Kinijit And Democracy – By Ethio-Zagol

September 18th, 2007 Print Print Email Email

Some political parties can afford to suffer more turmoil than others. When you are Kinijit, even a little problem exacts too high a price. (more…)

Some political parties can afford to suffer more turmoil than others. When you are Kinijit, even a little problem exacts too high a price.

Kinijit is a big-tent party where differing ideologies and doctrines are conveniently stitched by two common pillars; deliberative democracy and Ethiopian unity. It is also a party which has faced external existential threat since the first day it was created. Its credibility-the most important component of its power-takes a dive when there is just a little challenge to the internal accord. Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree! Deliberative democracy is assailed in Kinijit.

The deliberative conception of democracy reconciles three seemingly irreconcilable principles of democracy; deliberation, political equality and non-tyranny. Reconciling these three principles has always been the central problem in democratic theory and practice. Political philosophers call that “The Democratic conundrum.” There is no political party in Ethiopian history which has tried to define and address this problem as Kinijit had done before and after the election. Other political parties freely chose one of the principles over the others; or haven’t even cared to choose any of the principles.

As an opposition group in a country where political parties and their leaders have little credit and confidence, Kinijit has got popular support less for its claims of deliberative democracy than its practices. During the election period, I had witnessed a growing procedure in Kinijit where members regard each other with equal respect and concern (as equals). In debates and discussions, they put forward views that others have reason to accept (not merely the views which one considers are compelling). And in the end, once the decision was taken, it was accepted as authoritative and the ultimate basis for cooperation. This procedure captured ideals of deliberative democracy. There was no time during that period – except in the case of the Lidetu saga – where any sense of self-importance and tyranny was existent even for the sake of sloganeering.

Now an equation – X = Kinijit; X representing a single person or group of persons who are far less than half of the party’s council – is creeping into the party’s discourse and procedure of decision making. Political literatures are awash here and outside of Ethiopia tabulating and debating the value of personalities, and how without them, the party, and even the movement, is doomed. Decisions are becoming less and less the basis of cooperation than division. Tell me… what then has Kinijit to offer if deliberative democracy is turned on its head? I care enormously to the party that has given me hope and aspiration, and to the movement, I have sacrificed my security, property and freedom. I will be the first one to stand up and be counted in the fight to protect the Kinijit ideal of democracy from the recent assault.

(My respect for all of the leaders who suffered in the EPRDF dungeon is boundless. I have worked day and night for their release. But my bonds are principles, not individuals.)

  1. Hager Fikre
    | #1

    The demise of the CUD coalition is not imminent but fait- accompli. The split is not about to happen but it already has occured. Hailu Shawel is not about to confront the Berhanu faction, he already has confronted that group. The group asked him to step down from his Chairman postion and he refused. Everything we are seeing is not something that is developing but something that already has happened.

    No amount of public debate in Washington Radio Stations, Convention Centers, Hotel Conference rooms or even Churches will shape the outcome of the current fight. The fight has already taken place. The consequences already felt and the split has been solidified. What we are witnessing now is the outcome of the differences between these parties which have already gone its full life cycle. What we are not witnessing now because we are focusing on past events is what is currently happening within the Berhanu Nega/ Birtukwan Mideksa & Hailu Araya circle. Although their is not a sniff of it in the air, you will see this unnatural Union disintegrate because of serious political differences and ambitions. Time will prove this statement true.

    In the mean time don’t waste your time watching this current civil war develop anticipating a unified CUD. The reality is the Civil War has ended and the CUD has split into at least two factions. The CUD politicians today are not trying to reconcile but trying to gain the support of the Diaspora for their respective factions. CUD is Dead.

  2. mekonen mulugeta
    | #2

    most of them kinijit leaders they are old they need to prepare more young people to replace them. who knows the future this old leaders after this they can afford it to go to woyane perison.meles his not give up his position easely with out blood.woyane supporter this time they are more prepared by woyane from befor they got gun and co-oredenation from woyane for the worest to kinijit? who mach they make ready them self for the worst day or they are still they are depending an aremed or an prepared civilian people? whose gonna take resposibility for an prepared civilian? kinijit leaders their choice is still bagging u.s senator office? that never work u.s govenment they have special interest with meles(woyane)forget need to prepared for the worest day.

  3. Tigist
    | #3

    Who the hell are you telling us that CUD is dead? You are a fucked up Weyanne, who has no idea bout debate and difference of points of view what is so ever. Kinijit has principles and individuals that are equipped to hold the principles. We the Kinijit supporters are confident that the Kinijit leaders will manage to balance the principles and individuals and move on.

    In other hand, I would like to ask the Weyanne supporters to check what Meles has been doing to his opponents. He has been killing and silences them. That is why we don’t see any debate in Weyanne inner circle. To have honest debates in political party in a natural process and it takes vibrant democracy and civilized individuals to do it.

    Kinijit up holds a vibrant democracy, and time to time there are debates on issues. That is what we are experiencing at this point. All the Kinijit leaders are smart enough to figure out what would be best for the party to move on.

  4. Abera
    | #4

    Woyanne blind etnocentric supporters are mad that The Kinijit leaders who met the public in DC made clear the principles that we hold and fight for peacefully. Unlike any other time in their 17years in power, they were shoook to the ground with massive truth and mighty force of love politics which they were never trained to defend.

    Soon or later, our people’s thirst for a democratic Ethiopia will quenched and we will never accept any less respect for our rights. There will be a big transformation in Ethiopia’s political system, but the question is whether TPLF/EPRDF wants to be part of that change or would it be a change that the people would be forced to crush the undemocratic government by any means and destroy it for good?

    EPRDF, there is time for reconcilation! We ask you sincerely respect us before we are forced to show you that we deserve that respect!!

  5. Tasew
    | #5

    In Ethiopia where more than 85 per cent of the population is uneducated, personality matters a lot! In a country where mutual suspicion is a norm, past political history of leaders matters a lot! In a country where ethnic politics is in place, personality matters a lot!

    This time we hear from some young elite groups that personality and past political struggle history should have no place! These groups seem to forget that the struggle is to be carried out in Ethiopia and not in Washington DC! Competing for a CUD leadership while the party didn’t get yet its legal status is pathetic!!! Some of them want Hailu shawl gone and replaced by Birhanu Nega. When Prof. Gizachew Shiferaw said “no one is indispensable” to an anonymous bolgger, the message was clear. Of course, it is a fait accompli. Hailu shawl is deposed. what is left is formal announcement. The young elites please don’t undermine our intelligence!!!

  6. Mimi
    | #6

    I am a hard core Kinijit supporter. Among other things Kinijit’s leaders’ skill and willingness to workout differences through dialog attracted me to the party. Now, all Kinijit supporters want to see that Kinijits leaders’ magic once again. They have to show us that difference on ideas is not a treat for the party. Kinijit has a place and tolerance for different points of view with out destroying itself. That is a major lesson that we need to acquire as Ethiopians. Believe it or not, it would be a weak up call for die hard Weyanne supports as well. I am sure they are watching, and may or may not ask themselves the question “why on the earth we don’t see such kind of discussion in Weyanne camp?” That would give them more clue about the nature of Weyanne and Meles. Come on Kinijit leaders, hurry up and do the usual thing and unite all of us. After all, you have been through the think and the thin together and become a hope for Ethiopia and all Ethiopians. Now, it is time to shine one more time!

  7. yikerbelen
    | #7

    getachew haile and w/ro almaz will be responsible for eng political sucide in the future. but kinijit is not a personal property as eng hailu thinks. eng hailu has accomodated his children in usa , where as our parents have paid the highest price even in their life under the leadership of kinijit. what the hell this old and sick man is doing? eng hailu must know that he will not have any supporter in ethiopia. time will show us. we will do all the possiblities to punish eng hailu infront of ethiopia’s ppl justice like lidetu ayalew

  8. abdulkadir Mohamod
    | #8

    Abera Says:
    September 4th, 2007 at 3:10 pm
    What the hell is Abdulkadir talking about? It “It sounds?” idiot…you are a TPLF supporter trying to divert attention and pre-occupy the Abugida yungsters from doing their service!!

    Keep your dirty bandit comments for your self.

    abdulkadir Mohamod Says:
    September 12th, 2007 at 11:40 am
    Oh my god Abera! I can belive you are such a judgmental. First of all, I would like to tell you that I am not TPLF’s supporter. I really really hate woyane and I am a big supporter of abugidas. I am also a big fan of Yemisrach Abebe, but that doesnt mean she doesnt deseve negative but constructive comment. You need to keep in-mind that criticism is the only civilized way in cultivating young amatures for them to be more credible so they can maintain more accurate journalism approach when they perform their dedicated service. Unlike your assumption, the purpose of my comment on that particular performance is just to make Yemisrach Abebe more carefull proffessional on her job NOT to demoralize her and that’s what critics is matters and that’s all about it. Abera, where did you find that “Idiot and dirty bandit comment” you’re talking about?
    yours- Abdulke

  9. Ewnetun Lingerew
    | #9

    Did you see this trash ideas of woyanes. They always dream division. Woyanes please listen ! there is no division in kinijit. division is always your expression.Here in this wave site you tried your best. You said Kinijit is engineer Hailu’s property. Again you said Birtukan and Birhanu tried to isolate themselves from Hailu’s group and so on. I can tell you the truth . This is only your ambition . It is too far from truth.kinijit is governed by the rule of law.If you have differences you can forward to the public and then discussion follows. Such procedure is not foud in woyane. That why you forwarded your unhanded hope by saying kinijit is divided. THERE IS NO DIVISION IN KINIJIT. IT IS GOVERNED BY THE RULE OF LAW.

  10. Kinijit4ever
    | #10

    Kinijit is the future of Ethiopia !!!! I know how this sends terror to all the parasites, Weyanes and the like. I think Its time for the elder leader Hailu to handle the torch to the young and vibrant trusted members of the party to the next level. It doesnt mean Hailu wont have that prominent and elderly statesman role, it just means, role change. Thats my word.

  11. No Name
    | #11

    Kinijit is approching to become history though it is not homologous it is analogous to the Paris Commune

    The “Paris Commune” (French: La Commune de Paris) was a government that briefly ruled Paris In a formal sense the Paris Commune of 1871 was simply the local authority (council of a town or district — French “commune”) which exercised power in Paris for two months in the spring of 1871. But the conditions in which it was formed, its controversial decrees and tortured end make it one of the more important political episodes of the time.
    The Commune was the result of an uprising within Paris after the Franco-Prussian War ended with French defeat. This uprising had two root causes: on the one hand the disaster in the war, on the other the growing discontentment among French workers[1], which can be traced to the 1830s, when the first worker uprisings took place in Lyon and Paris.[2]
    Except for that breif period it has not existed in France

  12. alemayehu tadesse
    | #12

    dear readers
    u have written a lot about the political dilema and a new paradigm in the two years history of kinijit.There are a lot of secret thing with in a political parties that main officers do not want to publicize it.Mainly behind the foregetfullness of hailu sahwell ,there may be some reasons behind so trust me everything wil be open after some time and everybody knows the mystery behind the political dogma among scholars and ethiopian intellectuals.

  13. Mimi
    | #13

    So Mr. Alemayehu, are you telling us to be suspicious of Kinijit? That is not going to happen. We are confident that the Kinijit leaders will do the right thing to resolve any issue that may revolve around Kinijit. Time to time issues surfaces from the democratic political parties. We just have to get used to that…We come from a culture that has no tolerance for different points of view. Imagine what would happen if any strong opposition comes out against Meles from Weyannes inner circle, there would be blood shied. In Kinijit that has not happened and will not happen in the future.

  14. Arefe
    | #14

    Dear fellow sitizens americains secretary she used to say” young africans’leaders they commited to change Africa” may be it was fun or true you are a witness. but in present Ethiopian
    politics if the parties is not include ethenics,
    Gender,matured and young generation we donot see
    a better KINIJIT a year to come. please think
    again & again It is a bad united.!!!!!!

  15. mekonen mulugeta
    | #15


    her we are if you kill ethiopian enemy or their supporter we hawarden you one AK 47 with 3 magazine and couple of hand…………….ok
    this is for the real youang ethiopian it,s not for they hidden them self from the reality and shouting avery where with out any thing. JOIN WITH US WE ARE THE FUTURE .


  16. Kibru yesfa
    | #16

    leadership is about loyality and descipline. you may say it is being democratic. It is that also, but in any organization, democratic or non-democratic, if the vanguard party has no descipline, it will fail. what we observe today in kinjit is lack of descipline. What the young turks have done is nothing butt a great breach of ethics and descipline by coming to us without its leader, when he is sick and was waiting for his visa. What they have done or failed to do, will be remembered in the annals of Ethiopian History. A house divided against itself can not stand. So, soon you all will find out that to the regret of the poor Ethiopians. From here on, I shall only ask compatriots to raise their hands unto God, because our so-called educated have repeatedly failed the people.

  17. Ayenekulu
    | #17

    Dear Fellow Ethiopians:

    You should rest assured know that CUD is not the party of individuals or a select group of people. It is already the party of Ethiopians at large as demonstrated by the ballot box of May, 2005. I don’t think there is any further proof needed in this regard. Once more, the recent visit of most CUD leadership has proved that the the party still remains to be the rock of Gibraltar to Ethiopia. There could be differences within any party and there has to be. That is not the problem. The problem would be failure to properly and critically address the problem and resolve it accordingly. I am sure the CUD leadership can and must address problems, if any, by devising viable mechanisms. And, thank God, we have the best people at the head to do that.

    Be confident. Think big. CUD is indeed the solution for Ethiopia’s millenium long problems.

    God Bless Ethiopia in the New Millenium. May God visit our land in this millenium. Amen

  18. | #18

    By their sucrify,Kinijt leaders showed us the way to the light in the darkness.What ever it is we will not stop until we reach to the light,true democracy.

  19. Totaw
    | #19

    Ethiopian Review Editorial
    Sep 21, 2005

    A statement has been posted in the name of CUD on Kestedemena Party’s web site that contradicts Ato Hailu Shawel’s announcement that CUD will not enter parliament. The statement does not bear CUD’s official stamp, and we have confirmed that the CUD council did not authorize the statement posted on Kestedemena’s web site against its chairman.

    The Kestedemena Party chairman, Dr Berhanu Nega, who is the campaign manager for CUD, also held a press conference today (Sep 21) and told reporters that Ato Hailu’s statement doesn’t represent CUD. Dr Berhanu doesn’t have the authority to contradict the chairman of CUD. By coming out against Ato Hailu, not only he is violating party discipline, he is also creating confusion and frustration among the CUD supporters, and the public at large.

    Of course, this is not the first time that Dr Berhanu tried to contradict the CUD chairman and assuming the role of CUD leader. Since May 15, he has been trying to silence the chairman who has been championing the cause of the vast majority of Ethiopians for past several years. It is absurd why an election campaign manager is given a free hand to destroy the image of the coalition and its chairman. Dr Berhanu, who has appeard in the opposition camp just a few months before the election, has been the source of confusion and division in the CUD. Once again, Ethiopian Review urges the CUD leadership to take a corrective action as soon as possible in order to preserve its creditability.

    The people of Ethiopia are with Ato Hailu Shawel. If Dr Berhanu wants to work with the murderous regime of Meles Zenawi, that is his right. But he must not be allowed to use CUD as a cover to advance his own agenda.

    The people of Ethiopia have spoken clearly–they don’t want to be governed by the Meles regime for five more years. Berhanu Nega must respect the people’s desire to be liberated from dictatorship now, not five years from now.

  20. Sittina
    | #20

    People…don’t be prisoner of expectation..

  21. Mussa Ghedi
    | #21

    I am a person that would prefer to look at situations from short term and medium term perspectives

    Hence the short term:
    It sometimes surprises me how people could easly drawen in digresive discourse and miss the main point in question. Why were so many Ethiopians within the country and in diaspora excited about 2005 elections. Was it just because they got a kick for a change of government no matter which party wins the election or whatever policies that party or front would implement. I do not think so.

    I beleieve,CUD or no CUD the 80 millions at home yearn and deserve good governance that insures sustainable democratic processes to flourish in thier country. We know that the woyane regime is already alergic to such democratic development because thier exitence is threatened by such a change. One of the bodies that was upholding the mantle of democracy during that period happened to be CUD. We should not there were several other fronts, movements or parties that flourished during the election. What makes CUD different than the rest is perhaps the effort made by forward looking individuals as well as political bodies that joined effort could equip the fight for democracy a better chance of making a significant dent on the tyrant regime monolised power. It also minimised the confusion the elctorate dreaded so much they were calling for a united effort or coallition.

    After the election, the leadership, members and symphatisers of CUD and other fronts have paid the ultimate sacrifice for what they stood for and CUD leadership is not an exception.

    Now that the CUD leadership is out of prison what should be expected of them as politicians? I think they have started well in trying to reach their suporters in and out of the country to ackonwledge the support they have afforded them. It is also encouraging to witness these people are trying to convey the views on CUD’s future. That I believe, would be thier long term plan. We all look forward to recieving more information and highlights on the future scheme. However what we should not forget is that there will always be ups and downs in the development of all forms of organisations, political parties included, there will always be disagreemnets that might not reach resolution and there will always be individuals that resign from their posts or even some that would be temporarily or permanenetly excluded. This phenomenon is not new to history and it has been happening for millenia. Hence no surprises, if one happens to witness termoil within the leadership of CUD or any other political body in our country. They are just passing through the inevitable developmental stages of organisations. Those that possess firm foundation will survive and continue to thrive but those with weavering princples will enevitably perish. I hope fate of CUD and other genuine political bodies will not come to that, not because it is indespensable but for the sake of the development of meaningful democracy in Ethiopia.

  22. belay
    | #22

    discusin is good.,little minds discuss people,great minds discuss ideas,average minds discus events’ I appologize if didn’t quate properly yhe i see there is a differncewith in kinijit,we follow the the rule of law,the prgogrseive one, not backward,not primitive one,this is the 21st centruy, those old ideas doesnot help people.the chairman my need to retired so good luck for the reirment.insulting indviduals is not our tradion,those people who has a doro chiklat’like motoaleka Mirchaw & wz.negsti can not learn,they have togto school etc…so,kinijit is sprit’kinijit menfese new’

  23. Belay
    | #23

    This is not the first time that Dr Berhanu tried to contradict the CUD chairman and assuming the role of CUD leader. Since May 15, he has been trying to silence the chairman who has been championing the cause of the vast majority of Ethiopians for past several years. It is absurd why an election campaign manager is given a free hand to destroy the image of the coalition and its chairman. Dr Berhanu, who has appeard in the opposition camp just a few months before the election, has been the source of confusion and division in the CUD. Once again, Ethiopian Review urges the CUD leadership to take a corrective action as soon as possible in order to preserve its creditability.

    The people of Ethiopia are with Ato Hailu Shawel. If Dr Berhanu wants to work with the murderous regime of Meles Zenawi, that is his right. But he must not be allowed to use CUD as a cover to advance his own agenda.

  24. belay melese
    | #24

    The people of Ethiopia are not with ato hailu will see it. These people are not fulish like you> they know what they do.

  25. Alem Belay
    | #25

    I have been hearing and reading stories regarding “dictatorial tendencies” or non-collective decision-making by some Kinijit leaders. I take in these stories and think of a couple of things.

    The first is that, as this is the first genuinely inclusive opposition party that really integrated itself into the fabric of Ethiopian society, people have made it more than what it is. They seem to have forgotten that this party is made up of individual human beings who are fallible. It has and will, stumble, fall, fracture, make mistakes, and go through all the follies other human-formed organizations must, at one time or another. Therefore, it should not surprise anyone when Kinijit fumbles. Somehow though, because of their amazing ability to galvanize the Ethiopian people before and during the 2005 elections and their fearless confrontation with the government, leaders of Kinijit have been elevated to the status of super-human beings who can do no wrong. Some of the leaders, sadly, have also come to believe this. As recently as a week ago, one of the leaders has said that the party made no mistakes! This is the type of belief that will fracture Kinijit even faster. ( If you ask me, the mistakes that Kinijit made actually extended the life of a regime that was on the verge of committing suicide. But I leave this discussion for another day.) Also, let’s not forget that these are politicians with big egos. ( People with small egos don’t get into politics. If they do, they stay on the fringes performing supporting roles. For these folks, the view is always nice from the cheap seats.) So, when one politician with a big ego feels that his/her name is not seen in as a bright a light as the next politician with a massive ego, all kinds of dynamics occur, including leaking stories such as “so and so is a dictator, while I, on the other hand, am a true democrat who believes in ‘deliberative democracy’.” Some of the rumors about ‘dictatorial tendencies’ certainly emanate from such petty attitudes. One thing we must convince ourselves of is that we do not elect politicians for their purity in every aspect of their lives. We follow them for their ability to bring people and resources around worthy causes and getting the right things done to help their constituency/country.

    Second, this thing about the so called “deliberative” democracy needs to be looked at seriously. There is no proof that communal deliberation is always a good thing. However, the generation that cut its teeth when socialism was in vogue seems to think that every decision has to be deliberated upon. Veering slightly off tangent for a second, one of the worst sins of Kinijit was its need to ‘deliberate’ with the public whether it should join parliament or not! How ludicrous was that!! At that time my thought was, “if these people get to power, are we going to have to meet every other day at Qebele to tell them how to decide on every issue?”

    A strong leadership is required for any organization to succeed. On the other hand, if the concept of “deliberative democracy” is taken too seriously, the organization will become paralyzed and polarized. Executive committee members with such belief may expect consensus all the time. If they lose a vote, they accuse the winning side of dictatorial tendencies. By the way, what is democracy, if not the dictatorship of the majority? If our ideals happen to hold freedom high, we should not fear dissention in the ranks. On the other hand, we need strong leaders who are committed to the cause of freedom and work hard to rally people around that cause. History, contrary to what we were taught under Marxism, is not always made by the masses. It is, on the other hand, littered with deeds of individuals dedicated to a cause — good or bad.

    Therefore, Kinijit, as unbelievable as it may seem to those with eyes deliberately wide shut, will fall prey to individual fallabilities. Remember, even Lidetu Ayalew was once a member of Kinijit. It is as certain, as the day is long, that others will also leave the party and new ones will join. This is not weakness. It is just how the life of the party will continue (no pun intended here)

    There will be some bad days in the not too distant future when secrets will come out that may embarrass strong supporters. Again, we need to move on knowing that these are just growing pains and that even worse things could come down the road.

  26. Moges
    | #26

    In the 2005 election, who voted based on the concept of deliberative/revolutionary democracy? I am sure even 10% of those voted for CUD don’t know the concept of “deliberative democracy”!

    The problem of CUD is simply elite power competition!! The solution is simple!!

    CUD as a single party is never materialized! It has no legal status yet!!! Hence it can’t call its council to deliberate on the current conflict! The solution is simply to make null and void the merger agreement signed on the 14 September 2005 and work as a simple coalition as it was formed initially! This will

    1-avoid the power struggle that created the current problem car everyone is the leader of its party ,
    2- allow them to make a meeting and to work on common issues without killing totally CUD!!
    3- Allow the Diaspora to organise different support groups for the different parties without creating a laughable allegation and character assassination
    4- Allow a simple and smooth separation of the coalition parties if they are unable to work together

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