MEDREK transformed from COALITION to FRONT. Press statement
It has been 50 years since the struggle was started to build a truly democratic system in Ethiopia and to guarantee that the country is firmly founded on the freedom of all of its citizens and on the equality of its peoples, where human and democratic rights are
respected and socio-economic justice prevails. Throughout these years of struggle, innumerable political activists and the people as a whole have paid sacred sacrifices.
The clear lesson that we learn from this honorable struggle is that victory is achieved not through isolated efforts but only through the concerted effort of patriotic Ethiopians and united political parties. Fully aware of this truth, years have passed since the people have been stressing the urgent need for a broad based unity among genuine opposition political parties. Although numerous efforts have been made to respond to this ardent wish of the people, it has not been possible to register a satisfactory result on this font.
It is well known that the following 6 domestic political parties, namely:
1. Arena Tigray for Justice and Democracy (Arena)
2. Ormo Federalist Democratic Movement (OFDN)
3. Oromo People’s Congress (OPC)
4. Social Democratic Party of Ethiopia (SDPE)
5. Southern Ethiopia Peoples Democratic Union (SEPDU) and
6. Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ)
had taken ample time to assess the political situation in the country, agreed on a common minimum programme and formed a coalition under the name of “Ethiopian Federal Democratic Unity Forum (FORUM) and are now mobilizing the people in order to enable them to assume their legitimate, sovereign political power.
The fundamental principle in the Minimum Programme upon which the above mention organizations have agreed as their basis for their common struggle are the following.
1.Standing firmly for the unity and sovereignty of Ethiopia where injustice and partisanship practices are eliminated and where unity based on mutual respect is fostered, and, to this end, not supporting cessation.
2.Striving tirelessly to promote equal respect for the individual, the nations, nationalities, peoples and groups.
3.Working actively to build a prosperous Ethiopia in which human and democratic rights are respected and where socio-economic justice prevails. To this end striving to ensure that:
3.1 human rights are fully respected;
3.2 the rule of law is practically realized through an independent and
neutral judicial system;
3.3 democratic rights are respected without any limitation, namely through:
a) ensuring the right to free association and unrestricted movement,
b) respecting the right to free speech and thought,
c) conducting a free and fair election through a neutral and credible electoral body, and
d) striving with commitment for the realization of a multi-party democratic system.
4.Creating an environment where one does not go about trying to change the ideology or political views of the other by force but where the right to pursue one’s political views and ideologies freely is respected and where a civilized political process prevails.
5.Creating an atmosphere of mutual understanding on urgent and basic national issues and striving for its implementation; striving to bring all political forces, including EPRDF, at home and abroad as well as those who have taken up arms to promote their objectives to the camp of peaceful political struggle so that they all could participate in the common goal of nation building; making the discussion all inclusive with various nations/nationalities taking part; and, if MEDREK assumes power through the will of the people, creating a federal democratic unity government that includes other political
6.To agree on peace and reconciliation that are fundamental issues in our country; to struggle to make the politics of our country free from the feeling of hatred and vengeance and bring about national understanding; creating a condition, for the sake of national reconciliation, where people are not criminalized for being members of
particular parties–as long as there is no crime committed on an individual basis–and where their rights are fully and appropriately respected
7.Striving to create a situation where there would be a constitutional system and where the constitution can be improved with the active participation of all political forces as well as of the people, including through a referendum.
Because of its activities based on the above principles, MEDREK has been able to gain the acceptance of the people within a very short time. The fact that it had come out with alternatives that were better than those of EPRDF for solving the problems of our country was shown by the massive support it received from the people during the 2010
election. However that massive support was taken away from it by the dictatorial system of EPRDF. As a result, member organizations have been making relentless efforts to prevent a similar abuse from occurring in the future by strengthening the organizational capacity of MEDREK and by transforming it from a coalition to a front so that it could pursue further its peaceful and democratic struggle. It is to be recalled that, on June 25, 2011, the General Assembly of MEDEK had instructed the member organizations to continue their effort along this direction.
The effort being made by the member organizations to transform MEDRED from a coalition to a front was closely and eagerly followed and supported by the Ethiopian people. Encouraged by this support and after many months of discussions and negotiations among the member organizations that resulted in:
1.Agreeing that the Minimum Political Programme be the programme of the Front and serve as an alternative on political/economic/social, etc matters;
2.Effecting improvements so that the organizational structure of the Front could be suitable for operation and implementation;
3.Setting the meeting schedule of the General Assembly and limiting the period of service of higher executive bodies of the Front;
4.Agreeing on the Front’s system of voting;
5.Agreeing on establishing branch offices within the country;
6.Agreeing on the conditions governing the interaction of member organizations with other political parties;
7.Agreeing on establishing support committees of the Front at home and abroad;
8.Agreeing to accomplish the activities of the Front through common effort;
9.When the Front participates in elections, agreeing on the formula by which member organizations would deploy their candidates, as well as on other appropriate matters;
the Executive Committee of MEDREK has decided to transform the organization from its present form of “Coalition” to the higher level of “Front”. The member organizations have agreed to present this decision to the General Assembly, the highest body of MEDREK, for approval.
It is with great pleasure that we present this landmark decision on the question of unity among political parties in Ethiopia, to our people who have been anxiously waiting for such a stand for a long time, and to the friendly International Community.
The 6 present member organizations of MEDREK and other genuine opposition political organizations that may join MEDREK in the process as members will act with commitment as one until the political, economic and social vision of MEDREK is realized, the sovereign power of the Ethiopian people is ensured, a democratic system prevails and the people embark on the road to development that would enable them to extricate themselves from poverty and backwardness. We call upon our compatriots at home and abroad and the International Community to stand on the side of MEDREK in its struggle to realize its vision.
The people will be empowered through our united struggle!
Ethiopian Federal Democratic Unity Forum (MEDREK)
October 13, 2011