Invigorating success of UDJP Conference By Robele Ababya
The following is an extract from my letter to the editors of pro-democracy websites written in appreciation of Dr. Negasso Gidada’s apology for his past political mistakes before he made the noble decision to join the UDJP.
“This is the most exciting news I have been waiting for. What is so unique in this breakthrough is the public apology expressed by Dr. Negasso Gidada, which apology is one of the rarest cases, if any, in Ethiopian politics. His concern expressed for Birtukan Mideksa portraying her in so many words as a political prisoner was music to my ears when I heard him on the VOA Radio broadcast yesterday, Thursday, 27 November 2009. I sincerely respect and admire him for the exemplary and courageous stand he took.”
I am abundantly pleased with the trust his colleagues had vested in Dr. Negasso Gidada by electing him as President of UDJP and approving his Executive Committee democratically. As an offspring of Oromo parentage I welcome his change of parochial views to join and embrace the true history of the truly Ethiopian Oromo people who had gallantly fought – along with their Amhara, Guragie, Kambatta, Wollaita, Tigre et al ethnic groups – for the independence of Ethiopia.
Zenawi has left no stone unturned to ensure that the Amhara and the Oromos live in mutual hatred perpetually so that he can continue disposing of their combined abundant natural resources scot free. UDJP with its partners in Medrek are well placed to stop this extravagant wastage of resources.
It is needless to state in detail the draconian obstacle of organizing an opposition National Conference in a fait accompli one-party state where the ruling party had stolen 99.6% of the votes in the 2010 election and, as if that was not enough, it is tightening its grip on power by enacting laws detrimental to genuine effort to resuscitate the badly hurt fledgling democracy in intensive care. I admire the stamina of UDJP leaders and members for concluding their Conference under politically poisoned environment created by the repressive regime.
Taking comfort in the readiness of the people for democratic governance
The following is an excerpt from a brilliant, informative and inspiring article entitled “ADVICE TO THE ADVISOR WITH RANK OF MINISTER” dated 27 December and posted on Abugidainfo website. I chose the passage to relate a true story to my readers.
Quote: It has been commented many times over that when they got their chance, the Ethiopian people have shown their choice. Even now 5 years after the small political space closed down, multi-ethnic opposition parties inside the country, such as UDJ and MEDREK, have the expressed support of the majority of the people. According to recent reports, delegates from Gondar to Jinka, Assela to Illubabor, Borena to Chencha have democratically elected their new leadership including the president Dr. Negasso Gidada. Similarly, Dr. Moga Frissa is a democratically elected leader of MEDREK. Solidarity support comes from abroad from N.A. to Africa and the Middle East, and inside Ethiopia, across from all the major universities. Unquote
Colonel Imru Wondé of the elite Imperial Body Guard told me a fascinating true story while both of us were political prisoners held with high ranking dignitaries of the Imperial regime in what was once a wine cellar of Menelik’s Palace. The story happened while the Colonel was the Governor of Begemder in the early aftermath of the Ethiopian revolution of 1974; he witnessed a massive turnout of the people at a public square in Gonder. The people dethroned corrupt officials and judges and promptly replaced them with officials of their choice known for their integrity. The peaceful participants in the mammoth demonstration returned to their normal business having underscored their cardinal point that they were victims of social injustice and corruption for ages.
The Colonel came to Addis Ababa to spread the good example set by the people of Begemder. He made an attempt to contact me because he was informed that a similar movement was in the offing in terms of a resolution, passed by persons in uniform and civilians of the then Imperial Ethiopian Air Force, demanding for immediate formation of a civilian government.
I should add at this point that the people of Jimma did much the same thing as told to me by my brother in-law who was the provincial Chief of Police. I in turn told the story to the Colonel.
It might interest readers to know that Colonel Imru was serving a 15-year sentence for treason against the Imperial regime. He was released from prison after the Derg came to power and appointed him as Governor of Begemder (Gonder). The Derg nabbed him on suspicion that he was agitating to depose it in favor of a People’s or civilian government (Hizbawi Mengist).
Ethiopia is ready for a democratic awakening. Only EPRDF is in the way. Advisors such as Andreas should heed citizen’s calls, and also the lessons of our own history, to broach an unpleasant subject with the leaders of the country.
I recall writing an article titled: “Amen to UDJP Covenant for Peaceful Struggle”, posted on the AbugidaInfo and other pro-Democracy websites on 11 July 2008. It was in support of UDJP. I then said that the acronym UDJ embodied my basic values – “U” standing for Unity for which Emperors Theodros, Yohanes, Menilik, and Haile Selassie but Meles is now dismantling under our gazing eyes; “D” depicting Democracy which had been, and is today, out of reach to the toiling masses; and “J” denoting Justice which suffered despicable abuse under the misrule of tyrant Meles Zenawi.
I said that “The leaders of UDJP are hard-tested fighters for freedom, liberty, equality, dignity and justice to allay any fear that they will capitulate to the whims of Zenawi; the values ingrained in UDJ are universal that no one has the power to defeat”. Hence, I reiterate my unswerving support for the UDJ Party.
Unforgettable heinous crimes of twin despots
Zenawi’s heinous crimes are globally known and well documented by prestigious international and national human rights organizations and independent election observers; these crimes include, inter alia:-
• Incarcerating firebrand peaceful revolutionaries of UDJP including Andualem Aragie ;
• Self-immolation of Yenesew Gebre due to unbearable misrule of TPLF regime;
• acts of genocide, crime against humanity;
• stealing elections in broad daylight;
• summary executions, incarcerations of tens of thousands of particularly young Ethiopians by security forces under his direct command;
• mismanagement the national economy, sellout and or ceding fertile farmlands of national resources; denial of private land ownership to peasants, corruption, escalating inflation;
• complete gagging of free and independent media; denial of civil liberties including freedom of association; near absence of all pillars of democracy such as independent: judiciary, civil society, parliament, army, national security organs; and
• naked invasion of Somalia thereby bolstering the destructive Al Shabab
In my article titled “Alliance with ostracized despot of a troubled state” dated 30 July 2009 and posted on several pro-democracy web sites, I said, in reference to despot Isaias Afeworki, that it is impossible to forget shocking atrocities committed by Shaebia including, inter alia:
• The gruesome barbaric massacre in cold-blood of thousands of surrendering soldiers;
• Ordering Ethiopian soldiers to walk through the desert barefooted, forcibly made to leave their personal belongings behind;
• Spraying bullets with machine guns on soldiers ordered to walk barefooted across the desert;
• Extracting gold-filled teeth of soldiers to remove the gold;
• Looting and gross violation of basic human rights of Ethiopians in Eritrea after the end of the war.”
I went on to state that I got first hand information from my own baptismal son. He was one of the few surviving soldiers whose valuables were confiscated and forced to walk barefoot across the desert – leaving behind a gruesome scene of carnage of their unlucky colleagues killed in cold blood by automatic weapons. That was a draconian act of savage brutality. How can anyone trust tyrant Isaias?
It is my ardent hope that progressive youths of Ethiopia and Eritrea shall work together to forgive but not forget the grave human rights abuse of the past; to bring their respective despots to justice; to embrace the principle of dialogue taking advantage of their bond in blood and common history. I say so because UDJP favors dialogue over any form of violence in its policy.
The Amhara and Oromo majorities must not shun from their moral duties partnering to foster a united, democratic, prosperous, and strong Ethiopia in which all citizens enjoy freedom, liberty, equality, dignity, and social justice under the rule of law in a free and caring society.
I close with my usual daily mantra, which is the immediate release of all political prisoners including the recent victims of arrests: Andualem Aragie, Asamnew Birhanu, Bekele Gerba, Eskinder Nega, Nathnael Mekonnen, Olbana Lelisa, Reeyot Alemu, Woubshet Taye, and Zemenu Molla.
Yenesew Gebre and all other martyrs must never be forgotten for paying the ultimate price so that Universal human values shall be entrenched in Ethiopia. Neglect of these human values in the end humiliated for example Gadaffi despite ultra-modern buildings and infrastructures he had put in place in Libya. Zenawi is waiting for his turn to face justice for his reprehensible crimes.
LONG LIVE ETHIOPIA!!!