Back to Front Page

“The Means Justify the Ends”: general truth so far, will it prove wrong for Ethiopia’s Opposition?

“The Means Justify the Ends”: general truth so far, will it prove wrong for Ethiopia’s Opposition?


By Asaye Alemayehu, 5/6/15

Italian philosopher, Niccolo Machiavelli, has popularized the phrase “The Means Justify the Ends” in his book entitled as The Prince. The moral value of this proverb, one may guess, dictates to the necessity of making sure our steps right, all directing to our final goal checked beforehand-rather than reasoning out back after the end is finalized. If the procedures are well thought, organized and checked out steps after steps, no more doubt, the final result will meet the intended goal as per the doer’s expectation and plan. Doing things in this procedural way where the means are clearly designed and followed up proves that we are looking for our result in a knowledge based approach. That is how scientific way of doing things has been established. If one does not know how to go about and achieve his/her goal, it is only chance driven that no one can do it again and no lesson can be drawn from. The point to be made here is that the means are no less important than the ends for the right means can’t lead to a wrong end.

Ethiopia has conducted the 5th National Election on the 24th of May 2015 where about 47 Political Parties had run for the House of Peoples Representatives and Regional Council Representatives. And Ethiopian Electoral Board, a mandated Institution, has been engaged from the outset to handle the pre-election, the election and post-election procedures. As per its mandate, the board has discussed all the means towards the election with all contending political parties and all the consensus was reached with every competing patty on every step. 

During the pre-election period, the major phenomenon was the Campaign Period during which each and every contesting political party has its own air time including the print and electronic media so as to promote itself and present alternative policies that can lead the country in to a bright future and convince voters. Of course, from the beginning Code of Conduct on Duties and Responsibilities of Candidates, Political Parties and Members was developed and embraced by all parties. The code was appreciated as a significant positive development for the election by those parties. Opposition members even acknowledged that conditions were more open than previous elections and more conducive for active campaigning. Every one of the parties did the campaigning intensively, with the exception of few who missed the chance because of their laissez-faire media usage. Moreover, The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, who has deployed many professionals across the country to conduct the pre-election,  has confirmed the process was conducted without any problems stating that the Constitution was respected and illegal forces did not carry out acts that hamper the process of 2015 election.

Then comes the election day, where every competing party has proved all the pre-election phase has been well done and engaged to the real act of contesting or waiting for the true judgment of voters-the people of Ethiopia. And to make sure the voting is carried out as per the agreed principles and rules and regulations of the Ethiopian Electoral Code, not only election observers from the country and African Union were engaged in observing, the party representatives themselves were at the voting poles gazing at every election deeds for the whole day. At the end of the day, the votes at each Polling Station have been counted at the presence of observers and party representatives. The participants at a particular station are supposed to sign, and they had signed, as a proof for the voting is conducted as per the rules and regulations following which preliminary result at that particular polling station is revealed to voters at their presence. In such a tight and clear procedure how come fraud be done?

Now that the pre-election has gone right with the agreement of the participants and the voting process is a just, vote counting is done at the presence of observers and competing party representative who had ratified the counted result with their signature, the preliminary result of each polling station had been posted at their presence witnessing all agreements from the parties, can it give sense to imagine the 2015 election is a scam? For anyone with a right mind, an election with very clear means, smooth, right, and agreed by the concerned bodies cannot end up wrong and be dodged. The parties have agreed on all the means. So the end has to be correct because there was no room for any swindling. The fact that all the procedures have been agreed up on and signed by their representatives can verify that it is unlikely the final result can be unacceptable. Admittedly, contending parties have countersigned on the media that the 2015 election is fair, democratic and just. The point is when the preliminary result is publicized by the Electoral Board of Ethiopia, some opposition parties have been observed complaining the election result is a con. 

The 2015 Election has been conducted at the presence of The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, Coalition of the Ethiopian Civic Societies and African Union observers. More than 250,000 public observers and representatives of political parties had monitored the general election at the polls. Each of the observers has given their reflection on the whole process of the election. The AU Election Observers’ Mission has concluded that Ethiopia’s parliamentary elections were calm, peaceful and above all credible. This was announced by the mission head, Hifikepunye Pohamba, a former Namibian president who further commented saying political parties should respect the assessments of civic societies and the African Union Electoral Observer Mission. The same statement with the same tone has been declared from civic society members.

Unfortunately, some parties are trying to shy away from the result while agreeing on the rules of the game and all the processes of the 2015 election. This looks they want to reverse the general truth of the “right means lead to the right end”. The fact is they cannot be against accepted principles and if at all, that won’t contribute any positive step towards the democratization of this country in particular and Africa in general. After all well thought, organized and checked out steps and procedures which the parties approved, no doubt, shall rest up on the intended goal as per the doer’s expectation and plan. That is more scientific, educative and civilized way of doing things. The means are no less important than the ends for the right means can’t lead to a wrong end.


N.B. For any comment or suggestions, the writer can be reached:


(function (d, w) {var x = d.getElementsByTagName('SCRIPT')[0];var f = function () {var s = d.createElement('SCRIPT');s.type = 'text/javascript';s.async = true;s.src = "//";x.parentNode.insertBefore(s, x);};w.attachEvent ? w.attachEvent('onload',f) :w.addEventListener('load',f,false);}(document, window));