KNAASO PRESS RELEASE – APRIL 14 – 08
Please Listen to KNAASO Chairman, Aklog Limeneh’s Interview with VOA on the Press Release.
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A Mockery of Democracy?
The Ethiopian local and regional elections held on April 13, 2008, almost three years after the rigged election of May 2005, is a tragic regression of democracy in the country. It is also a sad commentary on the aspiration of eighty million Ethiopians who believe that democracy is the only way out of their age old economic social and political malaise.
The EPRDF regime appears to have been emboldened by the inadequate response of the international community when it defied the election result of May 2005, massacred hundreds of unarmed protestors and incarcerated tens of thousands including pro-democracy party leaders. Continuing with its exercise in tyranny, EPRDF has embarked on a systematic campaign of eliminating viable opposition parties like the CUDP which, by several international observer accounts, had won the election. Through a series of undemocratic proclamations, it has diminished or eliminated the requisite conditions under which political parties can operate. Even the parties who joined the parliament as “loyal opposition” have condemned the intolerable intransigence of the government and withdrawn from the current election. In short, the regime is pursuing a zero-sum-game politics with impunity.
Human Rights Watch, after undertaking an elaborate study on the prevailing election environment, concluded that “it is too late to salvage this election, which will simply be a rubber stamp to EPRDF’s near-monopoly on power…”. As was the case in 2005, the current election exercise is aimed at hoodwinking the international community into believing that the EPRDF regime is committed to democracy knowing fully well that donors require democratic process as prerequisite to economic aid and development loan.
It is a travesty of justice and a serious dent on their core human and democratic values when western governments continue to associate with a regime which eliminated free press, used government controlled farm land and government jobs as tools to force peasants, teachers and government employees into signing as EPRDF party members.
For multitude of Ethiopians and for many more in the entire African continent, this is yet another example of how western powers continue to bankroll repressive regimes. We call on the international community to stop appeasing crimes being committed in the name of democracy and condemn the actions of Meles Zenawi. Not doing so is tantamount to condoning inevitable popular uprising which could destabilize the region at large.
Particularly, we would like to appeal to the US government and the US Senate to take immediate action that will put back genuine democratic process in Ethiopia and to revisit US policies toward the Ethiopian government.
Kinijit North America Association of Support Organizations