Mrs Sophia Yelma, Deputy Leader of EDP in Britain, as a Guest of Liberal Democrat Party
EDP’s liberal manifesto, which the Coalition for Unity and Democracy(CUD) or KINIJIT in Amharic, fully adopted in 2005 and also the manifesto in 2010 election, as well as the widely applauded TV debate, are notable contributions for Liberalism in Ethiopia. EDP continues to espouse peaceful, principled and stable political culture.
EDP’s growing international association with liberalism in Africa and Europe is another evidence that shows the strength of EDP as the leading liberal party in Ethiopia. In particular, its association with liberals in United Kingdom has made EDP a pioneer in Ethiopian opposition politics.
Liberals In UK
The United Kingdom is widely recognised as the birth place of modern Liberalism. The father of Liberalism, William Gladstone, is widely ranked by British historians and political scientists, as one of the pre-eminent and respected prime minsters of the nation. The first Liberal government in the UK was formed on December 1868, eight months after the Battle of Magdela, where Ethiopian national Hero and Father of Modern Ethiopia, Emperor Thedros fell. [The prime Minster who ordered Britain into war against Ethiopia in 1867, was the conservative Benjamin Disraeli, who lost election six month after Magdela].
The current Leader of the Liberal Democrats, the Right Honourable Mr Nick Clegg is the deputy Prime Minster of UK.[The Conservative leader, Mr David Cameron is the Prime Minster of UK]. Many members of the Liberal Democrats party hold positions in the current UK coalition cabinet government. These include Secretary of state for Business, Dr Vince Cable, and The Chief secretary to the treasury Danny Alexander.
EDP Individual freedom and Liberalism In Ethiopia
EDP’s pioneering work in forming Liberal alliance internationally is expected to strengthen and build liberalism as a formidable alternative in Ethiopia, to left wing revolutionary ideology, which has created political dictatorships’, weakened Ethiopian national integrity and caused economic ruin over the last 35years.
Mrs Sophia held a number of meeting and group discussions with members of Liberal party. Among the officials she met were Deputy Prime Minster of UK, Right Honourable Nick Clegg, Dr Vince Cable secretary of state for Business, Tim Farron President of Liberal Democrats, Baroness Shirley William former leader of the house of Lords, UK upper house and finally Lord Wallace spokes person for Foreign & Commonwealth office.
Mrs Sophia also met officials with special interest on Ethiopia. These included Lord William Wallace, spokes person for Foreign and Common Wealth office of Britain and the powerful Chairman of International Development select committee of the house of commons (British Parliament), the Right Honourable Malcolm Bruce. Mr Bruce has made numerous visits to Ethiopia and is one of the best informed officials in UK on issues related to Ethiopia.
It was a year ago in March 2011 that the United Kingdom government announced that Ethiopia will be the number one recipient of aid from the UK. The UK announced then that Ethiopia will receive $2Billion of aid in the next four years.
It is great credit to EDP leadership that it has successfully opened a channel with aid donor like the UK, to express positive and negative aspects of EPRDF policy in Ethiopia, especially policies funded through aid and their impact on individuals and civil society.
In a question raised by EDP delegation, on the role of Aid to Ethiopia, Mr Malcolm Bruce called on the Ethiopian government to show restraint and refrain from abusing its power and political monopoly. He also called on the Ethiopian opposition to engage in constructive dialogue and present mature alternative policies to the Ethiopian people.
EDP delegate acknowledge the wisdom of consensus politics, for alleviation of poverty in our nation but expressed its concern on the destructive political culture, inherited from left wing ideologues of the past stifling political debate in Ethiopia. In addition, EDP stated that poverty in Ethiopia is not only due to nature but also high stake, zero sum game of political dialogues as well as its malevolent grip on poor administration and absence of accountability.
Ethiopians might be victims of nature and failing rains, once in every eight or twelve years but the greatest cause has been the daily misrule, maladministration and ideological dogma of a succession of regimes. In particularly failure of regimes to rise to the challenge, facing the people of Ethiopia. Political expediency has replaced the goal of serving the Ethiopian people interest.
Instead of finding practical and pragmatic solutions to their problems, Ethiopians continue to be chained to ideological iron rule and dogmatic straitjacket which had cost millions of lives and suffering in the past and continues to do so today. “Developmental state” and “revolutionary democracy” are the latest incarnations of overbearing and ideologically driven regime, Ethiopians have lived in the last 35years.
EDP, based on its liberal principle, continues to call for the rule of law , accountability, governance, economic and political freedom of every individual Ethiopian to be instituted and respected.
EDP strongly believes that poverty and underdevelopment in Ethiopia can only be tackled, on the bases of the free and consensual participation of every Ethiopian. National development plan without the freewill, participation of every Ethiopian is doomed to fail. A free Ethiopian is the precondition for economic development.