Election and Opposition Parties; Same Old Story

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Yared Berhanu
As sunflowers blossom at summer time, opposition parties start to raise their voice when election time is around the corner. Their objective is not to strengthen the election’s democratic process. It has more to do with their anti-democratic plot to spread bogus accusation and create diversion or smokescreen. With the coming election in mind, copy–paste rumors like ‘EPRDF’s feeling threatened’, ‘the prepared strategy to thump opposition parties’, ‘Giving away the country’s land’ etc … are flowing feverishly.
Although it’s impossible to deny the truth behind these (unfounded) rumors, the effort to bury the truth by the opposition camp has reached to new heights.
However, by citing the former American president Abraham Lincoln’s famous quote, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”. Let me take you to what inspired me to write this Article, ‘Fact’ Magazine’s February 2006, issue 33 publication’s editorial.
An article by the title of ‘why saddle on the back of the opposition?” under the magazine’s column (‘current politics’/someonegna politika) took my attention. And it didn’t take me long to know the identity of the writer. It was ‘Andinet’ party’s public organizer Ato Daniel Tefera, who recently has been shown the red card for his extremist view by their mother-ship party ‘Medrek’.
His effort to hide his identity in this article has made me realize the content of the article itself. So, I decided to share with what I have stumbled upon    .
Ato Daniel’s article in the introduction part states that election talks, internal strife and plot are starting to heat up. He goes on to say “with regards to us (he didn’t clearly specify who are meant by ‘us’) we hear may rumors, especially when the time to election comes closer”, trying to distance himself from the election-time fiascos.
He did not finish with this. He also tried to tell us that the main reason why these rumors are spreading when election comes to the corner has to do with the fact that our country’s politics is runned by a few people from behind the curtain, although he didn’t clearly specify who these people are. Again distancing himself and appearing as holy.
Here, although I don’t understand why he failed to specify the person or group that’s concerned with it and choose to go with vague assertations, I may share this sentiment. This is because the voice we are hearing from him, including his party, confirms this fact.
As it’s known, our country’s opposition bogus-rumor-spreading-trumpet starts to be blown either when election time is closer or after election results are officialized. Stories like we were not allowed to move freely; our members are jailed, beaten and killed etc … are made to be voiced on the eve of the election. This kind of ‘the end justifies the means’ type of ideology is adhered by Ato Daniel and his likes.
Recently; just like it was on the eve of election ’97 and’ 2002, Ato Daniel’s parties and their likes has been claiming a baseless story “the ruling party has given away Ethiopian land to the Sudan”, with an aim of laying the groundwork to subvert election 2007; which can itself be an evidence to the point I’ve raised earlier.
This also goes out to show the fact that these magazines, (like ‘fact’); who are known for their emotion-ridden (fact-laden) reporting, and our country’s opposition parties are being used as political business.
So, with this in mind, Ato Daniel’s effort to drag his party’s and its kin parties’ action to peg upon the ruling party has failed. I say this because it was him, the ‘Andinet’ public organizer, which tried to twist the arms of newspapers and magazines, no one else.
Although it’s known that this kind of style is both foolish and not new, his effort to indoctrinate his outlook by appearing free of any party affiliation is not fooling anyone.
The ‘Andinet’ public organizer have claimed that he has heard from a credible source that EPRDF is about to start house–to–house campaign, and also the party has decided to give ‘Kebele’ and ‘Woreda’ bureaucrat salary increment starting from one thousand birr; citing the ruling party’s lose of self-belief with regards to open competition and campaign as the reason behind the decision.
Basically as I have tried to mention it earlier, this article is part of the man’s routine duty he has to carry out as the party organizer of the organization and nothing else. I don’t think EPRDF will lose faith in open campaign and competition. Looking at the party’s nature and its experience and successes, I think it safe to conclude the above assertion.
The ruling party has come to its position not by serving as lackey to foreign color revolutionaries from its offices, but by operating in the open and within the public. So, I think considering this very fact is different to what Ato Daniel is claiming to be; his effort to make his party’s fear as of the ruling party’s is not only wrong, but should also be amended.
For those politically feeble people who consider unfounded stories as a political “struggle”, like Ato Daniel has, they should understand it has accountability. Carrying on this path will also raise credibility issue.
The ‘Andinet’ man has also written that “EPRDF is not a trustworthy party”. Here he should understand one important thing. That is the question ‘who doesn’t trust EPRDF?’ If this sentiment is shared only by his party and their likes, as the term ‘delusional’ denotes, it could be true.
Other than this, the fact is so long as EPRDF; who is leading the (country’s) developmental and democratic order, is still around, coming to power with election isn’t considered because the opposition parties (and I’m sure it includes Ato Daniel too) knows that the public doesn’t trust them. What the public knows and sees about Ato Daniel’s ‘Andinet’ party, is a party where its leaders driven by their power-lust, shamelessly insult and bicker with each other publicly in front of the media.
The people don’t think this street-boxing and media-bound-“patriot” squad who can’t even properly administer itself is capable of leading the country. If Ato Daniel is trying to make EPRDF appear as if it is no trusted by the public, I have to raise one question considering the truth is like as what I have mentioned above. “Do the public give its vote for a party they trust or the party they don’t trust?’
It plainly obvious that a certain public gives its vote to a party or organization it trusts. If this was not the usual ‘we have been this and that’ rhetoric of the oppositions, even he can’t deny this fact. With regards to this, as we all know the EPRDF has been and still is administrating the country by winning the free election that’s being held in the country.
And its this party that has made the public beneficial from the country’s unprecedented economic development, that has been lauded even by the international community. This same feeble politician should be aware that if EPRDF was not a trustworthy party it wouldn’t have gained the public’s acceptance.
I think here it would be appropriate to repeat for him the Abraham Lincoln quote that I used at the beginning of the article: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”.
Thus, I think it would be behoove of Ato Daniel (notice how I am repeatedly calling him by his name because seeing as how he’s only after undertaking his party’s agenda, it has become difficult for me to call him a “writer”) to understand that he has given the answer to his own question of “why the need to saddle on the back of the opposition?’ This is because he and his runaway party have never had any agenda except for saddling on the back of the ruling party.
So, I’m saying he should ask his own question to himself ‘why the need to saddle on the back of EPRDF?’ All in all, this man (unless he’s after insulting the public) should know that the public has reached up to now by voting the party of its choosing, while at the same time discounting the ones that it didn’t feel would help its cause. Besides, it’s disgraceful to talk about a certain public like this. A disgrace of epic proportion.
It would be bee hove of him to know that he’s insulting the very people that would put him (his company) to power, in his attempt to accuse and condemn EPRDF by making it sound as if the Ethiopian public has for the last 22 years been duped as foolish herd. This is also the product of his own ‘I’m the only one who knows’ mentality.
However, considering parties like ‘Andinet’ only bow to foreign forces instead of their own people, we should not be surprised that they are doing what they’re doing. It’s in their innate nature (what else can they do).
Ato Daniel’s feeble politics does not stop with this. He wanders from one thought to the other without a cause, and just like his organization he doesn’t have a clear and concise policy. As it can be seen from his writing, he couldn’t even separate between private individual and organization. As far as ‘the power of stupidity’ goes, he went as far as linking a person (who have given all his life to the people and who tried to make poverty history) only to workings of EPRDF politics.
Ato Meles was not only the leader of EPRDF, but the country as a whole. I believe the reason Ato Meles was held dearly by the people has to do with his pro-people outlook, far-sighted mind, his vision, personality and his successes; and not for the fact he was EPRDF. I say this because I saw many who are not part of EPRDF crying at the time of his passing. So, when Ato Daniel was condemning the police and military personnel for hanging their leaders’ photo, it would have been profitable, if he told them whose photo to hang. May be he wanted them to hang the photos of his street fighters and insulting party leaders? ... if so, would he want them to be with their fighting sticks and the logo of the media they exclusively use to rant on?...
All in all, as any Ethiopian has the right to like the person of his choosing, our security forces has this same rights, only he knows the downside of this. Of course had our military and security forces held the EPRDF logo or burned Andinet’s logo, not only they should be condemned but should be put to be responsible by the law.
However, as these institutions are very well aware of their constitutional mission, we haven’t seen them doing any of those. Thus, I don’t think his sinister effort to make the institutions appear as if they are ‘not neutral’ (by citing they hang up Ato Meles’ photo), is that much different from violating private citizen’s right. The ‘Andinet’ man should also know that Ato Meles will sit in the hearts of every Ethiopian for always.
Hanging the photo of their leader is not a tradition that originated or is only done in our country. So, he would have been better off knowing, at least by watching films, that many countries’ governmental institution tend to hang the image of their leader. This kind of thorough research is to be expected of a civilized politician.
Ato Daniel has also tried to condemn, as a sin, the fact that EPRDF’s structure reaches into household. What he should know is this kind operation is a mark of strong political parties; it’s not a sign of fear (in his words) or a mark of a weak party. This is because there is no problem in laying a strong base within the public, instead of reuniting for riot and havoc every time election comes near.
As far as I can understand, any political party and organization will have a long–term and short–term strategy when they are organized. But I don’t think the ‘Andinet’ man knows this. This is why he said “EPRDF believes that it should stay in power for the next forty and fifty years.”
I would like to ask him, how many years did ‘Andinet’, the party, did plan to stay in power when it decided to enter into politics? If it doesn’t have long-term vision, then the party is there (established) to quench the power-thirst of a very few people. So, it is more a temporary mob than a full-fledging political party.
And if we consider Dr. Negasu Gidada, who led the party for two years, comment he gave at the time of his departure (from the party) “It’s hard for me to work with a party that is in odd with public right”; clearly expresses the party’s nature.
Thus, considering this it’s not surprising that ‘Andinet’, knowing fully that its hated by the public, is trying to saddle (peddle) on the back of EPRDF. So, who’s doing the saddling?
It’s clearly known what the objective of the opposition-parties-driven-publication and their writer’s objective are. It’s to blacken the image of “EPRDF’. May be it’s because the man and his minions didn’t say this out loud, but (knowing their action), it has been a while since these media publications started to peddle on the back of EPRDF. And I don’t think Ato Daniel isn’t aware about this, since he’s the main perpetrator of this.
All in all, I think there’s one important thing that should be raised. For them, opposing may mean straight hatred; but in the civilized world, it means providing genuine alternative options. And this will enable for different political alternatives to exist and provide for the voting public an optional and conducive opportunity. Unfortunately, our country’s opposition parties aren’t in the business of providing a genuine alternative policy, except for piecing through fragmented and disjointed liberalism ideologies.
Instead they chose to propagate the ‘we are victim’ rhetoric by peddling on the back of EPRDF. Since, seizing power through election has been going on for the last twenty years; there have been many parties that came into being.
However these parties instead of lobbying their policies (to the general public), they are only seen reflecting their hatred. It’s when these parties peddle on the back of EPRDF by appearing on the media that the public knows if they exist or not.
The other thing I don’t want to leave from raising is the fact that Ato Daniel tried to paint some Medias as “sell outs” in his article. I am forced here to think that there’s something this man doesn’t believe in – freedom of expression. Or he believes freedom of speech is only given to him or for opposition parties only.
May be if he harbor ‘my way or the highway’ kind of outlook, he should know that this kind of thinking is buried along with the ‘Derg’ regime. Thus, I think an outlook where someone who supports the likes of Ato Daniel’s party; a party where its former leader quoted as being the enemy of the public, are painted as saints, and where those who opposes come up as sinners, comes from not knowing oneself.
The other thing the man raised in his article includes “As I have been able to gather from credible sources, for the next election EPRDF, on top of its stifling mechanism, it will use some strategies to marginalize the opposition from the general public”.
Here I want my dear readers to note something. He called those who provided information with regards to the opposition as “lackeys”, while lambasting their information as unconfirmed and has the objective of confusing the public.
But, it didn’t take long for him to tell us an insider source has told him that EPRDF is devising a plan to thump them out of the election race by accusing them as anti-peace force. Ato Daniel who said that disseminating unconfirmed information is confusing (unreliable), went on and spread unconfirmed information himself (with the same mouth).
There is of course an agenda behind Ato Daniel’s so-called “EPRDF strategies”. This is a preparation for appearing all-victimized and to cry foul play after they violate the law and do whatever they wished for. However, its helpful to know that these kind of ‘smokescreen’ strategy won’t work.
Seizing power through inciting riot and havoc in a sovereign country is virtually impossible. If there’s a plan to follow unlawful ways by spreading “EPRDF strategies” as a smokescreen before the election, its better to know that its wrong and only following lawful means is the way to go. There’s a need to guarantee rule of law in order to control lawlessness. In a situation where rule of law isn’t guaranteed, there will be no election …..
As its known guaranteeing rule of law (in a country) is the job and responsibility of the government in power. Thus, disseminated rumors in the hopes of deterring the government’s role in guaranteeing ‘rule of law’ cannot be acceptable.
In parallel with this, I don’t think all opposition parties believe that anti-peace struggle is the way to go. I think the man very well knows which opposition parties the EPRDF accuses of having anti-peace agenda; including the fact that we don’t have a country or a government that stomachs anti-peace forces.
I know, as the man himself has said, that EPRDF is a force of peace. And I don’t believe most opposition parties who are peacefully fighting, are anti-peace forces; as there are anti-peaceful opposition forces. This is because we have seen many who have taken up street riot and havoc as their only option; doing anti-peaceful action within a façade of peaceful struggle.
Therefore it would be behoove of those who are calculating to move unlawfully by appearing as victims, to know that not only its uncivilized way of operating, but it’s also a flat out undemocratic outlook.
As it’s known, in our country, after the overthrow of the dictatorial regime, democratic order has established. After the FDRE constitution which guarantees human and democratic rights, was ratified by laying the groundwork where the whole Ethiopian nation, nationalities and people administer themselves; where their respective language, culture and religion is respected, and where their mutual benefit is guaranteed; they have been able to build the new Ethiopia on their consent.
Through seizing the ultimate power; which formerly used to be a privilege of the very few elites, the Ethiopian people are now garnering positive results; as they are now able to put to power those who they want and trust.
As this hard fact shows how different what Ato Daniel claim to be is to the reality on the ground, it’s not hard to know what the motive behind his statement is. His quote “The Ethiopian people democracy demand and the aspiration of the ruling party do not align” is one. This is because who decides what the democracy demands of the Ethiopian people is the people itself, not EPRDF.
Nevertheless, in my opinion, EPRDF had fought to establish democratic and human rights in the country. It has sacrificed many of children of ours to establish the democratic order that we see today. And the success has been attributed to its ability to align the people to its side.
With regards to this, claiming that a party (organization) that laid the groundwork for democracy in this country does not align with democracy demand of the public is being vague, and only he and his organization. In addition to this I believe he would be enlightened on the meaning of public if he decides to compare his own party members and supporters with that of the EPRDF; and who is saddling on the back of the opposition.
So, what Ato Daniel should be aware of is the plot of the ’97 election days won’t be repeated. The public which is currently in life battle to better its life by participating in developmental works won’t make the same mistake, as it’s a fair & just, and has learned from yesterday.