Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Millennial Opportunioties: Timely Accountability and Transparency needed!

Global Strategic Enterprises, Inc for Peace and Prosperity- www.globalbelai4u.blogspot.com; www.SolomonicCrown.org

Dear Patriotic Global Citizens and Friends of Ethiopia:

Here is a delayed report of what transpired in November 2003. It would have been useful to have shared it on time, so that informed opinions would have shaped the dialogue of the time.

All Ethiopia is the founding member of CUD- the main opposition party that spent 20 months in Kaliti Jail following the failed Orange Revolution or Insurrection as the current government puts it and as Political Prisoners their contenders put it.

All the same, it is an ineresting perspective of the recent past from which all concerned parties can learn from.

Here I present to you the former Imperial Ambassador and the present Diaspora Delegate to an opposition party congress in Addis, held some time in 2003.

Just a remembrance of past deeds and promises.

November 13, 2003.

Selam All,

The following is a summary of my views about the All Ethiopia Unity Party (AEUP) National Conference held in Addis Ababa in July 2003, in which I participated. I apologize for publishing it so late after the event, health and other personal reasons made it impossible to do it earlier. Anyway, better late than never.

I would like to impart my thoughts and hope that they will be of interest to you. For me it was a unique and most rewarding experience that has rejuvenated my faith in the people of Ethiopia and my hopes for a great and prosperous future for our country.

First I would like to express my thanks to the Washington AEUO Support Committee and to the US AEUO Support Committees Coordinating Board for delegating me to represent them at the AEUO National Conference. I am particularly grateful for the effort that each member of the Washington DC Committee has made in raising the funds necessary for the mission.

The AEUP National Conference started on schedule. To the credit of the organizing committee, to whom much compliment is due, it was remarkably well organized and proceeded smoothly from the beginning to the end.

About three hundred delegates representing over three hundred thousand AEUP members, in 243 Woredas in 15 fifteen provincial zones all around Ethiopia attended the conference.

See details as follows:

Central Committee 41 delegates

Addis Ababa Zone 17 “’

South Gondar 17 ‘”

North Gondar 11 “”

East Gojiam 25 “”

West Gojiam 04 “”

Gojiam Awi zone 04 “”

North Showa 11 “”

East Showa 11 “”

South Wollo 17 “”

North Wollo 18 “”

Tigray Zone 03 “”

Bale Zone 20 “”

South Ethiopia 21 “”

Dire Dawa 04 “”

Harrar 03 “”

Kefictho zone 03 “”

Jimma 04 “”

Total 243 Woredas (Districts)

Each delegate representing one Woreda.

Since the conclusion of the Conference the number of Woredas in which AEUP is represented has risen to 290. Considering that there are only 520 Woredas in the country, this gives a fair chance to the AEUP of winning a majority in the elections, provided that these will be fair and provided that the party gets an unflinching and vigorous support from all of us.

The vast majority of delegates came from farming and peasant communities. In addition to these were some teachers and trade unionists. Over half were funded by their own communities, which must have entailed a heavy sacrifice for impoverished people who barely manage to keep alive. What must be greatly admired is that these people came from all corners of Ethiopia with great personal risks of detention, imprisonment, beating, dislocation and even death at the hand of the regime’s cadre and kilil officials.

In view of the vast diversity of the localities represented by the participating delegates the gathering was truly pan-Ethiopian, in which an unmitigated and genuine grass root “ POPULAR VOICE ” was heard. What was most impressive was the seriousness and sobriety in which the dialogue was carried out throughout the conference, considering the extreme conditions of poverty and debilitating life conditions of the people.

For instance, we hear a lot about the starvation in areas affected by the drought but actually the same conditions exist in all urban areas, where unemployment is over sixty-five percent and where it is augmented continuously by people migrating from many areas of the country in search of work, food, shelter and safety from ethnic and political persecution.

Furthermore, one observes an obscene disparity of wealth, especially in Addis Ababa, between those who have, that are less than one-half percent of the population, and those who have not. Please don’t compare this with any condition that exists in the US or most other countries, this must be viewed in the context of Ethiopia, who is amongst the last four poorest countries in the world.

I am talking about an abject unqualified poverty that has sapped not only the body but also the spirit of the people. I have lived through the Italian occupation, during which I was even imprisoned in a dreadful concentration camp in Somalia for almost two years, I have never seen our people so down beaten and despoiled and our nation desecrated as they are now.

Over sixty- percent of the population is below twenty years of age, Since there is hardly any development that creates jobs, for a young Ethiopian the future promises nothing but hopelessness and dejection.

Despite the much publicized Poverty Reduction Program, Capacity Building and countless other projects, into which billions of dollars of foreign aid have been poured, the GDP has gone down by 3.4 percent and the miserable Income per Capita of US $87 per year is estimated to be reduced further.

The latest excuse for the lack of development is the population increase, which falls into some dichotomy. As we are told on the one hand that the population is being decimated by AIDS, Malaria, Meningitis, hunger and so forth, and on the other hand that the population is multiplying at a rate that impedes development.

As we all know the main cause of all the turmoil and misery which the country suffers is not for lack of domestic resources, neither of foreign aid of which Ethiopia is one of the highest recipient country.

In fact our country has received ten fold more in foreign aid and political support in the past twelve years than the aggregate aid received in all our past history. The main reason for our illness is nothing but bad and corrupt governance coupled with a ruthless bad faith and utter incompetence.

For the past twelve years that regime has shown glaring contradictions and inconsistencies by starting and undoing one act after another. Based on party loyalty, and riddled with nepotism, cronyism and corruption from top to bottom the EPRDF rule has become incoherent and irremediably incapable of providing good governance.

Mr. Meles the Prime Minister who has mastered some gab to entertain convincingly foreign officials, has little to offer in terms of experience and ability to govern a complex country like Ethiopia. Moreover, a national leader who has been hiding from the people behind armed guards and security walls for the past twelve years, can hardly claim to have the confidence of the people, even of those of his former constituency in Tigray.

In short the EPRDF regime whose main component is a minority within a minority, is no more viable and can govern only by coercion and rigged up elections, that will lead inevitably to future crisis and conflicts. It is hoped that the US and donor countries, who have been so far the main supporters of the regime, will reckon this grave situation and will develop policies geared towards winning the heart and mind of the people. What is good for the Middle East is also good for Ethiopia, and most likely with a much better chance of success.

In spite this atmosphere of despair our people have not given up their Ethiopian identity, to the contrary their nationalism and patriotic fervor is greater than ever before.

More than ever the great majority of the people across the nation who have gone through the bitter experience of ethnic politics, have rejected emphatically the divisiveness prophesized hereto by the regime and sundry parties. The very success of the AEUP pan-Ethiopian program, which has spread like a wild fire throughout the nation, is a live testimony of this popular ‘revival of national consciousness’. I have spoken and discussed with many of the delegates.

I must confess that I was highly impressed by their profound knowledge and deep understanding of the country’s problems. Their perceptions and aspirations were based on the realities of daily life in Ethiopia, unfettered by the imaginary assumptions that we in the Diaspora tend to believe as the true conditions of our country.

Hence, I believe that at this point in time and certainly in the future the most powerful engine of change are the people themselves. In the past thirty years the Ethiopian people have seen their history, traditions, religions, cultures and mores trampled upon and debased by their own kin.

They have shed their blood, wasted their lives, sacrificed their children, being arbitrarily deprived of their wealth and most of all of their personal dignity and national identity. They were deceived by a phony revolution that has brought nothing but destruction, poverty and misery. It was not because they were fools or lacked history or knowledge of justice and good governance.

They were swindled and betrayed because of their genuine and innocent desire to do better and improve their lot. From now on they will not fall again for the same tricks. It is also time for those who aspire to leadership and bring the country to the right course, to do some real soul-searching. The country and the people deserve no less than an honest and visionary leadership dedicated to toil for their good, instead of funky politics and personal gain.

With this in view I support the AEUP because: a) It is active on the ground in Ethiopia, b) It’s leadership has shown courage and commitment to its ideal, c) It is a pan-Ethiopian mass movement with large grass-root support across the country, d) It believes in a plural democratic system of government, and e) it stands for the unity and integrity of the Ethiopian nation.

Lets us join hands and win the freedom of our people.

Ethiopia LeZelalem Tinur

Ke Talaq Akbrot Gar

Imru Zelleke

P.S. Since the Conference members of the AEUP have been arrested, beaten, imprisoned, moneys confiscated and offices ransacked and generally harassed in twenty-six Woredas in south and north Wollo, north and south Gondar, north Showa and west Gojiam. This type of persecution is being carried out all over the country against all legitimate opposition parties.





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