Friday, April 12, 2024

Sudan Tribune

Plural news and views on Sudan

Ethiopian Voice for Reason says opposition alliance is not feasible

Ethiopian Voice of Reason (EVOR)

– P. O. Box 13154
– Alexandria, VA 22312
– Email: [email protected]

WHEN ALLIANCE HAS NO MEAT — WHERE IS THE BEEF?

June 25, 2006 — Alliances may encompass politics, business, and health, sports, environment,
technology, education and so on. However the fundamental denominator of all sorts of
alliances is that it is the joining of forces and resources, for a specified or indefinite
period, to achieve a common objective. Here in lies, the crux of the dilemma of the
alliance that unites the Coalition for Unity and Democracy Party North America (CUDP
NA), the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF)
and others. WHAT IS THE COMMON OBJECTIVE THEY SHARE? Is it the unity and
integrity of the country? Is it the sovereignty and security of Ethiopia? Is it the
commonality of their program and policy framework of solving Ethiopia’s pressing
problems? Is it to enhance Ethiopia’s international stature? Is it to participate in building
democratic institutions? Or is it just to get rid of a “common enemy” no matter what the
consequences?

One thing is certain. It will be the under statement of the century to state that the
Ethiopian people are continuously yearning for peace, equality, freedom and economic
development. And in the last several years, uncountable organizations, fronts, alliances,
etc. have been formed with a very loud proclamation and a promise of an abundance of
democratic rights to the Ethiopian people. A cynical observer of the Ethiopian political
landscape would say, had all the declarations and proclamations come to fruition,
Ethiopia would have been the land of overflowing democracy.

Ethiopian Voice of Reason (EVOR) realizes exuberant often-shortsighted
proclamations will not help the democratic process in Ethiopia. Democracy as a process
is long, and patience testing. For democracy to take root, the forming, nurturing and
strengthening of independent institutions is the rule rather than the exception. Democracy
can only be guaranteed by institutions of democracy, not proclamations, not declaration,
and certainly not promises. The strength of democracy is measured by the strength of
civic societies functioning; by the independence and professionalism of the media; by the
independence of judicial body born out of the tireless struggle of those who seek justice;
by the presence of strong, farsighted opposition parties committed to prolonged contest,
etc. Once entrenched, these are the institutions that constrain the hands of those who wish
to abuse their power and/or influence. These are institutions that limit and restrain the
power of governments. These are the institutions that serve as watch dogs there by
bringing about transparency and accountability. Sometimes, people wrongly assume that
if elections are held, ergo democracy. This arises from erroneously viewing election as an
end in itself rather than a means.

EVOR would like to take this opportunity to call upon the government of
Ethiopia, all opposition forces who are committed to peaceful democratic struggle and friends of Ethiopia, to focus their energies and resources to the formation and
strengthening of the above mentioned democratic institutions. Moreover, EVOR believes
that the most elementary requirement of a democracy is civil discourse and the total
respect for an opposing point of view. To assume that any individual or a group has all
the answers to the complex problems facing Ethiopia today is infantile. Without delving
into a detailed, academic and tedious analysis of the latest Alliance for Freedom and
Democracy (AFD)’s saga, it is possible to state the following obvious points to show
where it is going:

A) The AFD consists of groups on the one hand, that openly espouse armed struggle such as OLF which declares its objective as “engaged in armed struggle for the
liberation of Oromo people against the Abyssinian colonial rule…” ONLF which
declares its objective as “……engaged in armed struggle to liberate our country (Ogaden)… which has been colonized against our will and without our consent by Ethiopia …” ;
and on the other with those that claim to adhere to a peaceful struggle for
change with the desire to maintain the unity, integrity, and sovereignty of Ethiopia. Such are the political objectives and goals of the principal players of the AFD. Therefore, these facts lead us to believe that the alliance must be based on the ideal to overthrow the
present government at any cost, regardless of the consequences to the country and its
citizen.

Furthermore, the background reading of the political program of the individual members of the alliance does not lead one to believe that an alliance among these groups,
which have divergent interests, motives and programs is feasible. Even if we assume that
this alliance has a redeeming value; how are all the conflicting interests to be reconciled?
The vexing questions are what are the partner’s motives for joining the alliance? Do all
parties have realistic objectives by defining each other’s contributions and rewards? If the
alliance on the other hand, is a marriage of convenience as it currently appears, it might
result in divorce with ugly custody battle.

B) The call for “workable arrangement on the basis of the present framework of the
Ethiopia constitution” (Statute of the Alliance for Freedom and Democracy, Chapter III,
Article 1.2) is also interesting. While it is a welcome change of heart by the members of
the new Alliance to operate within the framework of the current constitution, it seems a
bit of disingenuous maneuver of trying to appease certain outside forces instead of a
genuine effort to accept and work under such document. One needs to refer to preelection
declarations of some of the Alliance members.

C) While it is virtuous and necessary to work towards a regional peace, stability and
economic development, one wonders why need to emphasis on the bi-lateral relationship
with the state of Eritrea while little or no mention was given to other neighboring
countries. This is either naïve, genuinely misguided, a cheap public relations scheme; or
it lends credence to the appearance that a puppeteer is behind the curtain running the
show.

These are only few examples. We are certain further dissecting of the document will
reveal further inconsistencies. However, without the appearance of being pontificating,
EVOR believes that the only road that leads to democracy, freedom, equality and
economic prosperity is long, and the journey arduous. There are no short cuts; only pipe
dreams and lies that won’t accrue any benefit for the masses of the Ethiopian people. To
redirect ourselves towards the greater goal of bringing about democracy, liberty and
prosperity, let’s do away with belligerence, intolerance, hate, and sectarian interest. Let
the focal point of our discourse be the interest and welfare of our country and people. If
what it takes is a national dialogue, let our intellectuals, elders, and leaders develop the
mechanism and modalities. Let us be guided by the spirit of our forefather that gave their
lives in the hope their children will live in freedom, independence, and tranquility. Let’s
prepare the Ethiopian people and ourselves for the long journey. Not short cuts and quick
fixes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.