The Way Forward: National Reconciliation By Abel Asbneh Asfaw

August 5th, 2015 Print Print Email Email

Ethiopia today is at a defining moment in history. The hope of transitioning the country to a democratic system peacefully has faded away as the years passed under the current Ethiopian government. The EPRDF with its affiliates has declared a 100% victory in the May 2015 national election. That is a clear message by the ruling party that multi-party democracy is neither its priority nor an item included on its to-do list in the near future. As a result, the opposition camp that believes in changing the government peacefully and legally is increasingly being forced to join with those struggling to overthrow the regime by force.

Recently, Semayawi party chairman Yilkal Getnet, said at a press conference “we should not be surprised if people join armed groups in Ertirea” when asked about three members of his party who traveled north of the country to join Arbegnoch Ginbot 7 movement but were detained by security forces. The lack of political freedom coupled with mounting repression and high unemployment can be a fertile ground for the birth of another revolution in our country’s history. This has been the case as recently being witnessed in The Middle East and North Africa that claimed the lives of thousands of people and caused massive displacement, chaos and economic turmoil.

Although all political parties and civic groups have the responsibility to contribute in creating a favorable political system where power can be peacefully transferred in an election, the ruling party holds the lion’s share in this regard as it virtually controls all government institutions in Ethiopia. There is no reason why our country should go down the road of violence and chaos when negotiation, based on mutual benefit and respect can be a win-win strategy for all parties involved. It is true that the idea of national reconciliation has been presented by numerous concerned individuals and groups to the ruling party with no success. However, I believe the democratic opposition should keep on pressuring the EPRDF for a genuine national reconciliation not just simply because it is the right thing to do but because it is the only viable alternative we have to save our beloved country from total disintegration.

The regime has recently freed some bloggers and journalists which is a commendable action. There are many more journalists and political leaders who are in jail currently who should be freed as well. This can be a good start to begin a genuine national reconciliation process whereby all political parties are allowed to participate in a national conference that can shape the country’s political future. The EPRDF, opposition parties, civic groups and concerned individuals, intellectuals, elders and religious leaders should all participate in the process focusing on finding the ways and means of brining about democratic system whereby change of a government only occurs through the ballot box.

This would put an end to violence once and for all and open the door for civilized politics, stability and economic development. However, it is clear that national reconciliation requires the willingness of the ruling party, especially in our case since the regime has total control over any political affair in the country, to prepare the venue for a genuine reconciliation process with all concerned parties. National reconciliation benefits members of the ruling party as well because it provides them protection from any vindictive action that might be directed at them from anyone.

The great Nelson Mandela managed to say no to hatred and embraced forgiveness in order to put all the past behind and move forward to a better future as a nation for which he will be remembered throughout the ages. He forgave his enemies and actually included F. W. de Klerk, president of South Africa under apartheid rule, as first Deputy President in his new cabinet. Madiba, as South Africans affectionately refer to him by his clan name, in his book titled Long Walk to Freedom beautifully stated that, “People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” I urge the government of Ethiopia and all opposition groups to embrace wisdom and follow Madiba’s way!

Abel Asbineh Asfaw, Toronto, August, 2015

  1. Tamene
    | #1

    After having read the above commentary, it occurred to me that the author has remained detached from the political developments in Ethiopia.
    The most important step the opposition forces should take now is to unite and create a common front or force against the ethnical fascist rule of the TPLF. The Ethiopian opposition forces had been repeatedly calling on and urging the TPLF leaders to accept national reconcliation to pave the way for a peaceful transition to a democratic system in the country. The TPLF leaders have shown arrogance, rejected the calls, remained transgient and determined to continue to impose their militæry rule. To this goal, they came up with their own political strategy of a developmental state with a dominant (single) party in power perpetually. The single party rule in the TPLF developmental state does not allow basic human rights such as freedom of expression, dissent and the rights to assembly and organize. The TPLF is a paramilitary organization and its fascist and racist rule in Ethiopia is militaristic in nature. It depends on and uses its military and security forces to maintain its ethnic dictatorship in Ethiopia. It is now clear that the intrasiegence of the TPLF has totally blocked all the venues for national reconiliation in Ethiopia. The TPLF has repeatedly showed its unwillingnesss for reconciliation and sees it as a sign weakness and surrender. The TPLF leaders see the power they have seized through military force as a source of wealth,self enrichment and ransom for the sacrifices they have made and blood they have shed. Their decision to use political power as a ransom practically excludes all the non-Tigrayans and has led to the creation of an apartheid system in Ethiopia. In the face of these dsicriminations,marginalizations and exclusions, the opposition forces (Patriots-Ginbot7)are left with no other options than raise armes and liberate Ethiopians from the apartheid rule of the TPLF. The late supreme TPLF leader aite Meles Zenawi had wished all the best to and blessed all the forces that had gone and were intending to go into the bush to fight his rule. The decision by the oppostion to raise arms had been delayed and the TPLF leaders were given more than enough time to reconsider their destructive policy and be part of the peaceful and inclusive transition.

  2. Anonymous
    | #2

    I don’t like sissy preachers. Violence begets violence. I do not believe in the efficacy of Gandhi’s untenable theories for an instant to tame the roaring ” lion cub” of TPLF. Menelik II fought off tooth and nail to keep imperialists at bay and made us free until Woyane/Shabiya came at the gate in 1991. This is to suggest that I am not going to be deceived by TPLF’s agents in so called negotiating the differences, while all along having the upper hand in the game. I don’t buy it!

  3. Long live Ethiopia
    | #3

    As saying goes the train has left the station way back. TPLF had been incubated out of vipers the kinds of meles, sebhat etc, and their contempt for peace loving people of Ethiopia has no bound. They insulted the Ethiopian history, the Ethiopian sense of dignity, the Ethiopian sense of fair play. They convinced themselves they are invincible, thus their abuse justified. Only their Ethnic that supposedly to get a special favor, at work , in the army , in school in promotion etc for quarter of a century. They have been splashing the hate gasoline as if fire has cease to exist. They had the opportunity to correct their ways and start opening up the democratic space so that it can reduce the grievance the Ethiopian people has on TPLF ethnic stratification and the benefit exclusively Tigrians. BUT no they have to double down with 100% victory. Here is the game now the G7 and patriotic front has lighted the mach, a responsible mach at that, to engulf and wipe out the TPLF system for once and for all. Ethiopia will be an all embracing country for all not for any particular ethic group. The time for negotiating has gone,and the time for to rise for dignified life in our own country has come. Long live Ethiopia — You have a way of rising again.

  4. merbel
    | #4

    could u please shut the fuck up. i know there is no point in talking with u people but could u just stop with this nonsense. have u even read the comments before u post them up? have u any idea how stupid u sound? i tried to be reasonable thinking u people just had it wrong. but i know now u r the fascist and the dictator ones so i beg of u if u r here in ethiopian leave the country so we can live in peace but if u arent dont ever come back. we dont need people like u who dont know how to be grateful.

  5. Seyum Retta
    | #5

    The development of Ethiopia is very slow because of lack of good government.

    The TPLF Ethiopian government is the main disease cancer that slowed the development .

    We need to cure the cancer or get rid of the cancer . We need good government then we Ethiopians can think about being part of development. For now most Ethiopians don’t think of development because they are afraid for their life . Recently the Ethioipian government put out a NEW LAW RESTRICTING PEOPLE FROM LEAVING OUT OF ETHIOPIA WITHOUT THE GOVERNMENT’S CONSENT.

    The GERD dam that the government is so proud of took 25+ years and still counting to make it a reality. That is quiet a shame , 25 years to build one dam and still not even close to being finished. I would call this a retarded development. .TPLF / EPRDF need to retire with their stolen money so we can free the brains of Ethiopia . We got close to a million political prisoners if freed who can mobiolize the country to it’s development and peace stability goals. With TPLF/EPRDF Ethiopia’s people development is always only a lip service. : TPLF support for Ethiopia’s people is expressed by TPLF in words but not shown in actions.

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