The following in-depth responses were provided by Ato Dereje Berhanu – 42 years old and an engineer by occupation. We found the arguments to be well-thought of that need to get as much exposure as possible in this election. We reproduce the responses in their entirety.
MediaETHIOPIA – March 20, 2005
1. What is your general impression about the upcoming elections? Are you following the event with interest or casually?
I am following closely the upcoming election since it provides an opportunity to empower the Ethiopian people. The Ethiopian people do not want to have a rubber stamp parliament like the present one, they want their representatives to be independent minded and voice their opinion boldly for truth and justice and without fear or bowing down to the special interest. However, it requires a free and fair election with no ifs and buts for us to choose and empower effective representatives that will lead us to our dream.
My general impression
for fair election in
On the positive side, a
2. Which political personalities
or parties have impressed you with their agenda and vision for
The All Ethiopian Unity
Party and the Coalition of Democratic forces as well as their chairman Ato Hailu Shawel stands out. The AEUP is the largest opposition party
where its leaders have been organizing the party at grass root level touring
the nation in all four directions to establish office and register
members. The party includes highly
dedicated Vice Presidents like Shalekea
Getachew, Shaleka Admasu and Ato Abayneh who understand the heart beat of the Ethiopian farmers that
constitute 85% of the population. Prof. Mesfin Woldemariam, a veteran
human right activist who recently revealed the jungle politics of the current
regime and also wrote the book entitled “Ye
kihedet Kululut” which is considered by many as the best political book
3. Do you think EPRDF
has been good for the country? Some people say that EPRDF has improved
I agree that many buildings have been built in Addis. Main reason is EPRDF got a break from the West to get loans from international banks once the communist Dergue was gone. Our national debt has skyrocketed now hitting record high and we do not know how to pay except beg for debt cancellation. The other reason is regardless of what government is in power buildings and roads will be constructed as time goes forward and population increases. If you look at Addis before Haile Selassie took power, there literally was nothing.
Let see who built the buildings
Sheraton was built by an individual
billionaire and would have done it regardless of any government. We all know communism is history. The private buildings in Addis are built by
Ethiopians who lived abroad and locally as well as by TPLF business
enterprises. A good chunk of the loans
from the obtained from the Commercial Bank of
As far as the airport, the issue was
controversial at the time in terms of where to use the money. Is it better to build mass storages and
Other key issues that have gone to the back burner
Are the existing buildings maintained? The answer is NO. It does not matter how many we build unless we keep what we already have intact.
Are we preserving space for park and play grounds or we just building on top of them? Most of the Keble lands reserved for recreation have buildings now. There is no place for kids to pass time except running around the streets.
How about sustainability, storm water management, the eco system as well as environmental aspects of the city? These issues are like jokes to mention in Addis
4. Among the ministers and political appointees in Prime Minister Meles’ cabinet, who is – in your opinion - most respected (least disliked)? Who do you think is least liked?
I will say most disliked is Bereket Simon: Reason being his major role in favoring big government hand on media and his role to dismantle the Ethiopian independent journalists association which recently won its ruling over his ministry in the federal court. Furthermore, his sincerity for Ethiopian cause is questioned by his former comrades of TPLF. He is also being disliked for being the right hand of the prime minister who many consider including Bereket treason materials.
The other Ministers that are not or were not members of the TPLF are all considered puppets with no power or authority on key decisions that affects the motherland. Even a Listro in Addis can tell you this and it is not worth mentioning their names.
Arkebe Ekubai had gained popularity initially for cleaning the city when he replaced the former mayor Ali Abdo who had created the biggest dirt in the history of the capital. The regime changed him in respond to a treat from international organizations in moving out of Addis unless the city is cleaned.
However, the mayor
success is short lived and is limited to Woyane
supporters and few others due his recent reckless actions. His selection to the position was also
illegitimate since he was not a resident of Addis at the time. It is obvious to all Addis residents that he
became a Mayor due to his political loyalty to Meles. The regime has also dissolved the City
Council of Addis Ababa and replaced it by its cadres. His decision of firing desperately needed
medical doctors without issuing a strong warning while the nation is producing
the highest rate of children HIV in the world is considered irresponsible by many.
In addition, Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRC) recently expressed its
concern over "illegal displacement"
by the ongoing development activities in
5. In this election, what issues are
important for you personally and your family? (The economic
condition, democratic rights, employment, peace and stability, others?)
How about for the whole country? (The
All the above issues are extremely important. In addition,