The Fumble of ‘Initiative Africa

By Yosef Yisak

The Woyane regime is making desperate effort to counter the surge and popularity of the opposition groups particularly the Coalition of Democratic Forces (CUD) that took it by surprise in its ability to generate support from Ethiopians across the board for the upcoming election.  The flame that desires change is propagating with an astonishing speed in all parts of the nation like never before.

Although the EPRDF regime was very reluctant to admit its unpopularity and the strength of the opposition forces, it has recently swallowed the sour fact following the massive demonstration in Addis Ababa and other major cities opposing the so called “give and take” peace initiative of the Prime Minister. 

Considering the election date is coming closer and the fact that it is facing a strong opposition, the regime has started conducting a major effort to make sure it remains in power. Among the strategies the Meles group employed to counter the opposition particularly the CUD is to make indirect propaganda effort in the name of preliminary election assessment survey in major cities conducted by a non-governmental agency named Initiative Africa (IA) whose president is Kibur Gena.

Observers believe that the aim for this propaganda is to falsely show the popularity of the PM and the regime among Ethiopians for the consumption of international groups and embassies ahead of the election and make the outcome of the election close to this finding creating no surprise. It is also intended to create a reference base thus making it easy to justify to international observers.  Most of all, it will help the regime in discouraging the public who are new to this process as it is from casting their votes knowing that they will not change the outcome. 

It is a known fact from history that statistics can be manipulated to support the special interest and it is proven again by the findings of the IA group. Intellectuals who are shocked with the results of this study have already started dissecting the findings and want the public and international groups to be aware. 

As expected, the study shows a commanding lead for EPRDF wining with significant margins in cities of Tigray, Amhara, and Oromia as well as Addis Ababa. Meles also attained the highest popularity rating of 75% and Ato Hailu Shawel who is president of the largest opposition group, which is the CUD, obtained the lowest among ten contestants.  Do we see a pattern here?

Let us first evaluate the popularity of Meles in question form.

Has Meles reached the Ethiopian people in the past 12 years to be liked this much? Has he visited the city dwellers in any major city of Ethiopia besides his own region and discussed their concern or is he stranger to them?  Is it Meles or Ato Hailu who was cruising in a convertible car in the streets of Khartoum cheering the public but never in his own country as a leader? Does the IA group believe that people have forgotten his remark on their national flag?  How about the disastrous political upset in the border demarcation negotiation? 

On the other side, who created the largest opposition group in the history of our nation?  Who is the president of the leading opposition group that is giving hope for change to Ethiopians? Is it Ato Hailu or Ato Meles who discussed face to face with Ethiopians both from the city and country side providing them support and hope?  Who is the person that was there to listen to their problems and explained their rights taking diffcult roads trips in car and traveling in all direction of the nation ranging from Afar to Gondar all the way up to the Southern Ethiopia?  What person and opposition party does Meles’s fear most and wants to belittle and setup?  Is it Ato Hailu Shawel or Meles that created the flame that is running in four directions throughout Ethiopia desiring change like never seen before?

Let us also go over the different spectrum of the society whom we are told by the survey voted in a commanding manner for the ruling regime of EPDRF and Meles.

Are they the farmers who can’t even pay their debt for fertilizers?

How about the merchants and business men who cry every day of impartiality and TPLF business Monopoly?

Are they the city dwellers who can’t go month to month with their meager salary considering the ever increasing cost of living?  How about their children who are wondering in the streets of the cities having no job?

Let us also not forget the students who have paid dearly on several occasions with their lives for academic freedom and their cause for the motherland not to mention the disastrous education policy.

Let us also remember the poor and the homeless who are captured at night to be thrown outside the cities and where some are found being dinner for hyenas.

How about the people of Awasa and Gambela where there brothers were massacred by EPRDF forces and with no accountability?  Did we forget the people from Badme and Irob who have lost their land and are displaced in large numbers? 

How about the Afar who lost Assab and have only the desert left that has no economic significance? 

How about the Ethiopian army members who sacrificed over 70,000 of their colleages as well as the families that lost their children for a land to be handed back by the regime?

Are they the crying father and mother of the children with HIV or the children’s that lost their parents?

The data and process the study employed to come up with the result is a puzzle that is diffcult to comprehend and swallow as can be seen from the samples above.

The firm also did not consider or even raised the issue whether people are afraid to speak freely knowing the human rights record of the regime? It is a government that taps phones (as indicated by the recent Human rights watch report) to spy and people know this.  The firm is asking them to complete a questionnaire that is given to them by a stranger and whom they have no idea where they came from.  Does this agency think that people are fools to give in writing and put themselves in trouble? 

Among the other strategies that should be noted the Meles group employed includes planting of its cadres as non-partisan election officials, registering children as voters.  Recent news reports revealed that a one-year old child and children less than five years have been documented as legitimate voters.  In addition, significant numbers of government cadres and supporters have registered in multiple places.  

All these desperate acts, however, will not stop the struggle of the Ethiopian people that is surging as tidal waves with nowhere to stop until it empowers itself. However, it is extremely disappointing to learn that an Ethiopian owned professional company appearing as non-partisan manipulating the facts in the name of scientific study to serve the interest of the regime at the same time profiting from the international fund allocated for the study in the name of Democracy for Africa. 

After seeing the results of the IA group which came out indicating 180 degree away from the reality as explained above, one should wonder about the motive. It is also diffcult comprehend how the IA group dared to undermine the intelligence of the Ethiopian people without a strong backing.  Is there a secret alliance be it a marriage of convenience or ethnic ties or a special interest?  The truth shall always prevail.

END


Dissecting the Surface Findings of Initiative Africa

By Dagmawie Abraham, USA

The pre-election survey of Initiative Africa (IA) regarding the tally for the first party choice was conducted in 138 enumeration areas and the samples are representative of the urban areas of the four major regions of Tigray, Oromia, Amhara, and SNNP in addition to Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa and Harar cities. The result of this study is illustrated on Table 1 that is shown below.

Considering the fact that the work was conducted by a professional and non-partisan organization for the first time in Ethiopia, intellectuals were curious in the outcome of the study as well as the findings.  However, after evaluating the results reported even without going to the core of the study serious flows and concerning issues have been observed.  The concern has even reached to the level of questioning the ability and/or integrity of the IA group in which you will find out as you follow through the article.

Among obvious errors observed are the sums of percentages of the different categories as indicated in Table 1 for region of “Tigray” and “The Overall Average?”  Simply putting it, it defies the basic rule of high school algebra by not adding up to 100% or close to it.  Observers even thought at first that the newspaper (Nation) that reported it first might have made an error until seeing other media outlets reporting the same figures.  The problem comes when adding the percentage of each of the categories for the region of Tigray which came out to be 160% and similarly for the “Overall Average” which is 124%.  After adjusting the errors and calculating the correct percentages EPRDF support reduced in both instances.

Why did corrected EPRDF support fell to 31% in stead of the reported 39% in the Overall Average?  Similarly why did the corrected figure drop to 60% in stead of the reported 96% in Tigray?   Is the 96% a camouflage to impress Tigray with an Ace?

Can the reported error that shows a better approval rating helps EPRDF in facilitating pre and post election scenarios?  Does it help EPRDF image over the opposition?

Another obvious error is the percentage in the “No Party to Support” category for the Total Average which is listed as 33% while non of the regions/cities show any number higher than 17%.  Again this error has helped EPRDF support percentages higher than what they should be for each of the regions/cities results and if corrected will drop the current EPRDF support percentages by an estimate of 20%.

Table 1,    Initiative Africa Findings as Reported

Region/City

EPRDF

CUD

Hebret

no party to support

Undecided

others

Total

 

Tigray

96%

0%

0%

17%

40%

7%

160%

 

Amhara

27%

7%

2%

17%

40%

7%

100%

 

Oromia

31%

8%

6%

10%

37%

9%

101%

 

SNNR

41%

9%

5%

8%

33%

3%

99%

 

Addis

40%

8%

5%

4%

34%

8%

99%

 

Harrai

32%

8%

4%

12%

27%

18%

101%

 

DireDawa

28%

14%

13%

14%

29%

1%

99%

 

Total Avg.

39%

8%

4%

33%

33%

7%

124%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 2,     Corrected Percentages of Initiative Africa Study

Region/City

EPRDF

CUD

Hebert

no party to support

Undecided

others

Total

 

Tigray

60%

0%

0%

11%

25%

4%

100%

 

Total Avg.

31%

Not Voted for EPRDF = 69%

 

 

100%

 

 

As we all know people in Ethiopia are in general afraid to express their political views for fear of persecution as witnessed by different Human Rights reports.  It also a known fact that the regime relies heavily on espionage where government spies have infested the cities including academic institutions not to mention the regimes telephone tapping as reported by Human Rights Group just recently.

This fear factor is revealed indirectly by the high percentage of “undecided voters” and “no party voters” which is around 60%, twice that of EPRDF support.

If we ask the key question, What political group are people afraid ? The unarmed opposition or the powerful EPRDF regime?  The answer will lead us to where these votes that are declared neutral currently will go during election.  As a rule of thumb people are afraid to express openly the despise they have for any dictatorial regime in power.  Especially knowing the culture in Ethiopia, people do not trust strangers who came up with a questionnaire that they are not familiar with to find out their political choice.

Following the above reasoning and taking numbers of this study (where there is a major potential for error if evaluated from the core), the tally for EPRDF is only 31% while the total for those desiring change is 69%.  As revealed on Table 3 below (tabulated based on the IA results) there is a good potential for the regime to lose over 300% of its parliamentary seats which implies loosing its authority and control in forming the government.

 

Table 3,    Impact on EPRDF Control of Current Parliamentary Seats

Current EPRDF Parliament Seats in %

 

 

 

 

99%

Current potential support for EPRDF in % based on Table 2 and Study

 

31%

EPRDF expected potential % drop of Parliament Seats based on Table 2 & Study

319%

 

The IA group has also conducted a tally for support and likeability of individual candidates:  The study had selected one (1) candidate from EPDRF, seven (7) Candidates from CUD and two (2) candidates from Hebret as shown on Table 4 that is listed below.

The selection of the candidates has raised several key questions that need answers from the IA group.  Most observers agree that it is this portion of the study that fully brought into question the integrity of the IA group as well as it’s impartiality towards EPRDF particularly towards Meles.  Table 4 below summarizes the findings of this article in a simplified way. 

 

Table 4,    Candidates Vote Distribution along Party and Coalition

 

Region/City

EPRDF

CUD

Hebret

Tot

Political Parties

TPLF

ANDM

OPDO

South

AEUP

EDP-Medh

Rainbow

Hebret

ONC

 

Candidates per Party

1

0

0

0

2

3

2

1

1

10

Avg. Vote Division along Party line

1

n/a

n/a

n/a

2

3

1

1

1

 

Avg. Vote Division along Coalition

1

7

2

10

Meles Vote Rating

Meles as the only candidate of TPLF and EPRDF as it was in the Study with 75 Pts.

Assuming the same Meles being one of the seven (7) candidates of CUD.

 

 

Equivalent Comparison

Equals 75/1 = 75

Equals 75/7 = 10.71

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The most serious question for the IA group will be in why it picked seven (7) candidates from CUD and only one (1) from EPRDF?  Does this help Meles since all the votes that went to EPRDF goes to him while it divides CUD candidates vote on average by seven (7) from the total vote caste of CUD?  Why seven (7) fold advantage to Meles over CUD and nine (9) fold over the total opposition?  Why only one from TPLF and two and three from each of the CUD parties?

Who gave authority to the IA group to cherry pick the candidates involved in the tally?  Why did the IA group pass the President of EDP-Medhin and Vice President of CUD, Dr. Admasu Gebeyehu?  Why pick the fatherly figure of EPD-Medhin over the President of the Party?  Did the IA group obtain approval from the parties as far as whom to include and not in having the audacity to bypass the party chairman over less critical candidates?

What would be IA group response in picking Professor Mesfin, an intellectual who officially declared that he is not running for Parliamentary seat?  Why did the IA group went out of its way to add another candidate of CUD while only one (1) for EPRDF with so many available? Why not pick former President Negasso Gidada who is running for the Parliament representing another political party instead of dividing individual votes of CUD leaders by a factor of seven (7)?

Does this action promote TPLF particularly Meles over other EPRDF parties?  Does it also undermine the leadership of the other ethnic parties within EPRDF who have four (4) to six (6) fold as many parliamentary representatives currently in the House? How about Addisu Legesse, Tefera Walewa and Genet Zewdie of ANDM if not Tamerat Layene?  How about Ali Abedo, Gen. Abadula and Girma Birru of OPDO if not the ex-president Negasso Gidada?  How about Kassu Ilala of the Southern party not to mention Abate Kisho? Does this action reinforce the talk of the nation that the power grip within EPRDF is with TPLF and Meles while the other ones like ANDM and their leaders are pussy cats with no say except orders to take?  Wouldn’t it be fair to circulate the most powerful position which is the Prime Minister among the various ethnic parties of EPRDF since TPLF had it for the last 12 years despite its one fifth (1/5) size compared to the Giant three (OPDO,ANDM, Southern) ?

Does the selection also go to the level of undermining TPLF’s member Arkebe Equbie in favor of Meles? How about Gebru Asrat who lead the opposition rally in Addis not to mention Seye Abraha?

Finally coming to the golden question, Can one deduce form the above knowingly or unknowingly that there is a consistent pattern in the study that promotes a specific coalition and party within and ends in support of a particular candidate?   It should also be recognized that the observed pattern in the current surface analysis has a great potential to reveal itself more when assessed at the core level of the study.   It could possibly be “garbage in”, “garbage out” data analysis unless a careful scientific approach with zero bias was employed at the time not infecting the generated data.

END

 

 

NEWS MEDIA REPORTS

Initiative Africa launches pre-election survey

By Kaleyesuse Bekele

Initiative Africa (IA) on Thursday launched a pre-election survey of urban areas and towns of major regions of Ethiopia.

At a meeting held at the Ghion Hotel, IA, a local NGO, introduced the survey it conducted in Addis Ababa and various regional towns. The survey includes the opinions of urban dwellers on their perception of the election on different issues. Ato Kibour Gena, director of IA, said the opinion-based survey was conducted in Tigray, Oromia, Amhara, SNNP, Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa and Harar.

Kibour said the survey includes the opinions of 2,600 respondents. It took IA four weeks to conduct the survey. More than 80 people, including statisticians, were involved in the study. The organization spent 350,000 birr for the study. Kibour said the amount could reach 400,000 participants asked organizers of the meeting why the study was conducted only in towns ignoring the rural areas where the majority Ethiopians live Kibour said the organization had budget constraint to cover all the rural and urban areas. "We would be very glad to do that if we had the potential," he said. Some of the participants said there were some questions which must have been included in the questioner. Kibour said that this was only the begining and IA would improve the study upon the suggestion of the public. IA is a not-for profit it is a non-partisan organization. 

 

 

The Very First Pre-Election Survey Conducted Here

Addis Tribune (Addis Ababa)

The first ever pre-election survey conducted by Initiative Africa with the participation of Addis Ababa Women Entrepreneurs' Association and Build Ethiopia is said to be completed with the final version expected to be out next April 10.

The main objective of the survey, according to Initiative Africa, is to explain why voters vote the way they do and why some parties are more successful than others.

The survey was conducted in 138 enumeration areas and the samples are representative of the urban areas of the four major regions of Tigray, Oromia, Amhara, and SNNP in addition to Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa and Harar cities.

The survey examines a wide range of political attitudes about candidates, issues and the traits Ethiopians want in their leaders. It has also a particular emphasis on the effects of media exposure, campaign commercials and news from radio, television and newspapers.

Initiative Africa, however, warns against generalization of the result to the entire country. It is interesting to note that the tally for first party choice is: CDU 8%, UDFE 4%, EPRDF 39%, No party to support is 33%, Not Decided 33% and the remaining 7% support other parties. Tabulated by regions: Tigray CDU 0%, UDFE 0%, and EPRDF 96%. No party to support 17%, Undecided 40%, and other parties 7%, Amhara CDU 7% , UDEF 2%, EPRDF 27%, No party to support 17%, Not Decided 40%, other parties 7%; Oromia CDU 8%, UDFE 6%, EPRDF 31%, No party to support 10% Not Decided 37%, Other Parties 9%;SNNPR CDU 11%, UDFE5% EPRDF 41%, No party to support 8%, Not Decided 33%, Other parties 3% ; Harari CDU 8%, UDFE 4%, EPRDF 32%, No party to support 12%, Not Decided 27%, Other Parties 18%; Addis Ababa Administration CDU 8%, UDFE 5%, EPRDF 40%, No party to support 4%, Not Decided 34%, Other Parties 8%; and Dire Dawa CDU 14%, UDFE 13%, EPRDF 28%, No party to support 14%, Not Decided 29% and other Parties 1%.

According to the Survey there seems to be a very high degree of political apathy among the urban adult population. Only 29.37% of the urban population turned out to be politically concerned.

Political concern shows wide variations by gender, region, ethnicity, age group and education. Men are more politically concerned (42.14%) and the least is Harari with a rate of 13.27%. In terms of ethnicity, the Kembatas are leading with the highest rate of 62.25%, followed by the Sidamas 51.65%; Tigray comes third with 39.14%.

It is observed that significant variations in responses regarding unemployment exist among the respondents in the different regions. The first question regarding unemployment was "Do you think unemployment has gone up after EPRDF took power". Almost every respondent in Dire Dawa (93 percent) believes that unemployment has "Gone Up". The responses by Harari respondents are almost identical, 81 percent, to that of Dire Dawa respondents. Respondents who said "gone up" include 56 percent in Oromia, 55 percent in Addis Ababa, 54 percent in Amhara and 45 percent in Tigray. "Gone down" was cited in Tigray (38 percent), Addis Ababa (29 percent) and 21 percent in Oromia.

38% of the total population said EPRDF is the only strong party and 32.6% were against the opinion that it is the only strong party in the country.The proportion of respondents in support of this opinion is very high (72.7%) in Tigray compared to only 27.7% in Amhara, 34.4% in Oromia and 34.7% in SNNPR.

Those who had formal schooling are against the opinion of EPRDF's being the only strong party in the country.

Analysts say that if the political parties come together and manage to sway the very large number of undecided voters in their favor then they might beat the incumbent ruling party. But if they stay as they are, analysts maintain, the ruling party, EPRDF, will stand a chance to rule the country for another five years.

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