Report: Dallas’ Meeting with Dr. Yacob – Andnet Dallas
On November 16, the Dallas Chapter of Andinet/Kinijit Support Group hosted a public meeting at the Radisson Hotel, in Richardson, TX featuring the foreign relations committee head of Unity for Democracy and Justice Party (UDJP), Dr. Yacob H/Mariam. (more…)
On November 16, the Dallas Chapter of Andinet/Kinijit Support Group hosted a public meeting at the Radisson Hotel, in Richardson, TX featuring the foreign relations committee head of Unity for Democracy and Justice Party (UDJP), Dr. Yacob H/Mariam.
The meeting was attended by residents of Dallas and activists from different Ethiopian political groups. Following a minute of silence in recognition of the highest sacrifice paid by fallen activists for freedom and democracy in Ethiopia, the chairman of the Chapter, Ato Dejene Assaye opened the afternoon-long discussion forum with a brief biographical introduction of Dr. Yacob and a welcome note to the meeting attendees.
In a well-prepared address, Dr. Yacob delivered a speech in areas ranging from the deliberate and continued neglect of the Ethiopian national interest by Meles’s regime to the vision of Andinet party for getting rid of the 19+ year by EPDRF’s misrule of the people of Ethiopia.
On the state of Ethiopian sovereignty in the era of Meles’s rule, Dr. Yacob gave two instances where Meles’s regime puts the country’s national wellbeing in jeopardy. In the first instance, he mentioned to the audience that the framing of the sovereignty of Ethiopia by the constitution as a derivative of the sovereign right of the peoples and nationalities of Ethiopia make EPDRF’s Ethiopia a unique and an unprecedented political polity in the world stage. No country in the world has defined its sovereignty in such conditional terms. As an expert in legal matters, he explained that this is not an academic issue. It is an issue which has a very serious implication on how the country legally keeps its sovereignty.
In the second instance, he cited the conduct of the regime in handling Ethiopia’s relations with its neighbors, particularly Eritrea and the Sudan as a clear of indication of how this regime puts Ethiopia’s wellbeing in constant danger. As specific examples of the reckless acts of the regime towards the country’s national interest, he mentioned the abandment of the Ethiopia’s right of access to the sea, the basing of the Algiers agreement on defunct colonial treaties and the regime’s continued commitment to this agreement despite the repeated violation of the terms of the agreement by the other side and the recent handling of the Ethio-Sudan border.
In the political arena, Dr. Yacob called the attention of the audience to the current EPDRF hardening position away from multi-party system and its pursuit of legislation activities through its rubber stamp parliament to further constrict the already narrow political space in order to squeeze political parties and civil society.
In his final part of the speech, Dr. Yacob listed the activities of Andinet party in the past year. He mentioned the hard work that went into getting Andinet out of the negative impacts of the division within Kinijit, the effort needed to get a new legal standing and form a new leadership for the party. With the legal status and establishing/reviving the party achieved, Andinet is now fully engaged in organizing the people’s struggle for democracy and national unity. In this regard, he elaborated the on-going effort by the party to have presence in most regions of the country by opening offices and forming local leadership committees and branch organizations. He also elaborated on a series of activities that are planned for this year in the form of public meeting, rallies and civic education.
Regarding short term political strategy, he elaborated on the preparation of the party to get in to a worth-while free election and useful alliance systems. In the election front, while the party is preparing the ground work, it has not yet evaluated the conditions for participation in the 2010 election. He stressed the prevalence of conditions for free and fair election in the country is a guiding principle for election participation. In the area of alliance formation, he described Andinet’s on-going preliminary efforts on this sphere particularly with the newly formed Medrek group. However, the party has not yet found time to discuss this issue to take a formal position. This will be one of the important issues the party will have to decide on soon.
The audience followed-up his presentation with a number of pertinent and some times very difficult questions. Extensive discussion were held in response to questions such as the terms of agreement between Kinijit leaders and the government of Meles during the release of Kinijit leaders, the status of still detained Kinijit members and supporters in different parts of the country, and the feasibility of peacefully struggle against a government like that of Meles.
The discussion and exchange of views were continued informally at a dinner session at the Kereje Ethiopian restaurant. With the stamina and breadth of intellect shown by Dr. Yacob through this afternoon-to-evening long discussion in Dallas, it is not hard to see the prominent contribution Andinet party will have for the eventual triumph of the struggle for democracy in Ethiopia.
November 17, 2008