Amen to UDJP Covenant for Peaceful Struggle – By Robele Ababya

July 11th, 2008 Print Print Email Email

I very seldom miss the daily British Broadcasting Corporation’s “Focus on Africa” program on the radio. The one I listened to on 07 July 2008 coinciding with the opening of the G8 Summit in Japan caught my attention. From the comments made by fellow African listeners, it dawned on me that the African people, especially the young, are fade up of the hypocrisy and double standards of the western powers and the beggar mentality of their leaders that has become a habit and “get- rich- quick” pursuit. (more…)

I very seldom miss the daily British Broadcasting Corporation’s “Focus on Africa” program on the radio. The one I listened to on 07 July 2008 coinciding with the opening of the G8 Summit in Japan caught my attention. From the comments made by fellow African listeners, it dawned on me that the African people, especially the young, are fade up of the hypocrisy and double standards of the western powers and the beggar mentality of their leaders that has become a habit and “get- rich- quick” pursuit.

Focus on the miseries of Africa reportedly featured high on the agenda of the G8 leaders along with the hither to unmet pledge of development aid to the continent – that as we know has been the subject of empty talks by western industrial powers for many years.

Comments from various parts of Africa read over the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) radio program captured my attention. Fellow Africans from Nigeria and Uganda in particular expressed views consonant with the ideals of unity, self-reliance and focus on development. Some of the commenting listeners in effect described the G8 Summit as a forum for expressing empty rhetoric of little substance to the long-term economic development of our continent; it merely is a forum to advance the interests of the richest industrialized world at the expense of Africa in which they want to entrench and perpetrate dependency syndrome.

Most of the Summit leaders in the pack, can hardly forget the hey days of their imperialistic rule on the continent; looting its natural resources as they pleased; taking its peoples in chains in order to exploit the labor of the slaves in building the economies of the countries of their captors.

The era of colonialism ended owing to a complex, arduous, and costly mix of peaceful and armed struggles spanning the years covering the period for Scramble for Africa that started in 1981. Victory over imperialism was won. However due to inept and corrupt African leaders, the fruits of victory did not filter down to the masses to this day of the era of neo-colonialism gaining strength in full view of our own toothless AU which is nothing more than a club of western stooges competing for leftovers from the high table of ex- colonial masters.

It is in the public domain of discourse that the AU is a toothless entity which is unable to deal with increasingly acute multiple problems including bad governance, poor health, abject poverty, and internal conflicts. Most of the AU leaders lack moral authority in confronting the abuses of their corrupt vote robbing colleagues. But this will change for the better with energetic young leaders with new ideas in power.

Topics of interest to me, as an Ethiopian-African, The Summit dealt with climate change, fraudulence in the Zimbabwean election of 27 June 2008, aid to Africa, soaring costs of food and oil. These were of interest to me as an Ethiopian-African

The nonbinding agreement to reduce gas emission by 50% by the year 2050 is hailed as ‘significant progress’ by none other than President George W. Bush who had refused to recognize the Kyoto Protocol. In any case, the issue of emissions has little relevance to Africans who should necessarily continue to depend on conventional sources of energy for their economic development. The greedy rich should therefore set the example in reducing the effect of global warming.

There was indeed a despicable fraudulence in the Zimbabwean election of 27 June 2008. Robert Mugabe, once a darling of the UK on whom the coveted title Knighthood was conferred (and later was stripped off), was the chief culprit along with his Zanu-PF stalwarts and generals. Poor Mugabe was being grilled at the Summit for vote rigging and stealing crimes far less than those committed by Meles. The illegitimate Ethiopian dictator who stole votes; killed 193 peaceful demonstrators in cold blood; incarcerated tens of thousands of Ethiopians protesting of votes; threw the victors of the election in jail was freely mingling among the G8 leaders. Mugabe’s abuses, not those of Meles, caught the limelight in equal measure as the global warming and world economic down turn posing violent public uprising. It is a shameful demonstration of double standard.

The leaders of the eight industrialized nations stressed that they were “deeply concerned” over rising food prices and supply shortages, and urged the world to reduce the “unnecessary demand” for food. Just after expressing their “deep concern” the leaders drew outrage from various quarters for setting bad example of feasting on 24-course lunch and dinner in just one day. The question is not one of feasting on a variety of sumptuous foods. It is rather that the leaders did little to deserve it as well as failed to practice they preached.

No wonder that the good pop star Bob Geldof in frustration christened the Summit as an expensive talk shop and questioned whether it has not out lived its usefulness. I agree with Mr. Geldof. The only choice is to rely on ourselves.

I should end my sketchy but important remarks about the Summit here and turn my attention to what concerns me most, affairs in my own beloved motherland, Ethiopia.

Self-reliance was the hallmark of the Ethiopian revolution of 1974. That spirit was soon forgotten and replaced with the slogan of solidarity with international proletariats with which the Dergue was not familiar. It was unfortunate that building ‘invincible’ military might was the centerpiece of the policy of the soldiers. That policy held the junta subservient to the defunct USSR power block as well as in close ties with North Korea. Both were rich in slogans and military weapons but had little to offer by way of economic development.

What I hear nowadays from my fellow Africans, especially young university graduates and students, is the need to resurrect and bolster the spirit of self-reliance. This does not mean development in isolation but asserting our interests as Africans in the global market place.

There is hope for the revival of self-reliance in the ambiance of emphasis on economic development. All free societies are self-reliant in basic necessities like food, clothing, shelter and health. So, the free flow of ideas, dialogue, prudent utilization of natural resources and human capital are central to all round development of a nation.

There were strings attached to the procurement of military equipment and weapons. At one time the officer in charge of MAAG in Ethiopia plainly and audaciously told the Imperial regime that the aircraft and munitions supplied by the US were for the purpose of quelling internal political unrest or opposition. Indeed, Humvees were on display in several locations in Addis Ababa during the infamous crackdown on peaceful demonstrators protesting the daylight robbery of the victory of the Ethiopian people at the historic election of 15 May 2005.

The outcome of military clashes in the Horn of Africa has nothing to show except a dismembered and impoverished Ethiopia; to usher in a failed state of Somalia after the fall of Siade Barre regime and further misery to the Somali people under the occupation of Meles’s security forces; an impoverished Eritrea on the verge of explosion. The evidence is before us to admit military adventures did not work. Therefore, the one and only one sane option for all in the region is in my opinion to genuinely commit ourselves to civilized dialogue by embracing the principle of peaceful resolution of conflicts and concentrate on meaningful multi-faceted development aimed at liberate the people of the region from abject poverty and political unrest fueled by dictators.

The Ethiopian people comprising all ethnic groups have amply demonstrated their united action and common values of freedom at the historic election of 15 May 2005. The election showed that there were no contentious issues between the common people to reconcile about. The spirit of Kinijit spontaneously brought them together to proclaim the values inherent in every human heart, mind and soul. Therefore I contend that it is the leaders of national liberation movements in particular that are in dire need of reconciliation with the Ethiopian people by asking forgiveness. It is the protagonists in the White Terror and Red Terror debacle that need reconciliation with the Ethiopian people by asking forgiveness. Most of all it is the TPLF that will need reconciliation with the Ethiopian people for having betrayed vital national interests and for its heinous crimes far too many to mention but well recorded by the international community.

The Ethiopian people, who are at peace with each other, shall be the fair judge in all cases.

The path of peaceful struggle is the logical outcome of our turbulent past. Armed struggle will get us no where in the troubled environment in which our economically poor Ethiopia finds herself. Peaceful struggle is the way forward. As Dr. Yacob Haile Mariam succinctly put it, those of us supporting this method of struggle are not pacifists. All peaceful means including civil disobedience, public demonstration, diplomatic representations et al shall be applied in exerting effective pressure on the regime in power to respect the rule of law.

The birth of UDJP, as an offshoot of its predecessor Kinijit, came in the wake of our troubled social, economical and political past coupled with exorbitant expenditure on military hardware and personnel training to operate that hardware. Our exorbitant spending on the military has to stop because the use of force as a means for resolving internal conflicts did not work at all.

Thus, it is reasonable to suggest to young Ethiopians at home and in the Diaspora to make a clean break with the past culture of seeking political power by the barrel of the gun and remain in office by sheer force.

It is my earnest call to officers and men of the Ethiopian Defense Force to send a clear signal to Meles that their accountability is only to the Ethiopian people and demand that the tyrant opens the political space and create the necessary enabling environment for change without fratricidal bloodshed. Your sacred duty is to deter external aggression and the Ethiopia people will support you in that noble endeavor.

On my part, without fear or pursuit of favor:

• When Professor Mesfin speaks I listen; when he writes I read. This is so because I believe in his consistency and selfless courage I had known for a long time. He never hatched lust for power; there is no reason to believe he does now.

• When Judge Birtukan Mideksa leads, I follow for all those of her qualities that won her the trust and love of millions of Ethiopians and election as President of UDJP by her illustrious colleagues – men and women of principle.

So I am finally at home to reiterate the principle I had believed in for many years.

I say “Amen to UDJP Covenant of Peaceful Struggle” for all the reasons” I have written in this piece.

LONG LIVE ETHIOPIA!

  1. Bekele
    | #1

    Robele,

    Your article in general is good.

    But you seems to be a demagogue and entertain the idea of worshiping a group and indiviuals. To me you are a very intelgent man – please get out of that mentality of worshiping poltical figures and replace it with principle. Figures like Birtukan Medikissa should be mentored, helped and coached to be a good leader. It is unfair & criminal – for this dynamic, young & future hope, but grossly inexperienced and naive girl to be considered as a leader. Those who consider her as a leader and try to worship her are not her friends. In fact some are riding in her back for their own sake. Everbody is trying to sacrifce her – Dr. Berhanu did, now the oldies are all over her. Please stop.

    For the struggle to succeed we have to come together as we did in 2005. A fragmented opposition: UDJP, G7 and Kinijit/AEUP will not take us anywhere. It will be a childs play for Zenawi.

  2. Azarya
    | #2

    Amen indeed!

    If those who conducted protracted and costly armed struggle did not go far, the only rational thing to do is join and bolster the peacefl way. They should not be shy about facing reality. That will get EPRDF’s attention and we will be in a position to liberate all of Ethiopia.

    What intrigues me is why people in Ginbot 7 movement chose a road that leads to nowhere.

  3. aha!
    | #3

    The ehnocentered elites have been sold into the idea of ehnic politics and they are suffering a devastating blow fighting for librating themselves from the the current regime that initiate the divide and rule system of governance. instead of fighting for their freedom as Ethiopians from the current regime, they are fighing the the current regime in the same way that the secssesenits of Eritrean and Tigray province did in the past, against an an established and well funded army of the current regime. To add an insult to injury the political parties never come together on a common agenda free the Ethiopians from the yoke of tyranny, nor does the dissident faction of UDJP,whom you enthused about amount to anything in terms of of peacefull struggle or Ginbot 7 seven of the armed struggle. That leaves other genuine opposition parties that are shunned by powerfull media in the diaspora, carrying out a silent revolution and authentic peacefull struggle. What UDJP is doing is preparing for an an election for the next general election without and any precondition for changes in the democratic institutions and grounds for free and fair elections only to garner seats in the parliament as did Dr. Beyene Petros, Ato Ldetu Ayalew and others. What did they accomplish? Nothing.

  4. Dereje
    | #4

    Mr. Robele,

    Unless you have been living in Mars or are totally clueless about Ethiopian politics do you really think that “All peaceful means including civil disobedience, public demonstration” are allowed by woyane? Why don’t you people read and reread what the heck
    you are writing???

    Stop covering up for Meles, stop demoralizing the Ethiopian people by lying that manna will fall from heaven!!! STOP THE LIE!!!!!

  5. yikerbelen
    | #5

    Mr robel, peacefull struggle can produce some fruit where there is law and order, where the regime is respects some how the the constitution of the that country and where the regime knows the meaning of ” shame”. I have never had and will never have any hope that political power transformation from TPLF to the people of ethiopia by peacefull means. These narrow minded and conscienceless people [TPLF- ERS]know very well that they will never win a single parliamentarian chair throught free and fair election even with in tegray region. They know very well the crimes which they have been committing in ethiopia and in somalia will not allow them to walk freely if the political power is out of their bloody hand, and they know very well the ethiopia’s people including the army and the police do not support them from their heart, so why should they expose them selves ? So let the ethiopia’s people choose they which helps to free them selves from slavery. look what IS TPLF doing now with the youngest artist Tedy afro? The court is for weyane, his laywer is weyane and the wittness are weyanes. Mr robel,think a minute , when an entire ethiopia’s people are the victums of this bloody regime, when there is no support for melese , why should beg them?let us not say ” peacefull struggle , peacefull struggle’” let us apply every strategy coordinately to save this country and to shorten the suffering of the people. When most of you people stand against the armed struggle, you should know that you will create a division among supporters which is very good to melese and his gang’s group, most people will stand against your peacefull struggle. Those who are not ready to pay the price for democracy and freedom, they do deserve neither democracy nor freedom. DEMOCRACY WILL FALL FROM HEAVEN. IT COSTS TOOOOOOOO MUCH AND WE SHOULD PAY FOR IT THE NECESSARY PRICE

  6. yikerbelen
    | #6

    Mr robel, peacefull struggle can produce some fruit where there is law and order, where the regime is respects some how the the constitution of the that country and where the regime knows the meaning of ” shame”. I have never had and will never have any hope that political power transformation from TPLF to the people of ethiopia by peacefull means. These narrow minded and conscienceless people [TPLF- ERS]know very well that they will never win a single parliamentarian chair throught free and fair election even with in tegray region. They know very well the crimes which they have been committing in ethiopia and in somalia will not allow them to walk freely if the political power is out of their bloody hand, and they know very well the ethiopia’s people including the army and the police do not support them from their heart, so why should they expose them selves ? So let the ethiopia’s people choose they which helps to free them selves from slavery. look what IS TPLF doing now with the youngest artist Tedy afro? The court is for weyane, his laywer is weyane and the wittness are weyanes. Mr robel,think a minute , when an entire ethiopia’s people are the victums of this bloody regime, when there is no support for melese , why should beg them?let us not say ” peacefull struggle , peacefull struggle’” let us apply every strategy coordinately to save this country and to shorten the suffering of the people. When most of you people stand against the armed struggle, you should know that you will create a division among supporters which is very good to melese and his gang’s group, most people will stand against your peacefull struggle. Those who are not ready to pay the price for democracy and freedom, they do deserve neither democracy nor freedom. DEMOCRACY WILL NOT FALL FROM HEAVEN. IT COSTS TOOOOOOOO MUCH AND WE SHOULD PAY FOR IT THE NECESSARY PRICE

  7. | #7

    Mr. Robele,

    I think you are the same guy who contribute good articles on our country. You have nailed it on the head this time too.

    We have no choice except to beat TPLF/EPRDF in their own games. They are saying that struggle has to be peaceful and legal. Who will object to that? We have seen it happen in the 2005 election and there is no reason that that cannot be repeated. The thing is getting the political space more open to peacefully and legally replace TPLF/EPRDF. Once open, post-election violence cannot happen. There are indications that the up coming election will be better than the 2005 one.

    I do not see the non-peaceful option. In fact, non-peaceful struggle will facilitate the success of already armed separatist groups in the country. We are being told that the separatist groups will agree to the unity of the country. That is an illusion. We are also being told post war democracy will solve the problem of separation. That is a big lie. Separatist groups are fighting for a “homeland” and not democracy. If a “homeland” is related to democracy, many European and Asian states would have defeated separatist movements. There is also this idea that economic developmet will discourage separatism. Again, see the developed Europe still bogged down in violence with “homeland” seekers. In fact, the world is rife with examples as to how to deal with separatism. One such example is insisting to renounce violence. Encouraging and intensifying violence is by no means one of it.

    Once again, we are to witness suffering of our people in the hands of self proclaimed liberators. This is to happen in a country where millions are hungry and sick. The liberators say if some die from the bullets they shoot, families will be given money. If property is destroyed, the same will be done. I wonder if these people are out of their minds. Is their intention to disrupt the lives of ordinary poor people by dragging them into conflict? Do they want to see children stay at home rather than go to school, workers and farmers quit their jobs and wait for them to liberate them? It is unbelievable how some people go nuts.

    The saddest thing about these war mongers is that they want people not to vote in the up coming election. They are saying they will agitate that the election be boycotted. Once again, the people will say no to this sinster agitation. In any case, experience shows that people will vote whatever the sitation is. The best thing is to convince them to vote for the opposition.

    Personally, I am not affiliated to any political organization, but I am for an orderly transfer of power from TPLF/EPRDF to winners through the ballot box. I do not want anybody to liberate me. I will liberate myself with the millions who will line up to vote. I had voted in 2005 and will vote in 2010.

    Thank God that we have peope like Prof. Mesfin who are endowed with the quality of sober thinking.

    Mr. Robele,

    I thank you again for voicing your uncompromising opinion.

  8. Dil Le Ethiopia
    | #8

    What’s all these Brouhaha about armed struggle? Who is fighting? I ain’t fighting so is Dr. Berhanu as he stated on the “Abougida” Documentary…http://www.abugidainfo.com/video/index.php/documentary/international.html

    He doesn’t even know how to trigger.

    Let’s be realistic. All our neighbors are enemies of Ethiopia. Sudan, Djoubouti, Kenya and most of all Elias Kifle’s Favorite “Eretrea”. They are for Zenawi more than the people of Ethiopia. The people of Ethiopia are reluctant to try the peaceful struggle let alone armed struggle. I don’t expect anything from the Humberger Eating and Paltalk Trashing Diaspora Ethiopians.

    I strongly agree also that the leadership should remain in Ethiopia. We don’t want a remote controlled struggle like Dr. Berhanu and Andargachew would like us to believe.

    Thank you Mr. Robele and Senedu for your thoughtful comment.

  9. Kassa
    | #9

    Dil Le Ethiopia,

    You are sitting here probably trying to marry
    your sisters and brothers to someone who just
    won the DV lottery so that they can come to America. No good, spineless twits like you are plenty and we can do with out one more village
    idiot’s political assessment.

  10. Dil Le Ethiopia
    | #10

    Kassa,

    Where did you leave your brain when you wrote this comment? I hope you did not write this with your right brain. If so then I cry for you. Very Discoherent and out of Context. Please talk to me whenever you find your brain from whereever you left it off.

    Dil.

  11. Gara Beru
    | #11

    Robele – I have no qualms on the issues you raised in relation to the G8 hidden agenda. In order not to fall in their trap and be self reliant,there ought to be a formidable political party of the people. One “KINIJIT” is the way to build a formidable party. The KINJIT name resonates world-wide, let alone domestically. Tactical retreats are necessary but anything else that splinters Kinijit – see UDJP and the likes of Ginbot 7 – is not the messenger of the people. Forward with the torch bearer-KINIJIT!

  12. Medeksaa
    | #12

    VOIDING AND CANCELLING AMHARIC LANGUAGE AS ETHIOPIAS NATIONAL LANGUAGE IS A GREAT STRIDE TOWARD DEMOCRATIC ETHIOPIA.

    In practice nothing has changed for us oromos, we oromos still forced to learn and speak amaras minority language within our own territories and regions, WHY ? ?

    Democratizing and majoritisizing ethiopias national language by changing from Amaras minority language (Amharic) to Ethiopias nmajority language (Afaan oromoffiaa) vital move.

  13. Gara Beru
    | #13

    Medeksa – I respect your wish but the way you dream to replace Amarigna with Oromigna sounds dictatorial and arbitrary. You are dreaming to impose your own language and latin letters upon the majority of the Ethiopian People who use Geez letters and Amharic as the business language of the nation. Medeksa, you seem to parrot the same phrase from website to website like an imbecile. The struggle is not about language-the language issue was resolved about one thousand years ago through the voluntary choice of the people – it is about democracy and individual freedom.

  14. Gudeta
    | #14

    Gara,

    You must be one of those die hard tribalist confused Amara, because oromos are Ethiopians majority, not amaras.

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