ENC APPLAUDS OLF’S CALL FOR A UNITED STRUGGLE FOR A DEMOCRATIC ETHIOPIA
In a January 1, 2012 press release, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) declared that it has “effectively amended” it’s political program and will now work with all pro-democracy forces to fight for a free, united and democratic Ethiopia.
Its “amended” political program, issued at the same time and posted on its website, declares that one of the “goals of the political struggle of the Oromo people” is to form a “New Democratic Federal Republic of Ethiopia that will be established by the consent of its peoples based on principles of democracy, equality, freedom, liberty, justice and rule of law.” The new program also stipulates that OLF’s new vision, its principal “responsibility” and political agenda, is “to lead all forms of struggle to dismantle the fascist rule of the TPLF regime to enable the peoples in Ethiopia to form a new union based on democracy and rule of law for all of its citizens.”
(Emphasis added.) Through these declarations, the OLF has essentially disavowed any secessionist agenda that it has long been alleged to be espousing and has declared its readiness to join hands with all pro-democratic forces for a free, united and democratic Ethiopia.
The Ethiopian National Congress (ENC), a world-wide civil society organization which, since its inception 15 years ago, has been steadfastly advocating for and attempting to facilitate unity formation activities among all of Ethiopia’s pro-democracy forces, welcomes and applauds this action by the OLF. The ENC has always believed that it would be impossible to forge a stable, united, and prosperous Ethiopia without a democratic governance arrangement that genuinely embraces and serves the interests of all its peoples.
This has been and remains one of ENC’s core beliefs and guiding principles. Indeed, it was with this conviction that, during a two-year period in 2002 and 2003, the ENC was engaged in a protracted effort to bring together the leadership of the OLF with those of other political parties and organizations. There were times that our efforts appeared to be succeeding but such unity had proven to be elusive until now.
The ENC believes that this January 1, 2012 action by the OLF is a wise, bold and courageous action that should be embraced by all democratic and unity-minded Ethiopians. For it is an action which has the potential of dramatically changing the balance of forces in favor of our people’s struggle for a free, democratic, and united Ethiopia. When everything is said and done, it is the broad masses of the Oromo people – and the rest of the Ethiopian people – who will ultimately benefit from the successful pursuit of this new vision and course of action.
Meles Zenawi and his minority clique, which has successfully mastered and used the strategy of divide-and-conquer as the sin qua non for its 20-year long grip of dictatorial power, will no doubt ridicule this move by the OLF as one more futile and manipulative attempt by a divided and weakened “terrorist” group. Even some democratic circles will remain skeptical and suspicious about the “true intentions” behind this “change of mind.” Even more importantly, there will surely be factions within the OLF itself and other forces within Oromo society, both at home and abroad, who will oppose and work steadfastly to reverse this action. This is understandable and to be expected. Our hope — and pleading — is that these forces will be genuinely guided by the true and long-term interests of the Oromo people. We are confident that, if they do, they will ultimately see the wisdom – and transformative value – of OLF’s embrace of democracy and the need for a united struggle to free all Ethiopia’s people from the yoke of dictatorial rule by a minority clique.
This move by the OLF should also be embraced by the international community and especially by those legitimately concerned by the spread of terrorist activities in the Horn of Arica. The only sure way of ultimately containing terrorism in the region is to embrace the democratic aspirations of the people by supporting democratic governance and the rule of law. OLF’s embrace of democracy and determination to work with Ethiopia’s democratic forces to get rid of the minority dictatorship now in power, if allowed to succeed, will guarantee the evolution of genuine and sustainable democracies in the region.
ETHIOPIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS
JANUARY 18, 2012