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What is Next?

February 26, 2008

On the other hand, the TPLF-led government is not only strengthening its grip but also working hard to make it very difficult for the opposition forces to get any ground. Some of the recent enacted laws, like the one making political parties to question their supporters who drop 10 birr in to collection box whether they are Ethiopian, had connection with terrorist group or earned the money through disreputable means are reminders of this sad state.

As a show of power, the TPLF-led government had registered 1 out of 4 eligible adults as a candidate for local and Federal bye-election. If we take 2 adults in a family, then one can say almost every other home in the country would be part of the establishment and the power structure. This thing wasn’t heard of anywhere in the world; I have not heard it before at least. So, would this plan make the public respectful of the law of the authorities by becoming part of 1 among the 4 million army of decision-makers or turn into the worst chaos to manage or control?

It seems to me that everyone appears to be lost and have no clue what to do? What to do next is beyond any politicians’ capacity in the land at the moment. So some have proposed to all of us to sit on top of a hill to meditate or nod off.

Even those who inundated the media as pseudo-political analysts to write 10 pages a day after the May/05 election have run out of ink, papers and definitely idea. Most of them have already returned back to their routine life by making excuses and blaming others. Since a victory parade is not in sight, the chanting followers and cheer leaders too have to find something to do with their own life. No doubt the analysts and the cheer leaders would once again crush the gate as the opportunity arises but till then they will be silent.

Rather than solving the Ethiopian problem, the May 05 election has revealed the complexity of the Ethiopian political problem. We all have thought that the problem is the TPLF-led government but what has transpired after the election is the public as well as the opposition forces are part of the problem. All need to be reminded to abandon the old way of doing things to adopt a fresh strategy.

A future strategy that does not take cultural problems in the society and inherent undemocratic culture of the opposition parties in to the equation is doomed to fail. The public as well as the oppositions have to be the new frontier of the democratic struggle.

The lesson of the May 05 election is that democratic change cannot and will not come only from change of personalities in the power house. It starts with individuals changing their mode of thinking to accept that democracy is nothing but accepting others right to have opposing views.

This is what I have for today…..you may have your say.

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2 comments on “What is Next?

  1. Selam solmon,
    Your article is a good example of frustration and inherent misunderstanding of politics as a sport that only defines the winner as powerful and thus RIGHT. There is another way looking at it- YOU CAN WIN THE BATTLE BUT LOOSE THE WAR.
    In your piece you picked on the oppostion and the Ethiopian culture as impidement to political victory. You cited the last 40 yrs as an example of the oppostions “tearing each other apart”. It is not all true and all incorrect. For a country and tradition long endured (thousnd years of history as a polity)under moanrchial and authoritarian rule, 40 years of organized political contest even in the best of circumstance is a footnote in history.
    It took 200 hundred years for African-Americans to be considerd as full citzens even when the US constitution declared-All Men are created equal..
    ANC,(The African National Congress) in South Africa was founded in 1912. Nelson Mandela and his young comardes joined ANC in 1942. You Know the rest of the story, how long the anti-aprthied struggle has taken to defeat the system.
    My point here is to argue that,Woyane/TPLF is politicaly defeated and become a pariah state that only survives by brute force. It has become a parasitical state which only survives by the weakneses of its adversries and opponents. It is very different to compare the oppostion and the ruling junta(Woyane) in the same catagory. For Woyane MIGHT IS RIGHT. FOR THE GENUINE OPPOSTION IT IS TO BE RIGHT THEIR POILITCAL MIGHT.
    History and experience attest to this fact that the political squabble we are witnessing today is a postive sign with out these groups firing one shot(violence at each other).They all have one thing in common at the present time: they are the target of the state(woyane) Terroism>.
    Any way I enjoyed your article, eventhough I disagreed with your conclusions.

  2. Dear Gemechu,

    Thank you for taking time reading and commenting the article- entitled “what is next?” The article is more of a question that a preaching or prescription to our problems. As I made it clear, I do not have a solution so as the opposition political parties. If they had one I believe they would have gone to preach the virtues of their strategy so that we can follow them.

    That is why I said the Ethiopian opposition political struggle is at rock bottom. May be, as you said some people have to struggle for 80 or 200 years to achieve equality. In fact the struggle for some like Jewish has taken 2000 years. I have no problem with that and at the same time I also recognise some other countries have achieved a spectacular democratic and prosperous country in less than half a century. We should not forget 60 years ago probably half of the world was under colonial rule with no indigenous state structure and experience. But in the last 60 years many democratic and powerful nation has been created from scratch.

    On the contrary, Ethiopia has a better political system, justice, parliamentary elections, constitutions and recognition as an inspiring state for all African brothers. Comparing Ethiopia with unfortunate state that American and South African brothers found themselves is very misleading and very insensitive for their suffering. So we were miles ahead of the pack to create a secular and a parliamentary democracy than we find ourselves today. The question we need to ask is, whether we have destroyed this competitive advantage through our irresponsible cannibalism in the last 40 years?

    Is the last 40 years “struggle” a step forward to bring about a democratic society or a backward march in to the past? “. For me, the last 40 years struggle is somehow a march to Zemene- Mesafint. In no way it is compared with African American’s and South Africans struggle to freedom. We had no one to control us except we chose to follow a destructive political strategy. That is why the last 40 years would be considered as a shameful episode of the Ethiopian politics. Comparing our self imposed mutilation and destruction with that of the rest South Africans is out of order.

    That is why we need to ask ourselves the difficult questions like, what is wrong with us? Having said that, than you for your feedback and I share your frustration.

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