EPRDF – MISSING ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY The Politics of Deception – Girma Kassa (Chicago), muziky68@yahoo.com

July 19th, 2007 Print Print Email Email

For the seventh time, EPRDF officials are squandering an opportunity to reconcile themselves with the Ethiopian people. (more…)

For the seventh time, EPRDF officials are squandering an opportunity to reconcile themselves with the Ethiopian people.

In May 1991, the former EPRDF rebels entered Addis Ababa and other major cities in Ethiopia without any major fights. The Ethiopian People allowed them in their cities hoping a better Ethiopia would come out after a 17 years bloody, repressive and brutal reign of Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam.

Unfortunately the EPRDF officials offended Ethiopians by implementing a backward and medieval ethnic politics and making Ethiopia a country with no sea outlets. These added to many arrogant comments of disrespect towards the Ethiopian green-yellow-red flag from the part of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, exasperated the mistrusts and disapproval of the EPRDF by the people. (First opportunity lost)

In 1998, Ethiopians, setting aside the past serious mistakes of the EPRDF, rallied behind Prime Minister Zenawi to defend the aggression of Shabia (The Eritrean regime of President Issayas Afeworki). “This could be a chance for EPRDF to undo its past mistakes” many thought.

Again, after the death of tens of thousands of our brothers and sisters, the Ethiopian defense forces reached the gates of Asmara and could have removed once and for all the long time trouble of Ethiopia.

Prime Minister Meles and his colleagues in Arat Kilo reversed the victory though, signed the Algiers agreement, unconditionally accepted the decision of the border commission that exclusively gave Badme to Eritrea and squandered again the good will gesture they got from the People. (Second opportunity lost)

In May 2000, during the first relatively democratic election, the ruling party has gotten praises and admirations from different angle of our society for allowing democratic exercises. The public media was relatively free. Peaceful demonstrations against the government were held without harassment. International elections observers were allowed.

When it comes to the result of the May election it was not what the regime expected. The regime then started destroying what they build. Had they accepted the decision of the people, they could have written their name in the history book. They could have earned the respect and love of the people for being humble and true democrat. It could have given them the opportunity to come back again in power in next elections.

By rigging the election and killing our unarmed civilian’s brothers and sisters, they, nevertheless, lost for a third time a very golden opportunity to be respected and loved by the people. (Third opportunity lost)

From June 2005 to November 2005, many were hoping the negotiation between Kinijit (CUD) and UEDF on one side and the EPRDF on the other would bring some sort of understanding among all parties, and the country would be spared from political crisis and instability. The CUD postponed the first civil and peaceful disobedience campaign it called for, to give peace and dialog a chance, agreed to enter parliament and decided to focus on the future. Their only demands were demands that strengthen democratic institutions so that Election 97 would not be repeated in the next 2010 election.

To the surprise of many, the EPRDF leaders took the compromise of the CUD as a weakness and refused to come to the table. They continued their intimidation.

In November 2005, in an unprecedented barbaric show of force, security forces directly under the command of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, indiscriminately fired on peaceful demonstrators and killed more than 200 innocent civilians. They brutally detained more than hundred thousands from their kebeles and weredas and placed them hundreds miles away from their home in more than 4 concentration camps across Ethiopia. (Ziway, Shewarobit, Kolfe, Dedessa ..) Reporters, human right activists, anti poverty campaign advocates and Kinijit/CUD leaders were arrested and send to prison. (Amnesty International called these prisoners prisoner of conscious.)

These totalitarian actions of the EPRDF added fuel to the hatred and disgust the people has against it and closed another opportunity that could bring stability. (Fourth opportunity lost)

For the last two years, efforts were being made to secure the release of prisoners of conscious and bring peace and reconciliation in Ethiopia. The European Union, The United State Congress, International civic groups, the US ambassador Donald Yamammato and Ethiopians from different angles called the regime in Arat Kilo to take concrete actions for peace and democracy. They called for the government of Ethiopia to unconditionally release the prisoner of conscious and come to the negotiation table to solve the political crisis of the country in a dialog.

On March 23, the government controlled court was to give its preliminary judgment on the merit of the case against incarcerated prisoner of conscious. Many of us hoped this time The EPRDF leaders would do the right thing and learn from their past mistakes. We hoped the case would be dismissed and the regime would start undoing its damage.

“Mon Dieu” – The cadres of the regime in black robe allowed the court proceeding to continue and showed their disrespect to the rule of law they were supposed to uphold.

Three month later this same court found the popular and loved prisoners of conscious guilty of ridiculous charges and sentenced them with life imprisonment. (Opportunities five and six lost)

After heavy pressures from the international community, from some rank and files within the TPLF itself, from Ethiopians in the Diaspora and for fear of the anger and bitterness of the Ethiopian people that may explode and possibly devour them alive at anytime, the EPRDF rulers decided to free prisoners of conscious. The Board of Amnesty approved their release.

The release of prisoners could have opened a new era of a rapprochement and new beginning. It was a very good opportunity to, once and for all, open the door for peace and reconciliation.

They spoiled it again. Officials in Arat Kilo are killing the great efforts of the shemageles and started a campaign of deception that does nothing but build up tension with the opposition.

Dr Merrara Gudina, a prominent opposition leader from the UEDF expressed his dismay and frustration towards the latest campaign of misinformation against Kinijit leaders by the government controlled media. He said:” It is not a normal national reconciliation. It looks like the government tries to humiliate them (kiniit leaders) rather than stretch its hand for national reconciliation. So that is what makes me skeptical, whether we are moving forward or not. “ [1]

It would have been prudent and wise for EPRDF officials to admit mistakes, offer olive branches to all their opponents and be ready for a true reconciliation that is based on honesty, love, forgiveness and “ethiopiawi chewanet” . They could have used this opportunity to redeem themselves from their past.

But, their forged letter and their massive campaign to humiliate the “dear ones” of Ethiopia have made them the sole looser at the end of the game. The “Shemgelena” process was supposed to be a win-win situation for all. Now it has ended as a WIN-LOOSE situation (with the EPRDF being the loser).

The recent embarrassing interviews of Ato Bereket Simon on BBC focus in Africa and the VOA, the editorial of the Wall Street Journal [2], the passage of HR2003 in the House of representative [3], the recent hearing in the United States Senate subcommittee chaired by the Wisconsin Senator Feingold [4].. are clear indications that the regime has made itself isolated internationally and lost diplomatically.

As reported by various bloggers from Addis Ababa [5][6], Ethiopians are expressing their rejection to the lies of the regime and are awaiting the triumphant release of their heroes.

I for one have always hoped for the better. I always people mankind has the capability to change. I cannot comprehend when the men and women in Minilik palace would open their eyes for their own sake and allow themselves not to be dragged deeply into the fires that destroy them. When would we see among them cool headed people, who at least guide them to the truth and the reality? (Opportunity seven lost)

May God open their eyes to His Wisdom and to His Understanding!
May God Bless Ethiopia!

[1] – http://www.abugidainfo.com/?p=1577
[2] – http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article22897
[3] – http://www.ethiomedia.com/atop/us_officials_angry_at_zenawi.html
[4] – http://www.ethiopianreview.com/news/?p=338
[5] – http://temelkatch.blogspot.com/2007/07/reminiscing.html
[6] – http://lewit.blogspot.com/2007/07/things-they-cant-suppress.html

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