Saturday, July 21, 2007

Millennial Challenge: Challenges of Accountable Reporting by Internationa Media to promote Good Governance around the globe!

Global Strategic Enterprises, Inc for Peace and Prosperity-;;

Dear Patriotic Global Citizens and Friends of Ethiopia:

Re: Millennial Challenges of Accountable Reporting by International Media in promoting good governance across the globe - the Case of Ethiopia's Complete Pardon of Prisoners associated with the disturbance of May 7, 2005 National Elections....

The recent Washington Post editorial is a very interesting and rather disturbing type of reporting that does not take account of the facts on the ground, but wants to blame the wrong entities and also mistakenly wants to give credit to people who have not mattered in the story of the "Ethiopian Pardon Board and president Complete Pardon with all citizenship rights and responsibilities restored"

One wonders if this is intentional or due to ignorance. In today's age and time with immediate access to digital, print and electronic media and the representatives of US and Ethiopian governments, to err at this gross level is incompetence that cannot be tolerated and the writers should be made accountable with facts.

The most important common ground is transparency and accountability which is the hallmark of good governance among editors of international newspapers as well as other private and public institutions

The facts are very clear. There was a highly contested and well attended election in Ethiopia lat April 7, 2005 where over 90% of the electorate participated- a very high figure even compared to the USA and Great Britain.

The problem arose after the election during subsequent support demonstrations that included misinformation about the outcome of the elections prior to the official count and declaration of election results. Amateurish exit poll and subsequent claims and counter claims about irregularities at the poll generated highly charged conflictual allegations so much so a series of disruptive demonstrations and socio-economic boycott campaigns that would freeze the nation was planned and the government made it clear that such level of disruptive campaigns in an internaitonal city such as Addis Ababa was not possobile and infact banned any form of violent demonstations for a month.

Against this level of heightened security threats and pre-emptive government decrees a series of highly charged and destructive demonstrations were mounted where over 193 lives were lost and property amounting to millions of dollars were lost. As the campaign of terror and socio-economic paralysis were getting out of hand, the government made a series of pronouncement and re-enforcements of the country's security that literally made a heroic sacrifice of the loss of the lives of 7 police officers and to quell what was popularly termed as 'the orange revolution".

Regrettably, quite a number of people lost their lives and liberties due to these distrubrances. The leadership of the main oppositon parties and some of their supporters were charged by the government and the judicial process took over two years and more recently, the final judgement was made, when the defendants refused to put up legitimate defense and arguements against the mounting vis ual, audio and personal terstimonies.

What the post never mentioned and which was the most critical part of the dialogue and due diligence process was a group of people who have been actively working over the past 18 months under the auspices of the "Elder's Council" led by the famous Harvard and Princeton scholar and Professor - Ephrem Issac and the famous Ethiopian Champion Haile Gebre-Sellassie and others.

These great citizens or "Elder's council" have followed the great Ethiopian cultural, traditional and legal framework " of "Indigenous Good Governance" principle of giving a second chance to people who have transgressed social and legal law and customs, that bases its forgiveness or pardon on atonement- which is seeking forgiveness, paying for the transgressions and promising not to repeat the same transgressions in the future.

The real heroes of this unique National Pardon that transpired over the last 48 hours are the people who resurrected the traditional Ethiopian/African culture of 'Indigenous Good Governance" or the principle of pardon based on atonement.

The other great people that should be given full credit are the prisoners who agreed to sign the petition for pardon by taking full responsibility outside the legal system, honoring the traditional culture and the standing of the Elder's Council.

President Bush, Congress and specifically Congressman Payne are important people for the United States of America, but had very Little to do with what happened in Ethiopia over the past 48 hours.
Yes, they had shared their concerns and provided advise, perhaps more through the US Ambassadors and especially the current one who gave an excellent interview to the local private press, called "Fortune". If credit should be given to any one in the USAk, it is the President of the United States of America who preserved the long term relationship of the people of Ethiopia and USA, by facilitating and supporting the alliance of the Great people of Ethiopia against Global Terror against such type of misguided reporting.

The most critical element that is likely to disrupt this unique relationship that has lasted more than a century is the HR2003, that is currently being propelled by the very person the editorial tries to lionize in the attached article.

The relationship of the USA and Ethiopia is abased on good partnership based on respect and mutual win-win partnership. The international media such as the Washington Post should ask the congressman and his associcates how would such punitive and rather pejorative bill that does not look at the Ethiopian people as sovereign and equal partners in the war against terror is the real issues.

The real heading should read IS HR2003 a source of a problematic realtonsip between two great allies focusing on the potential problems that the Democratic Congress is pushing which needs a through investigation and revision.

The people of Ethiopia are planning to celebrate a year long Millennial Celelbratons of Peace and Prosperity. We need the Washington Post and other media as well as the US Congress to seriously consider this unique opportunity already marked by African Union and the United Nations as a unique cultural event of the world to be celebrated between September 2007 and September 2008.

Is the editorial of Washington post reflecting reality and contributing its unique role of promoting transparency and accountability of its own editorial board, US Congress and most importantly the international community.

Please read the attached article and make your contribution by writing directly to the editors of the Washington Post and Congressman Donald Payne about the usefulness of HR2003 in the context of current developments in Ethiopia and Africa.

All the same, democracy is about promoting good governance that is transparency and accountability across all public and private stakeholders. Is the Washington Post accountable and is this editorial transparent by any stretch of imagination is the real question we all should address.

with regards and seeking your creative and alternative opinion and proactive participation by writing to the editors of Washington Post, US Congress, Senate and the White House, I remain;

Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPH
Global Strategic Enterprises, Inc for Peace and Prosperity;

Problematic Ally
The moral hazards of dealing with Ethiopia's Meles Zenawie
Saturday, July 21, 2007; Page A12

MORE THAN once during the Cold War, the United States aligned itself with dictatorial or corrupt, but anticommunist, foreign governments, compromising democratic principles for perceived advantage against the Soviet Union. These choices were not necessarily wrong, but each one put the U.S. on a slippery slope, at the bottom of which lay a completely amoral foreign policy.

The Bush administration's global war on terrorism faces similar moral hazards. Even as President Bush correctly declares that ultimate victory against al-Qaeda hinges on the spread of freedom, he sometimes makes common cause with authoritarian regimes that promise to help eliminate terrorists in the here and now.

Examples: Egypt, Pakistan and, more recently, Ethiopia, whose authoritarian prime minister, Meles Zenawi, was once a darling of the Clinton administration and has also forged close ties to the Bush administration. With Washington's blessing, Mr. Meles sent troops to Somalia in December to expel the radical Islamic Courts movement linked to al-Qaeda.

Yesterday 38 opposition politicians and activists walked out of jail in Addis Ababa, where they had been held for almost two years.

That is good news, but they never should have been there in the first place. After Mr. Meles's party tried to deny its opponents the share of Parliament they won in an election in May 2005, protests erupted across the country, only to be crushed by Mr. Meles's security forces at a cost of 193 civilian lives. (Six police officers also died.) Thousands of people were detained, including the opposition leaders -- 35 of whom were sentenced to life in prison on preposterous charges of treason and inciting violence.

Their release came after they signed a letter taking "full responsibility for the mistakes committed both individually and collectively" and begging for a pardon, which a regime-controlled board granted.

Immediately after his release, opposition leader Hailu Shawel said he had signed the Orwellian statement under duress. But the fact that he and other leaders of civil society were released without restrictions on their political activity is a hopeful sign.

More political prisoners remain. Mr. Meles's troops also stand accused of human rights abuses in Somalia and in the country's internal war against rebels in the Ogaden region. The Bush administration has remained mostly quiet about all of this, though the State Department played a back-channel role helping to arrange the prisoners' release.

The most visible U.S. pressure came in the form of a bill, sponsored by Rep. Donald M. Payne (D-N.J.), which would link U.S. aid to Ethiopia's performance on human rights. It passed the House's Africa subcommittee, chaired by Mr. Payne, this week. Ethiopia is a strategic ally. But it will probably take more work by its hard-pressed civil society, and more pressure from the United States, before it can be called a democratic one.

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