UDJP(Andnet) Officials Public Meeting in Washington DC – KNAASO Press Release

July 8th, 2008 Print Print Email Email

The “Unity for Democracy & Justice Party (UDJ)”, held a historic meeting on July 6, 2008 at the Marriott Hotel in Washington DC. The meeting, organized by Kinijit North America Association of Support Organizations, (KNAASO), in collaboration with Kinijit DC Metro Support Chapter was attended to full capacity.

When a name like Professor Mesfin Woldemariam, an internationally renowned Human Rights leader, democracy activist, author and arguably the most celebrated Ethiopian academic, appears on the roaster of panelists, it is bound to generate enormous interest. (more…)

The “Unity for Democracy & Justice Party (UDJ)”, held a historic meeting on July 6, 2008 at the Marriott Hotel in Washington DC. The meeting, organized by Kinijit North America Association of Support Organizations, (KNAASO), in collaboration with Kinijit DC Metro Support Chapter was attended to full capacity.

When a name like Professor Mesfin Woldemariam, an internationally renowned Human Rights leader, democracy activist, author and arguably the most celebrated Ethiopian academic, appears on the roaster of panelists, it is bound to generate enormous interest. The second panelist, Ato Asrat Tasse, is Secretary General of UDJ and a respected academician in his own right. Their visit to the US and particularly to the DC-Metro area, which houses the largest Ethiopian community outside of Ethiopia, is significant in more ways than one.

The panelists made an elaborate analysis of the pre and post 2005 election environment in Ethiopia. They made no attempt at covering up mistakes made by Kinijit’s leadership, which is the predecessor of UDJ.

Ato Asrat Tasse, Secretary General of UDJ, presented a candid portrayal of Kinijit’s shortcomings that led to its fracture soon after the leadership was released from prison. He highlighted lack of political integration and the tendency of some leaders who brought their personal ambitions before the interest of the party.

Professor Mesfin, in his trademark forthright way, pointed out that the fight within our own persons must be guided by fact and reason rather than by emotion. He said that politics which is fueled by hatred, grudge, and the desire for revenge will feed the cycle tyranny and deny our people their right for democracy and stable life. “This ugly state of mind”, he warned, “is not an exclusive domain of the ruling party but regrettably present even in some quarters of the opposition.” He reminded the audience that no matter how stark their political differences, Ethiopian parties shall refrain from looking at each other as “enemies” but rather as political contenders with differing viewpoints. “The opposition”, he added, “should guard itself from demagogues who never hesitate to exploit the tender emotion of the human mind to rally support and propel to power. Typically, they do it a good distance away
from the bullet and the hardship”, he added.

Peaceful struggle covered a good part of the panelists’ speech and an equally good part of the question and answer session. Both panelists stated that peaceful struggle was, is and will remain the Kinijit/Andnet way. UDJ will intensify its struggle knowing fully well that the political space opened during the 2005 election was never courtesy of EPRDF but one induced by the combined pressure of our people, political parties, the press and the international community. “We are confident the political conditions that prevailed then and forced EPRDF to open up are still around albeit in a more pronounced manner”.

“On the other hand”, they concluded, “contemporary history, the prevailing geo-political landscape, the objective and subjective realities in our country do not point to armed struggle as being a viable option let alone guaranteeing transfer of power to the people”.

Both Professor Mesfin and Ato Asrat Tasse reiterated their own commitments and the commitment of the entire UDJ leadership to bring systemic change to the country. They reaffirmed that despite repeated natural and man-made hardships our people were subjected to and despite the repressive practices of EPRDF, the future for Ethiopia and Ethiopians is indeed bright if we choose to work with resolve, warm hearts and minds.

The delegation is scheduled to make several stops within the USA before it heads back home.

  1. Tilahun
    | #1

    I respect Professor Mesfin and i was at the meeting in DC. I wish him and UDJ the best in their continued attempt to seek peaceful solutions to Ethiopian problems. Nevertheless, i walked away from the meeting strongly willing to support Ginbot7 who held a meeting the day before. I have no reason to believe Woyane will entertain any peaceful opposition. If UDJ is succsessful in their mission, i stand behind them. I also believe they will only be succsful if and only a movement like Ginbot7 intesifies the struggle.

    Marin Luther king wouldn’t have been possible with out Malcolm X!

  2. falk
    | #2

    I agree with Tilahun; Thank you!

  3. falk
    | #3

    Thanks Ato Tilahun you had mention every thing you thought, I agree with you.

  4. mohaaz
    | #4

    Professor Mesfin is a human right activist and an academician. His service to his country in this regard has been nothing less than spectacular. But he is not a politician! he is not a tactician! If you UDJ does not find the right place for him, I am afraid he will do more harm than good sooner or later to the party’s cause. He is a known absolutist in positons that it will not be too far away, when he starts bad mouthing the leadership of UDJ when they try to do something that is not to his absolutist stand. What is the point of bad mouthing oppositon memebers who chose to struggle in a differnt way than his? History has in store countries that made change for the better thruogh armed struggle as well as peacefule means. We don’t know what will work in Ethiopia: peaceful? armed? combinations? etc. that is why it sis critical to try everthing. UDJ and its supportes have every right to follow their peaceful way and they should be admired and supported for it. THEY WILL BE DOING A DISSERVICE TO THE STRUGGLE MOST OF TO THEMSELVES IF THEY START ATTACKING OPPOSITON MEMEBERS WHO CHOSE TO STRUGGLE IN A DIFFERENT WAY! THIS IS A WAKE UP CALL FOR UDJ LEADERSHIP AND their supportes: KEEP YOUR ENTHUSIASM OF PEACEFUL STRUGGLE TO YOURSELF! LET US FOCUS ON THE REAL ENEMY!!!

  5. Deresa
    | #5

    there is nothing UDJ did at home,and they will do nothing here abroad,simply they are a symbol of fake movement in order to confuse Kinijit folowwers and kill the struggle of the people.

  6. m
    | #6

    I posted the comment below in Ethiopian Review and EMF twice and twice it was removed. What I never suspected was that ER and EMF are run by the same group.

    Elias wants to play the king-maker and in the process make fast money. First, he is reading Prof. Mesfin out of context. Prof Mesfin is against violence. Elias and Ginbot are for violence. The two cannot reconcile. The problem with Elias is that he listens to no one but himself. He enjoys making waves (rather foam) and a living at the same time as the uninformed click on his website for salacious and unsubstantiated news. Ethiopians with genuine concern for the nation and wanting to remove dictator Meles should distance themselves from Elias and his Eritrean supporters. Ginbot 7 and Berhanu Nega are well-advised to dissociate their fledgling organization from the trap set for them by Elias and Eritreans. Otherwise, they will be losing a significant undecided population.

    As Prof Mesfin he continues to challenge us in his consistent opposition to tyranny. He is risking a lot in this. And yet ER et al have the audacity to condemn him for that. Elias invites his viewers to listen to the professor’s speech; what he does not tell his viewers is that he recorded and edited the speech himself.

    Remember when Prof Mesfin spoke out from his hospital bed in India? Back then Ethiomedia accused him of selling out. Few months later all who condemned him were found to be in the wrong. No one wants to bring it up again. Hypocrisy?

    Elias simply can’t handle a view different from his own. And I don’t understand why he complains about dictator Meles doing exactly the same thing.


  7. Tazabi
    | #7

    Both Martin Luther King and Malcohm X were living within the US with their people. Ginbot 7 folks are not “MALCOHM Xs”. They are living in Europe and London, eating humburgers and asking others to die.

    Mind you Malcohm X and MLK were shot down. Ginbot 7 officials like Muluneh and Dr Berhanu left the people and stayed in America for GOOD. They are not Malcohm Xs AT ALL>

  8. Dil Le Ethiopia
    | #8

    Tazabi said it all. Malcom X and Martin Luther stood with their people like Birtukan, Prof. Yacob, Prof. Mesfin and so on.

    Andargachew and Berhanu are giving a false hope to ethiopians, just euphoria.

    “AKAKI SERAF” doesn’t take us anywhere.

    I have a question to Andargachew and Berhanu:

    Where were you when “Prof. Asrat Woldeyes” put to death with much agony?

    Where were you when my people were burried alive in Bedeno?

    The answer is :

    You were dining and wining with Meles…

    I say “NO MORE” to remote controlled struggle.

    For EMF and ER – got two words for you – Dumb and Dumber. Elias is a shabia and EMF – god knows what.

  9. Belal
    | #9

    I agree with Tilahun. Go Ginbot7! We are with you!!!!

    Dear Dil Le Ethiopia, the “AKAKI SERAF” strategy is the only way people rise to power in Africa. You do not have to hold a PhD. to know this; all you have to do is understand the trends. Also, As a Muslim, with Ginbot7 running the show, I feel that I am part of the democratic movement: The only inclusive movement in Ethiopia .Please tell Andenet that we are not baying their sorry looking anti-Muslim umbrella they are trying to sell to us. To me, unlike Andenet and Hilu Shawel, the illegitimate children of Kinijit borne out of wade- luck, Ginbot7, the legitimate Child of Kinijit can unite Ethiopia under one flag… I AM PROUD TO BE AN ETHIOPIAN AND PROUD TO STAND BY GINBOT7

  10. abe
    | #10


    Could you please post the audio of prof mesfin’s speech. the one on Kinijit website is not audible. I listened to it loud and clear on ECADF but they have not posted it on their website.

  11. senzero
    | #11

    I supposrt the idea raised by Genbot 7,however I don’t trust the movement’s leaders who want to lead the struggle from abroad.

    What was the need for Muluneh to come to the u.s. to join the struggle when the real struggle is in Ethiopia.

    The amazing part is,G7 are trying to tell us it is a good news that Muluneh came out of the country and joined the “struggle.”


  12. Peace
    | #12

    It is so sad how we are so fragmented. To me, it is not even Weyane, even as we speak it is about power struggle and accepting one another despite our differences. I hope I am not generalizing, and this is what I have notices through out growing up. Amaras are very good in bad mouthing people and down grading people. Today, we still see this in Prof. Mesfin based on not accepting Ginbot 7 because of the arrogance that our party is better than yours. I hope parties are formed not about so that their party will have power one day, parties are formed to represent all Ethiopians inclusive. Action, not bad mouthing individuals or parties for personal goal that share the same interests is what is saving Ethiopia. If Prof. Mesfin disagrees with Ginbot 7, then discuss this in closed door and even with Ginbot 7. IF Weyane is to topple again, are these parties are going to war again for the purpose of power? In that case these parties are no different than Weyane. After this Prof. Mesfin’s speech attcking on party, the West will now consider we Ethiopians are not only against Weyane, we are now turning against eachother. This will weaken the West’s support for Democratic Ethiopia. The bottom line is, despite these parties, it is the people of Ethiopia who are going to decide who is going to be their leader, not Dr. Berhanu nor, Prof. Mesfin, nor Dr. Hailu. This, they have to know. Despite the parties’ differences, they need to learn to be tolerate of eachother. The future of Ethiopia is going to be rainbow, with every ethnicities involved in political, economic and social system of Ethiopia, this, All parties must understand that, otherwise, we are back to square one as we see what is going on today bad mouthing one party. It is a shame!

  13. Belal
    | #13

    senzero : Isyase Afeworke and Meles Zenawi did not need to live in Ethiopia to overthrow the Derg . Do you get it?

  14. kito
    | #14

    Both Ginbot 7and Andenet are fake baseless parties created by individyals to create confusion and political dilemmas among diaspora.You know that they dont have base among Ethiopians at home.
    So folks,Dont waste your time.
    Andenet will divided in more than two in the very near future. Ginbot7 will vanish.

  15. Azarya
    | #15


    Exactly! Both Isayyas and Meles turned out to be the greatest nightmares of their people and their country. That is what you get from arm-chair war mongers.

  16. Belal
    | #16

    Azarya, I believe you are missing the point I am trying to get across.
    You are comparing apple and orange.
    Dear, they don’t call him “Andeargachew” for nothing. He is born to be a uniter.

  17. senzero
    | #17


    I understand the indviduals you mentioned were not in the country all the time,but they were there most of the time leading the struggle and keeping an eye on their leadership.

    Also, you have to understand the whole leadership of Weyene or Shabia had never stayed outside the country and tried to lead their movements.

    Pls try to read and ask people who where there before suggesting.


  18. TEDY
    | #18


  19. Demeksaa
    | #19

    Nothing has changed in Ethiopia, We Oromos still forced to learn and forced to speak Amaras minority langauge (Amharic) within our own regions and territories, WHY ??

    Ethiopias National language should be democratized and changed from Amaras minority (Amharic) to Ethiopias majority (Affaan Oromoffiaa).

  20. Belal
    | #20

    senzero : you said, “Pls try to read and ask people who where there before suggesting”.

    My name is Belal not Belay. The only kind of name you are familiar? Can you say Belal?

  21. peterson
    | #21

    All ‘kulkual eaters’ have devloped test for ‘enjera’, they put shoes, change their
    rag tags at the expense of the rest of the country, especially from south. The TPLF mafia leaders have effectively patronized the selfish
    among thier ranks. They are proud of Melse because he delebrately gives them stolen ‘
    enjera’, Tigreans are responsible for lanlocking Ethiopia, tribalize it, disrespected,
    without sovereignty and territorial integrity,
    natinal unity unless they openly revolt against meles- as kedamay weyanes did aginst unfairness, otherwise they are viewed as collabrators. They become instrumental to make Ethiopia weaker ever. They made the purchasing power of Birr too weak and manufuctered poverty which they inter Addis Ababa with it. What is the pride of Melese and his tribesmen. Is he a head of state or just leader of mafia group that plunder resources and does’t care for any thing of Ethiopian: territory, sea port, natinal unity, prosperity, etc. He is from ‘Iron ore’ not ‘gold’ as he claims; thanks god ‘Amharas and the rest of Ethiopians nationalities are ‘Diamonds’, I like them despite I am not one of themn ::::::: Their history is forever- Meles’s legacy is complet shame for its generation from Tigray. ‘Modern bandas’ that sold the country and made it weaker by lanlocking it.What is all that ‘tegomtsets’ dance and chifera! is it because they gave Assab to Shabia, is it because they gave gondar to Sudan?

    The TPLF cooperation with shabia to landlock and give assab to him is like a spoiled child holding his mother’s leg for a rapist, instead of killing the ‘rapist’ as normal child sould do.Meles is doing exactly the same!! He repeated on the wester front too. This is read

    Now time to slit the traught of this banda and mafia leadership of TPLF. This should also come from TPLF fighters, the military, and others who care about history of Tigrai.

  22. Sadurie
    | #22

    m,thank you for your words about Elias. I wonder if he is a professional journalist. He is number one enemy of Ethiopia. not less than Meles Zenawi.

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