A coordinated campaign against the EPRDF?
Since the 2005 national election in Ethiopia, various human right groups, think tanks and NGOs have been bombarding the Ethiopian government with all kinds of accusations. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, International Crisis Group, Congressman Donald Payne (a good friend and defender of Issayas) are the main accusers. They strongly criticize the laws on CSO, anti-terrorism, press and continue to undermine the overall political and economic progress of the country. Why are they doing this in a seemingly coordinated manner? A concern for human rights of the Ethiopian people? - †Not at all. A hidden ††agenda to weaken the EPRDF for not accepting policy suggestions from the discredited neo-liberal camp? You bet. Preparation for another color revolution? You can never tell though they have tried it before but went wrong.
First, I would like confirm that even though Ethiopia has a long way to go in the process of democratization, taking all the challenges into consideration, the government is on the right track. At present no Ethiopian opposition political party comes close to the EPRDF in guarantying democratic rights of the people and in alleviating the country out of poverty. We know who the other alternatives are. Their policies have been tested and failed during Mengistu and Haliesilassie. They do not have any new and visionary policies and strategies for Ethiopia in the 21st Century. I am sorry. In the Diaspora, hate politics and zero sum game dominate the environment. Using their voting cards, the Ethiopian people will never allow those forces to come to power. Ethiopia needs farsighted and visionary opposition parties who believe in a win-win situation. We do not have these at present. I am sorry.
Coming back to my main topic, the other day, I asked an American friend of mine if he has observed the coordinated campaign against Ethiopia. He honestly admitted that for reasons that are not clear to him, Ethiopia bashing indeed became the order of the day. He told me that unless those accusers have a different agenda other than human rights, which he suspects, he can not understand why they keep fabricating and exaggerating events in Ethiopia. He admitted that Ethiopia does not deserve the characterization by those groups. He advised me that since those forces may have a different agenda other than human rights, we should pursue engagement with those forces and continue to do our job inside the country by striving hard to advance the work of democratization and development. He further said that since Ethiopiaís democracy is still very young, mistakes here and there are expected. However he said that the EPRDF should not get angry and furious when criticisms come from concerned groups who really care about Ethiopiaís well being and from those who donít have hidden agendas. Finally, he advised me that unless Ethiopia, in the medium and long term extricates itself from poverty and unless it gradually frees itself from dependency on foreign sources for development funds, it will continue to be vulnerable for criticism from the above mentioned forces.
Those destructive forces are now working in unison with the disgruntled Diaspora to use the 2010 election as a platform to advance their sinister objectives. They are now working hard in Brussels and Washington to influence the EU and USA to advance their objectives in issues related to election observation. Some forcesí agenda is not to assure free and fair election but to see the EPRDF get weak or leave the political scene all together. A futile exercise. Peace loving Ethiopians and the well wisher international community should work together to see Ethiopia get out of poverty and show a rapid progress in democratization.
List of things the Ethiopian government should do are the following.
-Continue with the efforts of making the 2010 election free and fair.
-Observer teams must be told in strict terms that the reason they are invited to observe the election is to witness whether the process is free and fair or not. Nothing else. They should respect the code of conduct they signed in 2005 and later indorsed by the UN in the same year. The Observers must be told that they should not send the Gomez type people who never cared about the observation code of conduct and became a cause for violence in 2005.EU and US should know that advancing a hidden agenda in the election would damage not only Ethiopia but the region and themselves too.
Myself, as a non-EPRDF member would definitely desire the EPRDF to get elected. Why? The facts speak for themselves. The accomplishments by the EPRDF in the last 18 years and the vision, policies and strategies at present and the future are no match to others. Period.