic power in a short time of its democratic culture after WWII, admirably more so given its poor national resources.
The LDP deservedly took credit for the incredible economic growth of Japan which was the reason for staying in power as the ruling party in the period 1995- 2009, except for an 11-month period from 1993 to 1994. It is therefore shameful on the part of Zenawi to compare his repressive party with the LDP of Japan that has brought prosperity and vibrant democracy. In Japan, no leader of a ruling party can call legally constituted opposition parties as its enemies and survive in office.
Botswana and Japan are in the domain of paragon of free democratic societies in our global community; both have achieved truly enviable results in socio-economical and political spheres in a short time. The phenomenal positive overall development in these countries is living proof that only a free democratic society can achieve such stupendous achievements.
In Ethiopia, how long the TPLF/EPRDF has stayed in power is not one of the burning issues; the contentious issues are rather, inter alia: the rampant breach by the ruling party of its own constitution imposed on the Ethiopian people; gross mismanagement of the national economy; grave abuse of basic human rights; the unanswered question of land to the tiller; the paradox between double-digit economic growth and abject poverty; secretly ceding land to the Sudan; leasing of large chunks of land to unscrupulous foreign ‘investors’; regional instability in the Horn of Africa; ideology – revolutionary democracy versus liberal democracy; and the divisive ethnic- based politics leading to more dismemberment of Ethiopia.
Genuine democratic elections are never held while political leaders are held in prison as in the case of Ethiopia where Birtukan Mideksa, a symbol of peaceful struggle, and thousands of prisoners of conscience are languishing in filthy jails throughout Ethiopia. Therefore the claim of 99.6% ‘win” in the election of 23 May 2010 is indeed the latest in the brand of nauseating chronic lies and deceptions by the Zenawi regime – more so that the regime allocated to the ruling party substantial state resources to cover expenses incurred in the heavily rigged election in its favor. What a naked robbery of resources and votes! What a shameful comparison of humiliating fake elections in Ethiopia with those of Botswana or Japan where flawless elections are the norm!
Meles is a Stalinist in sheep’s clothing. He has for the second time stolen votes and assumed illegitimate power to destroy the flickering trace of democracy in Ethiopia in the next five years of his tenure while shedding crocodile tears for good-governance to appease donors which give him direct financial support in pursuit of their national interests. He has openly declared that even opposition parties committed to peaceful change are his enemies. He cannot be trusted to foster democracy.
One would challenge Meles to prove his oft repeated assertion that democracy is not an option but a necessity for Ethiopia. If he is serious about his assertion, he can start by ordering the release of Birtukan Mideksa and all political prisoners in Ethiopia with a stroke of a pen. But he won’t do it!
Therefore, pro-Ethiopia opposition forces should work incessantly in unison to stop Meles’s destructive stance much sooner than 2015. Let us embrace respect for fundamental human rights as the centerpiece in our struggle for a free and compassionate democratic society relying foremost on our own effort to that end.
LONG LIVE ETHIOPIA!!!
Justice for our martyrs who must never be forgotten!
Free Birtukan and all political prisoners in Ethiopia!