Open letter to the leaderships of CUD and UEDF

By Dr. Solomon Terfa

Aug 10, 2005

It is with all seriousness and genuine interest that I read and re-read your proposal for the establishment of a National Unity Government. You have made it abundantly clear that you resorted to this solution because of the inability or the failure of the National Election Board and the Complaints Investigation Panels to transcend their partiality and find solution to the problems created by the May 15, 2005 election.

Your proposal for a viable National Unity Government is based on the three assumptions that you listed on page three of your proposal:

  1. Peace and political stability in our country are necessary conditions for the fulfilment of all our political, economic, and social goals and national vision.
  2. We all want to overcome famine and hunger and the attending abject poverty in our country; and as a nation to self sufficient in food production in short order.
  3. We all value democracy as the only historically proven social and political device for peaceful, free, equal and fraternal relations among and between citizens and nationalities of the country and the best possible way of marshaling our human and material resources to enable us succeed in achieving the first two objectives.

You have without any equivocation asserted that the three groups, CUD, UEDF, and EPRDF share those assumptions. The empirical reality of EPRDF's governance, however, since it assumed power fourteen years ago, betrays your assumptions. It is unfortunate that you dared to witness and give testimony to a group that adopted democracy as it was marching towards Addis Ababa only to assuage and mollify the international community. The TPLF, the main group of the EPRDF was and still is composed of Stalinists that used to idealize the Albanian communists. The prime minister, the leading theoretician and guru of the group is not only a born Machiavellian but also one who has perfected it and adapted it to the Ethiopian situation. In this he is akin to Lenin who adapted Marxism to the condition of feudal Russia, and hence Marxism-Leninism, so also Meles with Machiavllianism to Ethiopia's situation and therefore Machiavellianism-Melesism.

For Machiavelli, as he advised the Prince, and for all dictators since, power has been the essence of politics. It is defined as the ability to influence the behavior of others and obtain their obedience. And in this connection violence, manipulation/cares are at the disposal of the dictator. Machiavelli believed that human beings could be influenced because they are self centered by their nature. Hence depending upon the situation, the dictator could influence their behavior by threatening to destroy them and or caressing and manipulating them. Caressing includes "giving gift" or "granting favors" with the objective of making them dependent upon the dictator . Now, let us review the record of the TPLF led government of the last fifteen years.

The TPLF led government

  • drafted the so-called constitution and imposed it upon the people after having gotten it adopted by its surrogates in the parliament. The Ethiopian people were not allowed to debate its merit and or demerit.
  • summarily dismissed forty-two (42) professors after holding them responsible for the demonstration held by the student against UN's participation in the referendum of Eritrea.
  • unceremoniously dismissed over fifteen (15) doctors while their patients were still in their hospital beds.
  • dismantled the national army and replaced it by ethnically based partisan army whose loyalty was and still is to the TPLF/EPRDF.
  • took measures to outlaw the Ethiopian Teachers Association.
  • came very close to terminating the Ethiopian Air line.
  • was threatening to let the OAU and the ECA go out of Ethiopia.
  • took the initiative to reorganize the Labor unions so that they becomes sympathetic to its ethnic politics.
  • has imprisoned and or purged its members that questioned its foreign and domestic policies.
  • has shown no compunction or hesitation to unleash its killing machines and death squads when students, peasants, so-called unemployed youth dared to stand up for their democratic right.
  • has vehemently argued that Assab belonged to Eritrea and thereby condemning the country to being land-locked.
  • has started to rehabilitated self declared Eritrean nationalists who had voted for the secession of their beloved country by allowing them not only to return to Ethiopia but also to claim their domicile and their job with retroactive pay.
  • has, since the May 15, 2005 election and its trounce in Addis Ababa, been unleashing its sinister maneuvering. It has taken various measures that could undermine and weaken the coming CUD administration. Among other things, it has encouraged the government of Oromia to move its seat of government to Addis Ababa.

Now is this the group that you want to vouch for as having good intentions for Ethiopia and its people? Do you really believe you can give this group uncritical support and testimony? The Ethiopian people voted for you because they thought you were principled individuals who would not succumb to terror and threat. In my recent article entitled A Critical Analysis of Post Election political Situation in Ethiopia I questioned the wisdom of "negotiating" with the government and entrusting the counting of the vote to the Ethiopian National Election Board which was established by the EPRDF government. Now you are complaining that the Board has not been impartial. Isn't this Board about to declare that the EPRDF has won the most seat that will enable it to form a government. Isn't this what the EPRDF echoing ? Doesn't this debunk your proposal for a coalition government? Where in the history of coalition government have you seen or learnt a coalition government established by the good will of a winning party.

My take of the whole thing is that the current Ethiopian political conditions are ripe for a democratic revolution and or transformation. All of the objective conditions are fulfilled. We are at the juncture where the government cannot rule the old way and that the people are refusing to be ruled in the old way. Most importantly we are at the juncture where the international community is steadfastly supporting and encouraging people who are suffering under tyranny and dictatorship to stand up for their rights. All that is lacking is the subjective condition. And that is a committed, dedicated and principled party that will lead the people to liberation. History has burdened you with this responsibility. Do not let the people down.

You will be letting down not only Ethiopia but the whole of Africa who are curiously and anxiously awaiting the outcome of your struggle. It is no time for vacillation or appeasement. I have said it before and I will say it again. The only way the Ethiopian people could be empowered is by holding another election. Power belongs to the people. Only the people are sovereign. Power will be legitimate only when the people vote for the party they think will work for them. Both Mr. Hailu Shawel and Mr. Meles have accepted and given their word to Hard Talk, BBC, that holding another election is one of the means to ending the impasse. Why are you afraid to call for this?

Solomon Terfa ( Ph.D)
Associate Professor of Political Science
Mississippi Valley State University

MediaETHIOPIA @2005