A political Space Serves the Country and the Authorities themselves | by Nagessa Oddo Dube

6 mins read

eprdf 2

Nagessa Oddo Dube
Nagessa Oddo Dube

On the call by Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) to talk with opposition:
*Personally, I am pessimistic about any negotiation with EPRDF. I was 10 when EPRDF came to power in 1991. I have heard lies and fabrications the whole 26 years they remained in power. They think they can fool the people all the time. They think might is power and it must always come from the barrel of the gun. So, in my opinion, this negotiation is part of fooling the people and moving on. I think it’s just another game for the Marxist-Leninist-Maoists.
That’s being my personal belief, let me assume other scenarios and give my advice:
Whereas, EPRDF jails its opponents and dissidents, controls the press, and takes away everyone’s civil liberties, weakening the opposition as much as possible;
Whereas, it controls the judiciary and civic society including religious institutions;
Whereas, it uses the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation to charge all dissenting personalities;
Whereas, the proclamation is so broad that it enables anyone to be accused of terrorism.( For example, anyone who “causes serious damage to property” while attempting to advance a political cause is considered to be a terrorist);
Whereas, it restricts the right to freedom of expression in accusing journalists who write any criticism against the government of encouraging terrorism;
Whereas, it commits severe torture and arbitrary detention and detainees are not brought before the court for months, rather are often held in military camps which are not recognized as acceptable detention facilities by the Ethiopian legal system;
Whereas, more than 50,000 journalists, bloggers, students, opposition party leaders and members and others are in jail for exercising freedom of expression,
Whereas, the communist TPLF, led by the Maoist ideals, thinks these actions make it strong and ensures its grip on power;
It must recognize the following:
Those acts can keep it in power for the time being but will not keep it in power for long.
Allow me to quote the famous words of Bob Marley::
“You can fool some people sometimes
But you can’t fool all the people all the time”
It would be dangerous for the authorities if a popular uprising were to begin. If there is organized opposition and established institutions, they can lead the masses and minimize the destruction to the nation and the authorities. Mubarak/Egypt can be an example. Though he extremely weakened the opposition, Egypt had better civic, religious, and judicial institutions. That is why Mubarek was not killed as Gaddafi. He was brought to court. That was why Egypt was not torn down like Libya. It at least survived, though it was made instable due to different internal and external interests. Although both Egypt and Libya were authoritarian systems, their fates were different.
Considering this, my advice to EPRDF is to remember that when you weaken opposition, you are creating masses of people who do not have anyone to listen to. The Ethiopian people today have no trust in courts or the judiciary because you corrupted it. They have no civic organizations to rely on because you destroyed them. They have no military or defensive force they feel serve their best interests or can be relied upon. The more you kill and detain liberal and non-violent people, you encourage violence. During all these years your party has had power, you have repeatedly sought out and created violence believing you can be perpetually in control via military might. But there are no “eternal winners” in this world. When Rome ruled, it was glorious for a time, then it was defeated. Greece was glorious, then was defeated. The Byzantine Empire and many others followed the same course.
Your current path is a very dangerous one. EPRDF, You are like a suicide bomber! If people seek to kill you like Libyans did to Gaddafi, there will be no one who can protect you even for the purpose of bringing you to justice.
Please do the right thing now! Not for the sake of opposition, not even for the sake of the Ethiopian people, just for the sake of your own future, for the sake of the future of your children, and for the sake of the future of the tribe you came from, if you really care for them.
I don’t think you want to see the “States of Nature” the 17th century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes described as; war of all against all, where there is neither personal property nor injustice since there is no law. I don’t think you want to see another Somalia in East Africa…
Finally, please, for your own sake, be serious! የመጨረሻ ዕድላቹን ተጠቀሙ:: By all means negotiate with opposition leaders, provided you make real negotiations, not fake ones like you have done in the past; that is the only remaining option that can save both you and the country. ልቦና ይስጣችሁ::