Mrs Sophia Yelma, Deputy Leader of EDP in Britain, as a Guest of Liberal Democrat Party

March 19, 2012

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

Mrs Sophia Yilma and Africal Liberal Memebrs

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.

Mrs Sophia meeting Deputy Prime Minster of UK Nick Clegg

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.


11 comments on “Mrs Sophia Yelma, Deputy Leader of EDP in Britain, as a Guest of Liberal Democrat Party

  1. It is refreshing to read EDP move forward to ward Liberal democracy which in my view is the only form of democracy that protects individual rights including human and community rights under the rule of law. Revolutionary democracy is the dead end practiced in Ethiopia since 1974 decline of Ethiopian society and economy and still continues. It is time to gather thinking Ethiopians committed to free themselves from continued misrule and repression. I am glad it is led by Mrs Sophia Yilma and her colleagues including former leader Ato Lidetu and current leader Ato Mushe. The fact that Lidetu stepped down shows a democratic trend of transition of power. Mrs Sophia is daughter of the late Ato Yilma Deressa a brilliant moderate leader of Ethiopia during the rule of the late Emperor Haile Selassie. His son Ato Dereje Deressa was a fighter for freedom and the only liberal thinking politician among primarily leftist and tribal revolutionaries that destroyed Ethiopia after 1974. The fact that UK is supporting EDP is a positive for the future of democracy. As the party of the future generation it is clear alternative from the current government with a high political risk and moving toward implosion due to failure to govern and manage conflict both internally and externally democratically. Conflict cannot be managed or transformed by repression as Colonel Mengistu did and collapsed under his own weight. EPRDF has move Ethiopia backward compared to progressive African states such as Botswana, Ghana, and Tanzania etc by divide and rule strategy and assembling politics on tribal basis. My humble suggestion for EDP to move forward to build coalition with other pan-Ethiopian parties such as UDJ led by Bertukan Mideksa and her colleagues as well as other emerging political and civic society organizations that are emerging and rescue the great people of Ethiopia from further balkanization and repression. EDP must also have a huge of presence in the USA and North American Diaspora to broaden its influence and provide a clear development policy choices for Ethiopia along liberal democratic lines in the world civilized democracies.

    Sisay Asefa, PhD,

  2. It would be great if Ethiopia has genuine political parties who stand for justuce.However this psudo liberal party led by Lidetu Kehedetu/Betrayal can never represent any true Ethopian democratic sosierty.Lidetu and his gangs are puppetes of the ruling anti democratic,preprdetor and anti Free press regime.

  3. You mentioned about CUD endorsing and using EDP’s manifesto. Actually, CUD without EDP was like bone without flesh. Berehanu Nega and friends were left only with the bone when they hijacked CUD.

    I am happy that EDP over came the uphill of the negative campaign by the children of Joseph Stalin and
    Started once again to be considered as the hope of Ethiopans . Well done.

  4. Degon- You are wrong on many levels. First it has now been more than seven years since Kinijit.Politics have changed and changes every week month.You are still stuck in 1997 Kinijit. Second how long are you going to keep up your hatered against one Ethiopian whose name is Lidetu. In casae you donot know Lidetu is not EDP leader anymore.
    TPLF is very lucky that people like you pretend they oppose it. You are weak, out of date and obssesed with one person like Lidetu . You will never learn and move on from Kinijit 1997. TPLF benefit when you are stuck 7years behind and ignore the politics of today.

  5. Over the years, Mrs. Sophia has exhibited such an amazing strength of character. I have seen some other people whom I respect and admire have changed. They have changed not because they have sided with the truth; on the contrary they have sided with fabrication and lies, and they gave blind eye to EDP, and in particular to its former leader Ato Lidetu. With the help of the good God, to any one’s surprise, Ato Lidutu left office after he picked himself up and the party from the ashes. We all have seen that in the last election how peopel in Ethiopia were interested in supporting EDP and its cause.
    As to Ato Dragone comment, you should be ashamed of yourself for barking without verifying your fact. If Ato Lidetu is “Kihdetu”, the former defense minister Ato Siye would have shown you the evidence to support Ato Lidetu is indeed “kihdetu.” I mention Ato Siye’s name because he was by far the most insider individual to TPLF than anybody else. I would argue even today if Ato Seye wants any classified information from the meles regime, he would have get it in no time. So, Mr. Dragon, Ato Lidetu is simply a victim of character asassination, and sadly it worked. They throw a mud hoping that it would stick, and it did, where ever it found a mud. They have secceded their objective as long as there are people like you who can accept there lies and run with it to contaminate others. Mr. Degon, don’t be a foul. We all are a foul at one time or another in our life, but to remain being a foul is simply insanity. Snap out of it, my friend.
    Back to my original point, it is not surprising that Mrs. Sophia is what she is. Like father like daughter. Based on my recollection from the story I have heard, Mrs. Sophia’s dad Ato Yilma Deressa had served his country with at most dignity and excellence. What Ethiopia needs more than ever is people like Mrs. Sophia who are integrity driven. All alonge she was able to calm in the storm. That is what character of leadership is all about.

  6. I am realy happy and proud Mrs Sophia able to express political movement in Ethiopia however she faild to expline how woyane harssing and tortuering young divoted leader Andualem Arage.

  7. You are Mengesha. We always should be free from any personal bias! You know Ethiopian politics is full of envy, hatred and personal attack!

  8. Mengesha, I write” you are Mengesha” to mean “you are right Mengesha”
    Thank you!

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