By Robele Ababya
Ethiopia on the threshold of new era of democracy
Ethiopia is on the threshold of ushering in a new era of lasting democratic dispensation and building a compassionate and tolerant multi-cultural society under the supremacy of law. Political activists, civil society organizations and the people yearning for real change are looking for the day of the demise of the TPLF/EPRDF brutal regime and the establishment of a transitional arrangement leading to a democratically elected government for the first time creating and enduring culture of transferring power through the ballot box. Unless and until the change of regime occurs it would be impossible to tackle divisive issues related to violation of human rights, atrocious moral decay within the country, and building of the GERD – which requires national consensus.
The greatest demonstration in Egypt unprecedented in the history of the world succeeded in deposing the ex-President Mr. Mohamed Morsi thus dealing a heavy blow to his religious Moslem Brotherhood Party, which connived with him to highjack the Egyptian revolution in their favor. Morsi was therefore dethroned by unprecedented massive demand of the people – not by a military coup. The Egyptian Army merely stood with and fulfilled the will of the people thereby making history from which the Ethiopian defenses forces and African tyrants should learn. It is very strange indeed that the African Union suspended membership of Egypt this time forgetting it did not do so when Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in 2011.
The emerging democracy in Egypt coupled with the birth of similar democracy in Ethiopia will culminate in a strong regional power relationship conducive to peace, good governance, stability and prosperity.
The exploitation of racial issues by opportunist Oromo elites is all but dead. The overwhelming inter-married Ethiopians of today bound by blood as children of ETHIOP will bury divisive ethnicity and forge ahead with the noble task of building a democratic Ethiopia equal for all under the rule of law made and approved by the people.
Lo and behold! Democracy is knocking at the door steps of Ethiopians at home and in the Diaspora waiting to enter. It is now time to usher it in with the revolutionary songs: Abet, Taitu, Tenesa Teramed, Lanchi newe Ethiopia et al.
Transitional arrangement; Multilateral power politics
Are the opposition entities, civic organizations, and the Ethiopian people ready for the transitional arrangement leading to full-fledged democracy? How are they lined up? What would be the likely outcome of the line up? To answer these questions readers are invited to first of all examine the following array of entities braced to intensify action to oppose the repressive ruling party bent on to stay in power at any cost:-
A. UDJP, Blue Party, AEUP, all other national political parties, MEDREK, SMNE, EPRP-D, Medhin, ENTC, SHENGO (The Ethiopian People’s Congress for United Struggle), GASHA, ENYM (Ethiopian National Youth Movement)
B. G7, G7 popular force; ALEJE (Alliance for Liberty Equality, and Justice in TPDM, Ethiopia), EPPF, EUFF, EPRP, OLF-new (led by General K. Gelchu)
C. ONLF, OLF, ODF, ANLF, ALF
D. TPLF/EPRDF party and its fabricated breeds
Each of the four groups is likely to engage its other three rivals in three modes: confrontational, cooperative or collaborative. Moreover there will be internal struggle within each group not to mention infiltration by cadres of the ruling regime. Therefore the quality of members and strict discipline will determine the success of a group.
In the above figure the letters A, B, C, D denote: pro-Ethiopian unity national democratic entities embracing peaceful method of struggle short of pulling the trigger; pro-Ethiopian unity democratic movements with all-inclusive method of struggle; liberation movements with secessionist agenda; and the destructive TPLF/EPRDF party and its fabricated affiliates in that order. The stance of each group on the unity of Ethiopia is an overriding factor in ranking its favorability to the people of Ethiopia in the political process. Here below is my view of what will transpire in the process.
Groups A and B have identical and unequivocal stand on the unity of Ethiopia with a reconcilable difference in their method of struggle, the latter reserving its right to all-inclusive, which the former also will be forced to embrace in self-defense in response to armed attack by the repressive ruling party. They have both significant contributions in weakening the TPLF/EPRDF regime
In group C: (i) the ODF will probably merge with either group A or B in time for one of its senior members Mr. Lencho Bati had publicly stated work is in progress to change the acronym ODF to EDF, Ethiopian Democratic Front; (ii) I believe that the interests of the Afar National Liberation Front (ANLF) and Afar Liberation Front (AFL) will be better served by not ceding from a democratic Ethiopia; the ONLF leaders should realize that Ethiopians have shed their blood fighting Fascist Italy in the Ogaden and have therefore the right to demand that the Front should drop its secession scheme if any; (iii) the OLF-old under Daoud Ibssa is all but dead since it carries the stigma of OLF stripped naked of its weapons and its leaders disgracefully sent into exile by the TPLF warlords and giving empty promise of emancipating the Oromo people for the last 22 years.
The TPLF/EPRDF party together with its fabricated breeds in group D is the main targets of groups A, B, C and as such will be crushed by the impending massive popular wrath and corruption and heinous crimes, imploding the powerhouse of the TPLF built on sand. However it is reasonable to expect migration of junior members in group D to either A or B. It will make sense to accept them on merit after a careful background check.
Finally groups A, B, and C will contest for power, but group C can hardly wield sufficient popular support to engage the might of either group A or B. It stands to reason that three political parties may emerge from A and B; this would be a good omen for ushering in a democratic Ethiopia.
Formidable challenges for the opposition & the Ethiopian people
The following are but some of the most critical inputs to the foreign and domestic policy formulation that will have to be undertaken during and after transitional government
- Ethiopian waters and fertile land are the most precious natural resources our nation has got; our rivers and fertile land suitable for agriculture are priceless jewels more than diamond; mighty weapons to deter aggression against traditional enemies; irreplaceable sources for growing food in abundance and sell the surplus to the Middle East thus becoming the food basket of that region. It goes without saying that the management of these natural resources requires national consensus based on scientific studies taking into consideration the right of regions (Kilils) to tame their rivers tributary to the Blue Nile and build dams for irrigation and electric power generation.
- Immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners in Ethiopia; respect for Universal declaration on human rights; amendment to the present constitution of the TPLF/EPRDF, Article 39 in particular.
- Rampant youth unemployment: This an explosive issue not only for Ethiopia but several countries in the world.
- Private property including land: This is a reliable and effective engine for economic growth and national security because people will have vested interest to defend what they own.
- Secular state: Separation of politics from religion is a fundamental principle; the former is an earthly matter which concerns all Ethiopians and the latter is in the heavenly domain exclusive to spiritual choice of the individual.
- Expenditure on security and defense has up to the present proved an intolerable hemorrhage on natural resources; several internal battles had been fought in the last 72 years after victory over Fascist Italy with the help of the British army. The war of aggression by Somalia was won with the help of Cuba and the defunct USSR. But the civil war with Shaebia and its surrogate TPLF assisted by the Arab reactionaries has been lost, leaving Ethiopia a landlocked country. Moreover a large chunk of fertile land has been ceded to the Sudan and Ethiopia’s right over the Nile water was betrayed by the secret agreement of the 1993 Nile Accord signed between tyrant Meles Zenawi and dictator Hosni Mubarak. The failure to put in place an independent national security and defense establishment begs for extensive surgical analysis.
- The GERD if built at its present site without reducing its size would be prone to attack which the TPLF warlords would use as justification to purchase from Russia advanced military equipment. It would be a waste of money to enrich the Russians and get kickback for the corrupt TPLF warlords. Imagine how much money was spent building the Ethiopian army in the last several decades; the humiliating result is that Ethiopia is now a landlocked country.
- Egypt gets more than its share of the Blue Nile water. I am informed by a reliable water resources Ethiopian senior engineer, who was holding a high position in the Ethiopian Water Resource Authority during the Derg regime that building the GERD is to the advantage of the Sudan and Egypt. He cited as an example that for cleaning alluvial soil Sudan used to pay 210 million US dollars per annum to Ethiopia and this would be lost because only clean water would flow to through the RD. In other wards Sudan and Egypt would no longer need alluvial soil from Ethiopia. The same reputed engineer told me that there was a plan to divert some Blue Nile tributaries in Shoa to the Awash River to increase its volume. It was a very sensible plan. So even the brutal Derg regime had to its credit asserted Ethiopia’s sovereignty over the Blue Nile. The future democratic government of Ethiopia would do no less in asserting the veto power of Ethiopia in any multilateral forum regarding the development of the Nile Basin to which our country contributes 85% of the water.
I close this piece with my daily mantra, which is: Demand the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience including Andualem Aragie, Eskinder Nega, Bekele Gerba, Reeyot Alemu, Leaders of the Ethiopian Muslims et al!
LONG LIVE ETHIOPIA!!!