The first sentence, like Ato Meles Zenawi, dismisses the political opposition as irrelevant to today’s Ethiopia. Dr. Fekadu sees the role of the opposition as one of rectifying “…the present economic and social chaos and build the economy on the basis of science and technology ”. In all other sentences in the paragraph, except the last, he goes on making gross generalizations about the opposition and the student movement of the 1960s and 1970s, thereby defining the opposition more like Mathza again; he says all have reportedly feudal structures and feudal perceptions; all lack a philosophy; they simply want to grab power, and all have failed to organize the youth, etc…. These generalizations often come from EPRDF’s worried leadership !
The concluding statement then miraculously follows as: “All in all the present opposition forces have no any organizational structures which could legitimate them to seize political power.”
There are contradictions in this paragraph: (1) The author admits there is political opposition, as implied in the sub-heading: “The Problem of the Opposition”, but the first sentence dismisses the political opposition as not being genuine, what ever that means. (2) He does not accept that any opposition party has any organizational structure, and, yet, higher up, the author had admitted, albeit falsely, that they had feudal structures, (3) the author appears to believe that a political opposition is a legitimate candidate for political power so long as it has an organizational structure, and by saying so, Dr. Bekele appears to miss the central mission of a political party that a political opposition that he admits to exist, exists for the sole purpose of competing for political power, so that its candidacy for political power does not emanate from its party structure, though that may affect its performance, and (4) the concluding/summarizing statement has very little to do with the enumerated shortcomings of the opposition in earlier statements.
It seems to me that Dr. Fekadu speaks almost the same language as Mathza and leading political cadres of EPRDF I hope that this essay is not a forerunner of those targeted to belittle the opposition before the 2005 elections. The essay is neither factual nor relevant to today’s Ethiopia which has several political parties in the opposition capable of not only handsomely winning the elections in 2005, if the electoral law and National Election Board are independent of EPRDF, but also well-prepared to propel our Motherland into the 21st century.
Dr. Fekadu should know that there is a saying in Ethiopia: “kemetemtem, memar; kememar memeramer.”. I wish he had honestly applied himself to study the political opposition in Ethiopia: their programs, party constitutions, policy papers, Newspapers and newsletters, and the extent of their following throughout the country. If he had done that, then the confusion and contradiction about the political opposition at home would not have existed unless his was a case of “awko yetegnan bikesekisut aysemam”.
Let me refer Dr. Fekadu to AEUP’s website at www.aeup.org, as a good example where you can find a non-feudal political program, well-structured policy papers, and a Newsletter which is used to update all those interested in the dangerous and highly costly struggle to democratise Ethiopia and prepare for the national elections in 2005. Believe me, AEUP’s political philosophy, as I see it, is correct and clear; its determination to ensure full respect for human rights for all Ethiopians is also crystal clear; its vision of a strong, sovereign, peaceful and Federal Democratic Ethiopia where all regions have full local ownership of local government is also unmistakably clear; its vision for a technologically-driven future to drive out backwardness, poverty and famine is unquestionable. All these are clearly stated in www.aeup.org, and I would hope Dr. Fekadu would have patience for the implementation after the national elections in 2005, if he is, indeed, genuinely concerned about Ethiopia.
If Dr. Fekadu finds anything feudal in the political program or in the policy papers, as a member of AEUP, I will be one of those to advocate its immediate removal, but I know there are none. As for AEUP’s constitution, it may be a surprise to Dr. Fekadu that no one, including the Party President, has a power monopoly; the President chairs the party’s policy and executive committees and implements their decisions, but no more, and that is far from feudal.
Wholesale and unfair condemnation is not only unwarranted at this time when the opposition needs to pool together, as done in Kenya in December 2002 and in India last month, but it may also harm our common cause, and that is the sort of design harboured only by EPRDF and its satellites. What we need today is UNITY for the single purpose of winning the national elections in 2005; any anti-opposition stance at this time can originate either from people who have little or no foresight or national commitment, or from people who are totally ignorant of the strength of the opposition and the great sacrifices being paid by the opposition at this time, or by EPRDF itself which is increasingly worried by the prospect of losing power to the opposition, and it sure will if the elections are free and fair.
I fully concur with the neo-feudal character of the TPLF/EPRDF regime, and its divide-and rule agenda which has successfully fooled the elite over the last 13 years, as illustrated by the abundance of opposition political parties ( At least 10 in America alone !) at home and abroad. However, let me assure you that Ethiopian farmers in Afar, Arssi, Assosa, Bale, Gamu Gofa, Gonder, Harerge, Illubabor, Keffa, Kembata and Timabro, Metekel , Shoa, Sidama, Tigre,, Welayta, Wellega, and Wollow have now completely rejected the divide-and-rule policy of TPLF/EPRDF and abandoned it to its traditional worshippers, the elite.
Today, I am delighted to tell you that Ethiopia has a very strong opposition political party which has deep roots and popular following in all the regions and districts enumerated above, under a democratically decentralized leadership that serves a total party membership of close to 500,000 registered members throughout our Motherland.
If you do not want to believe it, then do so, just like the leaders of TPLF/EPRDF which, of course, know the facts on the ground much better but still do not want to admit the truth in public. Having said this, UNITY is still a must to win the day handsomely in the 2005 elections, and, towards this end, there is an urgent need to democratise and then strengthen UEDF very urgently. Can the elite do that before it is too late ?
Lastly, let me remind Dr. Fekadu that it is no use invoking stuff from the 1960s and 1970s, or even from learned men from other lands. There was plenty of leftist material from all leftist sources on Earth in the 1960s and 1970s, but that was used to spread confusion, effect self-destruction, and subsequently, assist in the dismemberment of Ethiopia and in the misguided rule we have had since 1974. None of our elite ever bothered to know about Ethiopia and its people as much as the break-neck and misguided competition to sound learned in works by Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, etc…., and that foolish competition helped only in ushering dictatorship, death, famine and backwardness to Ethiopia!
Our problem is an Ethiopian problem, and no amount of quotation or citation from other lands can bring a solution. The solution will come only when we are all united, love our country, love our people and decide in our hearts to build a democratic and prosperous Ethiopia which will look after all its citizens by ensuring their freedom, equality, and fraternity, as the French put it nicely long ago.
Let us unite and remove “Ethiopia = Famine” expeditiously, but not later than 2005. We cannot afford to continue to live in shame : 250, 000 famine victims in 1973, 14,300,000 famine victims in 2002, and at least 5,000,000 today ! Are you not ashamed to be a party to such a crime against your own people by remaining disunited or indifferent when there is a common cause that you can effectively advance today ? Let us unite, and we shall win for sure in 2005, as our forefathers did in Kufit, Dogali, Gura, Gundet, Adwa, and in several other battlefields. However, this time we are called upon to wage a peaceful war in an election battlefield. Don’t give up !
Long Live Ethiopia!
Long Live the Ethiopian People!
God bless you all!