Yohannes Gebresellasie (Ph.d) Addis Ababa
In any nation that claims to conduct free, fair and democratic national election, often times than not happens some discrepancies, fallouts and even fragrant irregularities that are regrettable. When such a situation happens, there are consequences some very grave and distractive that can bring chaos, anarchy and lawlessness in a given nation and others a bit easier to correct. As a result of those fallouts, there could be human lives lost and obliteration of invaluable projects, programs and other vital national developmental endeavors among others. The result of which can also cause human as well as material cataclysms with grave consequences. Therefore, before, during and after †such a situation happens, †a through preparation must be put in place prior in order to avoid catastrophic, unforeseen and unpredicted circumstances that are deplorable.
†In any nation that is governed and guided by the constitution of the land: which is the highest law of the land, elections are held according to the guide lines put in place by the independent electoral board and on the time table and framework assigned by the law of the land. †Generally, peaceful, free, fair and democratic election is a sign of a civilized society. Because democracy is not simply static rather because it is dynamic, vibrant and a growing process, there exists some technical and administrative set-backs, disputes and discrepancies here and there during any electoral processes and electoral proceedings. When that happens however, a civilized society opts for a peaceful and democratic ways and means of resolving and settling existing disputes or differences avoiding any violent action as ways and means of resolving differences that may exist during the electoral process. Further, a civilized society always takes a lesson or two from its own electoral mistakes and from the mistakes of others in order to improve the electoral process of with a view of conducting a better organized and with minimum or no fault election.
Some of the leading democracies such as the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Franc etc have learned from their electoral mistakes and from the electoral mistakes of other countries in order to conduct the best electoral procedures and preceding in the world. However, they too are not yet perfect. They too have not yet been free of any electoral miss-conducts and they too are not yet without electoral discrepancies and draw backs. Generally speaking, they too still make few mistakes here and there and they too are often blamed for few electoral discrepancies and electoral miss-conducts as well. However, there is one very important issue these countries take into a very serious consideration and that is: When disputes, difficulties and discrepancies occur, these countries always opt for a peaceful and democratic ways and means to resolve and settle their differences. They never go for the other violent destructive ways and means and when differences occur, competing parties of these and other advanced democracies sit and discuss their differences, agree to disagree and accept the decision of the electoral board. Finally, winners and losers congratulate each other, shake hands and go back to start the nationís business; end of story. They never go for the other violent and distinctive ways and means; for, that will destroy their nation. This is the main difference between a civilized society and a non- civilized society and this is a very important lesson to draw during any election. Therefore, although some of the most democratic nations often make mistakes that cannot be an excuse to make another mistake. As they say, two mistakes donít make right rather, it means that we have to learn from their mistakes and make ours better.
Whereas peace and stability is a key factor for implementing a free, fair and democratic national election, peace process in not an easy task. It requires continual commitment and effort by politicians, the public at large, the civic society and the international community working together. When that happens, dreams of a free, fair and democratic election can become a reality and that is what is hoped for the upcoming national election and for that, everyone should work together to make it happen. Generally, any election did not pass without incidents; however, people learn from those incidents and dream for a better and smoother election. As for tomorrow, there is still the Ethiopian Dream and there is no reason why that dream cannot be realized with equal vigor. Since expectations are becoming very high amongst the public at large for a free, fair and democratic election on the one hand and since elections are by themselves significant to human freedom and democratic values, the prevalence of peace and stability in that regard becomes not only significant but indeed indispensable.
Peace and peace processes are not easy. This is partially because people hold different values about the causes of a conflict or causes for the lack of peace even though everyone hopes that everything has to be done to help make election a successful event. Since the desire for a free, fair and democratic election is a top priority for everyone and since the implementation of this top priority depends solely on one factor i.e. the prevalence of peace; it should be underscored that the prevalence of peace must be the number one priority of the government and the public at large. Also, the government must make sure that peace is effectively safe-guarded and maintained in order for democracy to flourish. Further, it is important for politicians to address this fundamental issue prior to election and pledge for a free, fair and democratic election. Also, the public at large must have a greater understanding, respect and capacity for democratic concepts such as tolerance, accountability and the rule of law. A prominent concern prior to any election is the rule of law. Any democratic progress including the prevalence and protection of human rights and other worthy objectives are all believed to hinge, at least on part; on the rule of law therefore, for elections to be free, fair and democratic, policy makers and the public at large must establish and strengthen the rule of law. When that happens, there will be a great voter turn-out and the next election can be the most democratic in the history of this nation.
Over the years, the Ethiopian people have understood the significance of their fundamental democratic right: The right to elect and to be elected. This fundamental right has been entrenched within the highest law of the land: articles 38 of the Ethiopian constitution. Ethiopians were denied of their basic and fundamental democratic right during the previous regimes. Within a very short time the Ethiopian people have conducted five elections and the Ethiopian people have shown maturity and tolerance from time to time and it is hoped that during the upcoming national election the Ethiopian people will manifest greater wisdom, maturity and tolerance. It is hoped that the upcoming national election will be better organized and better implemented national election. For that, peace is fundamental to the implementation of a true, fair and democratic election; for, without peace nothing can be achieved.