Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Consensus Governance Vs Competitive Governance- 7500 Years of Case Hisotry

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Choices of Governance Paradigm: An Idea whose time has come!

The Proposal: Synergizing Good Governance with STEM based technologies

Is Classical African Governance of Consensus leadership superior to modern Corrupt Corporate Competitive Governance? Which way Africa and Developing countries? This paper proposes synergy of classical and modern form of governance where developing countries can charter their own version of governance by adopting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics based technologies and products to advance their interest in modern global economy.

The Contrast: Collapsing Neo-Liberal and Neo-Con economies and advancing developmental and consensus governance economies - the case for Classical 7,500 Recorded Governance of Baitos, Shengoes and Chefes of Ethiopia- the mother of Egypt, Grand mother of Greece and Great Grand mother of modern western democracy!

At the advent of the collapse of the economic order as we know it, and at the point where Neo-Con nd Neo-Liberal Democracies are fast leading countries into Junk Bond status and bankruptcy,i.e. the impending global economic and ecological crisis that is evidenced by the case of Greece and European Union Bankruptcy and the catastrophic BP Oil Spill in the gulf of Mexico, and Shell in the Nigerian Delta Basin etc. respectively. The time is right and tge issues so critical to re-evaluate every thing! and specially the future of good governance and the lack of it as we know it globally.

By contrast the consistent but slow African Economic Growth, in the face of Global Economic Crisis, demands a new look as it is causing many economic and political analysts to reconsider the whole picture of the global political and economic order for a long time to come. Surely, Africa has had a fair share of natural and man made crisis that has gripped the landscape of political and economic life in the continent for the past 50 years of post liberation struggle for independence. Progress has been made, often very slowly and at times at huge price of lost opportunities for future generations. Things are looking bright and Ethiopia is one shinning example.

Analysis: Identifying the cause and effect of current developments

It is becoming self evident by the day the global community needs to re-evaluate and assess the impact of de-regulations, derivatives and exotic hedge funds to ensure they are in line with our individual and collective value system. We need to esnure that the political and economic theories and practice follow changing events of our time and are consistently supported by fact and evidence based reality!

The latest series of international journals seem to appreciate the evolving tragedy and have interesting headlines addressing this changing trend and read like this:

Reviewing current literature

The latest 28 June 2010 Time Magazine Cover is entitled Your State BNKRUPT; The Broken States of America: How financial crisis of the states affects all of us by David VonDrehle. This is evidence of the last days of Neo-liberal adventurism, and high risk gambling practices of a series of new breed of Harvard MBAs that have croweded the US and European Financial Markets led by first class global institutions more or less practicing the age old witchcraft or voodoos of economics, ie. the hedge funds and risky derivatives and the likes of modern high risk gambling tools that put the Global Economy in serious jeopardy!

The so called "Too big to fail financial institutions" which in effect is nothing but un regulated Corporate welfare, are having every global citizen (Seven billion) of us question, how long can this maddness last? We should look at alternatives to this maddness!

Considering classical governace models!

The classical Ethiopian consensus governance of 7,500 recorded history has some thing to say, if we appreciate the outcome of the recent Ethiopia 2010 elections where the electortes chose, stability, secrity, good governance and prosperity over chaoes and perpetual insecurity!

Africans and especially Ethiopians have had a long experience of consensus governance where every member of society is given opportunity to participate in the local individual and collective governance via the Gadda system where each age group separated by seven years from cradle to grave have a special responsibility appropriate to their age and development. Always looking for win-win options and creating consensus among different interest groups and if agreements are not made, making time pay for deliberations and consultations. No one looses per say but benefit from the collective consensus governance that takes into account individual and collective interests by accommodating choices that have long term consequences, ie. not only in that specific generation but far out in to the future.

The Case of China Vs USA

The latest edition of Fortune, 21 June 2010, has Chairman Mao in a special Uncle Sam Hat in its front page, and has an article under: The Global Economy, CHINA WANTS YOU! and describes that US states like Texas, South Carolina, and Nevada, China are building factories and-lo and behold!- creating American Jobs by Sheridan Preasso. This more or less shows, the role reversal of the Global American Corporations who avoided to manufacture in their own countries, due to the greed of few corporations, who have now inadvertenly are allowing China to dominate US markets directly!

Looking at the latest series of technologies, like Apple Iphone and Ipad where they are all manufactured in China, one wonders what will be the fate of US competitiveness in the changing global economy!

Which way for Developing economies

It is becomong apparent that Developing countries, like Ethiopia have China and East Asian Tigers as a role model to emulate in terms of promoting rapid economic growth and ability to penetrate the Global markets and have a fair share of the glcal economy!

Alternatives to current liberal economies

The US version of Global dominance is fast receding giving way to Development Economies, where the state has a serious stake in the economy of the nation and global markets. The notion of Government is the problem and need to be nothing but a gate keeper is fast becoming history. President Reagan and Margaret Thatcher will roll in their graves and House of Lords respectively, to see their ideology becoming part of the dustbin of history in such a short time. Greed without values converts people in to animals more or less reversing the evolution progress we have made for the past 4 billion years. ARDI, SELAM and Lucy will find us more entertaining than the future AVATAR group who might wonder what happened to that generation that reversed our progress back some billions of years!

Reversing current security, ecological and economic crisis

The current security, ecological and economic crisis needs sound and clear understanding with appropriate qualitative and quantitative research about the Privarte-Public Partnership roles of future Economies. We need to deploy all our scientific tools of Needs Assessment, Feasibility Studies, Double blind retrospective and prospective studies, as well as pilot studies as well as well thought out qualitative and quantitative research methodologies to bear on this challenge. We cannot allow the future of humanity to be decimated by few greedy Harvard MBAs creating all sort of statistical modeling without the appropriate validation tools.

Ethiopian Baitos, Shengoes and chefes!

Ethipia can benefit from promoting its age-old tradition of local governance via accountable people assemblies called: Baitos, Shengoes and Chefes of People's Assemblies in the North, Middle and Southern parts of Ethiopia respectively.

It is time to reassess classical Consensus African Governance, the case for Ethiopia's unique set of democratic principles of :Baiots" in the North; "Shengoes" in the middle and "Chefes" of the most egalitarian "Gedda System" of Ethiopian Oromos, etc.

Promoting STEM Technologies

Ethiopia and developing countries need to import Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics driven technological economies, while preserving its Consensus Governance and Cultural Diversity Model that has lasted for over 8 Millennia.

Global Connect Network: Synergy of ideas, technology and governance

The synergy of ideas, culture and modern technology that prmotes win-wn synergy is critical! Ethiopioa should and can import good ideas, technologies, products and innovativeness and avoid the failed ideas and products like Neo-liberalism and market fundamentalism, that is fast fading from the Global Market of ideas due to its consistent failure that is based on facts and evidence and not pure fantasy or romantic ideals!

Managing Distractions and negative campaigns

I could not help but comment on the recent series of Negative propaganda by Prof Almariam, Congressman Donald Payne, Ted Dagne and Senator Edmond Royce and series of so called Human Right Activists with hidden agenda to destabilize developing economies against the individual and collective interests of Ethiopians, Africans, at home and Diaspora.

It is ironic that the US Congressmen inadvertently are supporting terrorist groups that are sanctioned by the US State Department, US Security Council, African Union, IGAD of East Africa and Arab League. In effect working as surrogates for terrorist foreign agencies within the US government, that is the US Congress Africa Subcommittee. Where does freedom of speech, blatant support for terrorists against the US law become a crime and we take Ted Dagne and Congressman Payne first to Congressional Ethics Committee and then the US FBI and Courts.

They call undermining the interest of the United States, Freedom of Speech and ofcourse it is nothing but their freedom to get bribes from Foreign governments or as the Russiian Spies that were cought recently, we have to wait for long ten years to catch them, after they have done a damage for ten years blinding the US Government and congress with their shady activities under the banner of Human Rights and Global Health fiasco.

Some one has to speak up and the US has to be in charge of its Governance is the real question. Imagine the TEA Party bought and deployed by the Oil Industry trying to undermine the Democratically elected President of the United States in open day light under the watch of the CIA, NSI, the international Media. It is taking place right in front of our eyes.

Now to the recent series of coordinated blackmailing by Pseudo Intellectuals, Journalists and Human Rights and International Rivers Activist whose value does not respond to any social value but their perverted sense of justice that promotes them and them alone!

Let us first explore one called Almariam who is constantly blackmailing Ethiopia, does he have a case?

Re: Consensus Governance Vs Competitive Governance; the case of 7500 years of Governance!

I read with interest the seriesof negative narrativs in the web by an Americanized Professor AlMariam trying to come to terms with Ethiopian elections, by declaring all Ethiopians as "Opposition" because his foolish coteries of incompetent parties who want to ape the West blindly lost tragically in the 2010 Ethiopian elections.

It is the common practice that when elections in the West indicate land slide victories, the natural and normal practice is ask intelligent qualitative and quanitative questions such as what message are the voters sending to themselves and the local and international community?

The British and Ethiopian Elections of 06 and 23 May 2010

When the British electorates produced a hung parliament that was resolved by "Coalition Government", the comment was that the British people are sending a unique message. When in effect, they had only three debates by their leaders in television in a rushed one month election period. In fact they had their first televised debate in 400 years parliamentary democracy. However, a substantial number or proportionof electorates were turned back as the British Election Board did not have enough ballots or time to engage the thousands of electorates. This reality was not referred to as corruption and no one made any big deal about such level of irregularitie and incommpetencies by the British Election Board.

Lessons from 1885 and 2010 Berlin and Niece Conferences

The European Berlin conference of 1885 of collapsing European Governance and economies generated the Scramble for Africa that resulted in slavery and the evil system of colonialism which resulted in the most horrendous crime against humanity. The current series of G8 and G20 Conferences and most recent Niece Conference is looking at Africa as the source of resources for the next generation. The Arabs, Chinese and the Europeans are going to campaigning aggressively for the future clean energy sources in Africa.

The current series of destabilizing campaings are preparing the way for new crimes!

While the Ethiopian election was by far much better organized than the British, the destabilization campaign is directed at Ethiopia and not Britain. As the British election resulted in hang parliament, there was no European Union observers making its lop sided comments! Why the double standard when it comes to Ethiopian election? Is this racism and self hatred of African Americans that Prof Al-Mariam is exhibiting in public?

Why the likes of Human Rights Watch and African parrot scholars, i.e. the likes of sale outs Prof Al-Mariam are working against the individual and collective interests of our people at home and Diaspora? Why we do not see the same level of vitriol against the Japanese, Chinese, and even other Arab and African countries, for example the junta in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Eritrea, and especially Eritrea (Bahire Negash) that was sanctioned by the Security Council in Bahire-Negash (Eritrea)? Where the likes of Donald Payne and Ted Dagne use US pubic money and congressonal hearing time, to protect in public these UN Security Council sanctioned criminals in the Horn at the recent Horn of Africa hearing? This is so funny and ironic that one cannot just ignore it. The US national security is being sacrificed by people like Al-Mariam, Donald Payne, Ted Dagne and no one seems to comment or raise this criminal activity at the Congressional ethics committee! Why? Why?

The Horn of Africa Mafia (Eritrean Gangs) are using the Neo-liberal strategies of Corrupt Corporations abusing the people's governments and interests so efficiently by buying US congressmen and their research associates.

Three Versus Nine Television Debates

The Brits had three debates and only one month election campaigns, whereas Ethioians had nine debates and almost three months camapign. The Brits did not allow all electorates to vote, whrease Ethiopians allowed all 32 Million electorates to vote. The Brits had a hang parliament and the Ethiopians had a clear cut majority to form a government. The Brits have a huge deficit and stagnant economy, while Ethiopians have one of the top five fastest growing economies in the world. Yes, volume and context does matter! But let us look at the process as well as at the outcome dispassionately.

What is international Standard of election: The Ethiopian and British experience!

Comparing the British and Ethiopian election process, when Ethiopia did its fourth televised debates that lasted some three months where there were nine solid debates, it covered diverse set of topics from domestic to international, from social to economy; and the current global economic and ecological crisis as well as security challenges. When the people voted unanimously to elect their chosen party based on knoweledge of the facts and competence and results,etc, what many termed as the most competent elections,etc, what do the European Union and their US counterparts, say oh.... The Ethiopian people are so weak and intimidated by the ruling regime, etc. Are you sure Ethiopians can be intimidted in their private secure, election rooms? Do you really know Ethiopians, are they people who can easily be intimidated?

All the alleged Human Right Activists, who do they work for? Are they Accountable?

The question that Prof Almariam, Amensty International, Human Rights Watch and European election observers have to consider is why the double standard in your evaluations and judgements. Can we make you accountable by demanding for your sources of evidence and methodologies of judgements and all these negative campaigns against the Ethiopian people! Can you be responsive, trasparent and accountable? Can you expand the judgement space that you took for yourselves and allow others to judge you by the same standard you promote to judge Ethiopians? Are these human right activists accountable to any body? Are they elected by any constituency? Their influence far out weighs their respective representations and constituencies!

When do they respect the Ethiopian people choice of sustainable security, good governance and progressive prosperity for all choice?

When will the international community base their comments and opinions on facts and not their respective fantasies.

The hypocrisy of the Pundits

It is ironic that the Election analysts base their political arguments not on facts but their perspectives. Even Election observance should have principles and practice based on Science, that is observe, record, report facts and recommend your perspectives based on observation. One should never fabricate evidence nor pollute the facts as it will result in erroneous conclusion. The case of the European journalist turned politician and chair of European observer is a case in point here.

What the standard of journalists turned politicians and election observers?

Journalists should always ask what, why, how, who, when, and where and, here the EU team has failed in the basic science of journalism. It is as if the 32 Million people voting peacefully in an environment of peace, deliberation and in credible manner itself is not a story worth telling, but their perverted sense of Electoral space overtook their judgement, as if Ethiopians have no brains and cannot choose what is best for them.

This ignorant, condescending, and erroneous attitude has a lot to say about the analysis than the events that took place on 23rd May 2010. Some call this racism, but I call it Greed and outright Genocide and Crime Against Humanity!

Analyzing the Observers and their recommendations.

The Analysts need to be analyzed themselves. The result of the election observers report is very shameful. What took place before, during and after the elections? How many debates were there and for how long? What resources were made available to the competitors both from public and private sources? How many candidates did each competitor field at the national and local elections? How much preparation did each party have, and what was their competency in terms of galvanizing the voters and registering supporters? How many registered members did each competing parties have?

What was the platform of each competing party? Did they have a manifesto? Did they have a national budget to speak of? Normally, the observation process involves asking the right series of questions, then analyzing them, validating them with good statistical sample then making evaluation by using both quantitative and qualitative tools towards an educated recommendation that is balanced, reporting the strength and weakness of the recommendation and error margins.

Unfortunately, this did not happen at the EU obervation and US pronouncements! Why such level of incompetence is tolerated is beyond my wildest imagination, exept to demand that this practice has to change and change fast!

Future Scrutiny of Election 2010 (British and Ethiopian)

Historians and scientists will have a rich source of information to analyze the election data base and the observers’ behavior for a long time to come. At this stage, it is critical to raise the questions for future PhD candidates to pursue, be it at home or in the Diaspora. The days, of accepting foolish ideas on the face with out due diligence is gone!

How did the observers and analysts collect their information? Did they have qualitative and quantitative tools? How did they interpret their data? Did they use any scientific statistical packages? How reliable is their methodologies? Have they put their tools for scientific scrutiny for its effectiveness, accuracy and most importantly scientific reliability? They need to publish their methodology as well as Evaluation tools and how they compared Ethiopia and with which international elections? The British, American, Indian or Kenyan elections?

Judging the Judges of elections!

By any stretch of imagination, the European Observers and the American copy cats did not have a scientific tool to measure and evaluate Ethiopian elections! The little reports and press releases we saw being displayed in Addis recently, fall very short of standard scientific election observation, reporting and evaluation protocol. Who is blaming whom? It is like the crucifixion story all over again! Remember the story of Pontius Pilate, the Jewish King Herod and Jesus the Christ? Blaming Jesus on their standard which is so defective in the first place. It is League of Nations all over again, except this is a Public Relations War while the Fascists were actually gassing the Ethiopian ecology, people, animals, plants and neighborhoods and now this cyber gassing of our people all over again!

Al-Mariam is playing the same role some Ethiopian Bandas (traitors) played some 70 years ago facilitating Fascist occupation of Ethiopia, it is now Public Opinion War and the players are very similar. This is De-javu for many of us who study and live Ethiopian history, day by day. Just the actors are different and the time is different, and the war is different. It all amounts to the same thing, genocide and blasphemy against the interest and sovereignty of the Ethiopian people

This time it is not going to happen easily. We will fight back.

Their competency is far below expectations. Worst of all, when will the sale out African Professors like AlMariam begin to respect the aspirations and the choice of their people and not be a parrot to the European and American and the West's perverted agenda of Human Rights and international standards of election.

The Neo Liberal and Developmental Economic Theories!

The Neo liberals and market fundamentalist have proven to be reckless fanatics who decimated the world economy by their charlatan and cowboy type behavior of deregulations, and using statistical modeling tools without appropriate checks and balances. The current Ecologic and Economic Crisis in the USA is the best example of a failing Neo-liberal ideology of Corrupt Corporate Governance that has gone wild!

The long term havoc they created with their structural adjustments to Russian, Asian and African economies cannot be mentioned here. It requires further research by brillian future generations that are not puluted by Corporate Greed money.

Who is the source of our Ecological and Economic Crisis today?

Give me a break. Who is blaming whom? I Just reviewed what the Goldman Sachs and British Petroleum’s of this world are doing to the US and Global Economy and Ecology respectively. Trillions of Dollars are gone down the tube and no one is accountable. Just watch President Obama being harassed by the loony Tea Party fanatics funded and operated by the Greedy Corporations! Just observe the series of sold out congressmen and senators who block any thing President Obama tries to do, even if it it is their idea and platform. They will do every thing to stop his efforts to re-regulate the financial and mineral industries that are dictating terms to the Corrupt Western Liberal Democracy that has sold out every thing from manufacturing, financial management to tax collection or evasion of the Corrupt Corporations. Surely, no sane internatonal community, least Ethiopia is expected to copy such loony democracy?

That is why the Ethiopian people chose their governement with such level of popularity as the so called opposition or the competitors were projecting this failed ideology and policy for Ethiopia!

The vote was based on facts, knowledge and wisdome of the Ethiopian people!

The Sale Out African Academicians!

Corrupt corporations are not only buying politicians but also research scientists and academicians lawyers! Almariam is the best example of this gross corruption as eviddenced by his behavior in the attached piece and series of articles he writes against the Ethiopian people.

Like the Drug and Pharmaceutical researches who are paid to lie for the corporations, now the legal and political academicians in the West are also becoming a sale out to their masters! We need sanity in the legal and behavioral scientists but this is not what we observe in the AlMariams of this world, who are parroting the fringe Neo-liberal ideologies that is fast becoming bankrupt.

AlMariam unashamedly has declared all the 80 Million and 5 Million Diaspora Ethiopian Citizens are the Opposition ! This is shear lunacy of the greatest proportion. That is exactly what this loony professor is declaring because his incompetent political parties lost in a big way at the 23rd May 2010, fourth Ethiopian Multi Party Elections.

It is time to speak out and expose this conspiracy against the Ethiopian People!

Why does a legal Professor who has never been in Ethiopia continuously write disparaging stories against Ethiopia so profusely. Who is paying him to do such great damage to the Ethiopian image in the cyber world?

Mind you! this Professor is some one who does not want to use judgment based on facts on the ground. Where does one become a Professor, if he or she cannot base their judgments on facts and the evidence on the ground. I see no qualitative and quantitative analysis which is the hallmark of Academia, but gutter reporting based on fantasies and no facts.

Perceptions and Perspectives

Perception and perspectives are based on our image of self and others that is continuously changing, day by day and year by year. It is built on impressions based on evidence, that is based on a series of events, information, knowledge and wisdom that is built over Millennia of cultural experiences and expressions!

In today's world, image is every thing! One can build a positive or negative image of oneself and others, depending on the cultural and social values he or she holds. In the context of elections, the future of a nation and a people is decided how the election results are perceived by the international communities, especially those who are our development and investment partners!

Now, why is Almariam tarnishing the image of 82 Million people. Who gave him the license to kill, and whose interest is he representing. Have Ethiopians voted this man in office to represent them. We need to see his representation and credentials. We do this every day in our day to day activities, why not put Almariam to task?

To whom is this moron accountable? To the Western construct of Freedom of Press that is not transparent, accountable to any one? Are there no liability laws of such level of black mailing a nation and a people?

Image, trust are ingredients for investments and develpment.

An investor puts his talents, resources at projects based on facts, image and impressions presented to him. So, Ethiopia deserves to question those who paint its developmental and investment future negatively. So, let us question this loony Professor why and how does he manage to get his defamation project against Ethiopia?

I some times wonder, what is the point of such level of cultural incompetence and political stupidity! Perception and perspectives are two critical social values we develop over time by cross checking our impressions with those who agree and disagree with us at regular interval. They both need to be based on facts and realities on the ground.

Perception needs to be based on facts!

Perception of self and others is normally modulated over a continuous process examinations, research with qualitative and quantiatie methodologies and effecive communication with self and others! Our culture and value system is built over millennia of experiences of those before us, and the experience of current generation.

We need to consult with the past , understand the present to charter the future! This is where this foolish American Professor gets zero for his cultural and historical competencies. Ethiopia does not consider it's sovereignty and it's governance lightly! Almariam needs to stop reading and writing without a compass; regurgitating American and western perspective on Ethiopia without judgement will merely convert him into a parrot!

Corrupt Corporate Governance Vs Egalitarian Consensus Governance

Ethiopia and African societies govern with consensus, while Europeans govern with competition! Are there differences in outcome and perception? Can we look at these two forms of governance objectively?

Let us reverse the role and some

Imagine, Ethiopians commenting on the moronic Corrupt Corporate Governance that is bankrupting the world with the same zeal as this foolish American professor and MegaloMatis another loony at the American Chronicle web site who spews hate and idiocy at regular intervals. We do not do that as we perceive Americans have systems in place to address it at their Senatorial and Congressional hearing! However, this does not mean we have no opinion and yet we have a better judgment that this loony so called professor than trashing the whole 80 million Ethiopians and 32 million electorates.

Good Governance, GG=SAT

Good governance is about Stakeholder's accountability and transparency and responsiveness to changing situations that impact the primary stakeholders. In this election, the primary sake-holders are the Ethiopian people The election is also about them and not just the competitors! All the election observers and analysts are secondary and tertiary stakeholders!

Whose interest do elections serve: The local people or international corporations?

What level of stupidity does it take to consider you are smarter than all the people of Ethiopians who made their choice and vote on 23rd May 2010. It amazes me what American junk food converts people to! Imagine, telling the US or EU citizens that Africans have your best interest, better than yourselves! Imagine, Ethiopians telling the British that your recent election was not in your best interest as the candidates did not give you enough informaton, did not debate in detail and depth, and not enoughnumber of debates and most importantly the Election Board did not prepare well as they let many voters go home without excercising their voting rights. In shourt, you have not been served well and your election was not up to internatinal standard. In shor, revolt against your government, etc. This is like telling your Grandma you do not know what is good for you! At the end of the day, the primary stakeholders are the local populations! Politics and elections are locally based but projected globally!

Wise people learn from the mistake of others, Clever ones from their own and fools continue to make the same mistake and live in spiritual, emotional and material poverty!

Context and Content:

Proportional representation Vs Simple Majority rule!

The election has context and content that is specific and unique to Ethiopian people. We have had elections during the Emperor's time, and during the Military Dictatorships. The current set of Multi-party elections are different in that the winning party can form a new government. We currently follow Parliamentary Democracy which is single majority rule where 51% votes will give you 100% seats in parliament. Therefore the City of Addis with some 800,000 electorates had 55% votes for EPRDF and managed to give it almost 100% seats in Parliament. We can change this to Proportional Representation as the Brits are considering to do so, after 400 or more years of Parliamentary democracy.

The Ethiopian constrict is based on 7,500 years of Governance

The likes of Professors, activists and European Union Election Observes have to read Ethiopian History and culture first as they try to understand our perspectives. One needs to read Ethiopian history, books in Amharic about Ethiopia; and try to understand our construct, culture, value system, perception of self and others! Most importantly our collective perspective about consensus versus competitive governance! I see a lot of disjointed ideas that do not reflect realities in Ethiopia!

Prof Almariam needs to understand we are not opposition to ourselves! We Ethiopians do not self hate which is an oxymoron construct, only articulated only by those who want to undermine our individual and collective civilization! This is a sale out perspective!

The question for AlMariam is ...does he have real family and social contact with his parents or friends and communities in Ethiopia? Are they part of your network who have sold out every thing and in the campaign to disparage Ethiopia at any cost? I just cannot understand why he does not accept the construct of self respect and preservation? Why the self hate and self disparaging reports? What type of psychology is at work in your tiny fringe universe?

Challenging constructs with Science and Culture!

The time has come to challenge all Pseudo academics who do analyze events based on facts but according to some Board Room perspective of Corrupt corporations who are their pay masters. The experience of Enron, AIG, Goldman Sachs and British Petroleum demands that we challenge every thing, including the Neo-Con and Neo-liberal ideologies of selling out every thing to Greed, where jobs are exported to China, just the moronic investors and corporations are exploiting Chinese workers or are keeping the taxes in some offshore Islands. This greed and disrespect to humanity and the ecosystemhas to be made accountable.

Dissent Vs Consensus

The concept of dissent and opposition, which is a darling for Western Intelligence agencies to manipulate global economy and governance, is not an Ethiopian or African perspective; and as such the majority of Ethiopians do not perceive competitors as opposition! We perceive them as individuals and parties seeking public support on their ideas in the hope of that one day they will be given the chance to govern Ethiopia for the next five years!

No Opposition but Competitors!

The Ethiopian version of governance is based on competition of ideas, and alternatives, and not opposition to the person or parties! Very important construct of differentiating ideas from the person and personalities!

It is about offering choice and alternatives and not creating enemies and un necessary dissent and conflict that the Opposition construct promotes! This is basic and fundamental Ethiopian construct! So the statement of Prof Al-Mariam is out of sink with reality and construct of Ethiopian culture and civilization. We the people and the politicians are not enemies which the opposition translation means and you often do not differentiate either. Please know your content, context and audience before you depose your cultural ignorance in such open rather unfortunate manner!

What is the message of Election 2010?

First and foremost, this election is about Ethiopian people and especially the 32 million electorates. They are the primary stakeholders and all of us are secondary and tertiary stakeholders! Elections are about choosing policies and directions of governance and not about seats for incompetent contending parties!

Second, the Ethiopian People have clearly articulated that their choice is:

1. Sustainable security- that promotes their safety and well being always!

2. Good Governance: Institutions that promote transparency, accountability and responsiveness to the real stakeholder, that is again the Ethiopian people!

3. Promotion of prosperity- that is opportunities for achieving their individual and collective potential for success and excellence.

Ethiopia as the Island of Good Governance in the Horn and the Middle East

Many realistic observers claim that modern Ethiopia is an island of Good Governance, where it is governing a population of some 82 million, the Second highest in Africa with four Multi-party elections since 1991. By comparison, all neighboring countries are a sea of chaos, destabilization and some out right open air prisons and centers of genocide. Somalia is in Crisis, Kenya home to aggressive terrorists, Yemen home and the breeding ground for Arab and Iranian terrorists, Eritrea or Bahire-Negash a living hell and open air prison; Saudi Arabia a modern day theocracy where there is no election; Egypt a country of Autocratic Dictatorships and one man rule whereas, Sudan remains to be one of the most heinous regimes where Ethnic cleansing and Genocide in Darfur is a serious scar in human consciousness

7,500 Years of Governance Vs 400 European and 235 North American Experience

The Ethiopian people have governed themselves for over 7,5000 years via their respective "consensus governance" as evidence by the institutions of "Baitos", in the North; "Shengoes" in the middle and "Chefes" in the South, which in effect means "People's Assemblies, etc.

The concept of the original democratic governance of representation and mandate limited by time started in institutions like the "Geda" System evolved in Ethiopia and was copied by the Egyptians during the reign of the Ethiopian 25th Pharoes who ruled both upper and lower Nile (Ethiopia and Egypt) respectively.

Ethiopia the Mother of Egypt and Greece the master copy cat!

The Greeks copied the concept and then claimed it as their own like they have done to many things Africans they copied from Alexandria.

Over the past 400 years, western democracy has evolved to the modern day of Corrupt Corporation Governance where the likes of BP (Oil Industry) has had two sets of US President Bush I and II and Vice President Dick C who literally brought down the concept of democracy to the construct of de-regulation where the global ecology and economy is in crisis and trillions have gone down the tube.

Corrupt Corporate Dictatorships Vs Developmental economies

Surely, the Prof is aware that Corruption in the Corporate Governance Western countries is in Trillions of Dollars and the destruction of total Eco-system and lifestyle of the Gulf of Mexico. That is really what is at stake and should engage his sharp mind in addressing these pressing issues not far from his computer desk in California. Ethiopia is another peace of cake and he has neither expertise nor experience to comment on. Surely, we cannot afford the West's perspective of democracy that does not respect individual citizens as evidenced by the recent Chairman of British Petroleum who condescendingly referred to the Great American people, as small people. Ethiopian Democracy or Consensus Governance respects all citizens and ensures that the interests of all citizens is considered and respected.

The recent edition of Foreign Affairs is a true reflection of what the Neo Con and Neo-liberals are turning to? Imagine the group that stole 4 Trillion Dollars from the Global Economy blaming Africans who had nothing to play in the current economic crisis. Distraction and seeking weaker groups to blame has been the hallmark of Neo-Con and Neo-liberal ideologues.

The performance of the Ghanaian Economist is deplorable to say the least. Prof AlMariam and this disgusting Ghanaian economist are just sale outs of the cause of the people of Africa, preparing the next wave of neo-colonization like they did some 120 years ago at the Berlin Conference of 1885- African Colonialism or genocide against the people of African descent.

In the end who is the owner of Neo-liberal democracy of the West, the corporations or the ordinary citizens? The recent economic and ecological crisis of the US, and the World, clearly shows who is in charge and who do the politicians respond to. So, Ethiopia and for that matter no other nations on earth, can copy the US version of democracy which I refer to Corrupt Corporate Dictatorships.

STEM Vs Governance

Ethiopia and developing countries could benefit from Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics based industries but not from Corporate Dictatorships,

The days of copy cats are over, go to Ethiopia and report and analyze based on facts not fantasies at computer terminals from California?

This loony Neo-liberal Corrupt Corporate Democracies of the West, is based on hedge funds, derivatives and deregulation, etc that is not good for the Greeks who just found out that they are nothing but a Junk Bond, and the same is becoming true of the Italians, Portuguese and Spaniards. In short, the European Union is fast joining the junk bond movement to poverty!

The experience of 400 years of competitive governance and win-loose or loose-loose governance is not taking the west too far!

Ethiopia cannot and will not convert it self and its governance into junk bond and derivate securities, etc.

The professor needs to study the history of Ethiopia and I will refer him to www.SolomonicCrown.org to appreciate where Ethiopians come from and where they want to go!

It is clear that Ethiopians are the masters of their destiny and no one can change that!

Ethiopia does not need an American Professor to pontificate on its culture of governance by literally copying and pasting the Greek, German, British and American construct without understanding the Ethiopian construct first and foremost.

In today' world of Global Connection, yes, we can learn from each other, but to have such level of passionate condescending comments, it is below the pail

The concept of competitive democracy is new to Ethiopia, as Ethiopian civilization is based on consensus rather than winner takes it all competition.

The concept of Opposition which literally means enemy in Amharic translation does not exist in the Ethiopian political language. We refer to them as leaders with alternative vision and mission and choice.

Understanding Governance

Politics is the art of the possible and the science of good governance, and it is based on facts and events that are understood in the context of the culture and social values of the communities or stakeholders concerned. As such the Ethiopian construct is about dialogue, consensus and win-win options. However at times, best options and compromise options are considered. Never in our construct do we consider political competitors as enemies or opposition.

Competition for alternatives

The governance competition is for best option political leadership and it is about competencies. Competition of Political, Economic and Social policies, organizational leadership, and competency of a winning team. As such the political parties can be competitors and not enemies. So, Prof, with due respect, there is no Opposition in Ethiopia and you or any one of your friends, like Amnesty International, International Crisis Group, Human Rights Watch Group, US Congressman Payne, Senator Feingold who I refer to arm chair remote control politicians, can not impose your perverted sense of Governance on the Ethiopian people.

Where does the notion of Opposition come from? It is not African

Ethiopia is the mother of Egypt and Grand mother of Greece. By the time the notion of governance reached Greece it was corrupted to mean Corporate Dictatorship. By the time it reached to Rome, it converted into Criminal gangs of Mafias who control the Catholic church and the political space. The old Divine Feminine construct of Ethiopian governance has been changed to testosterone filled corrupt violent terror!

The construct of opposition, dissent is not Ethiopian but alien construct. Hence Ethiopia can not be judged by alien construct that is out of sink with its civilization, social value and governance structures.

I am sorry there is no opposition in Ethiopia but political leaders with alternative views and perspectives. The current election result is mere choice of the people about a political and economic governance for the next five years! We are in the business of constructive engagement, development and investment and not derivatives and deregulation to promote Global and local monopolies by few corporate structures!

Now, this can change after five years, but it has won the hearts and minds of Ethiopians today~!

I am afraid, Prof Al-Miriam’s series of commentaries and analysis and recommendations are not based on facts on the ground but on your own perception and fantasy based on misinformation and mostly on secondary and tertiary corrupt information that is relayed from California based desk top computers!

Invitation for first hand research

I have met Prof Almariam in past, once at The Washington DC American University where he was you pontificating as usual about human rights and judiciary, etc. when I personally commented on his usual observation that was not based on the realities on the ground in Ethiopia and invited you in public to visit first Ethiopia and make your observation and communication available to Ethiopian people. The invitation still holds as he is becoming more and more aggressive in his writing without supporting evidence based on fabricated second and third hand information.

Unfortunately, reviewing his writings to-date, one is left to wonder that he is getting worse and worse by the day and this article is a clear indication of misplaced pontifications that are out of sink with reality on the ground.

The Ethiopian Perspective of Election 2010

For the record, let me share with you the Ethiopian perspective and analysis of the 2005 and 2010 election outcomes!

As this is rather a unique African and Ethiopian cultural lingo, you might not appreciate it, but it is called Sem ena Work, Wax and Gold in English.

The Ethiopian Sem ena Work Perspective

Enqoqilish? Min Awqkilish? Give me a Country? The USA. The USA is the most beautiful country in the world with challenges of Corrupt Corporations threatening the global economy and gulf ecology. The US needs developmental state economics where the Government needs to assert its regulatory responsibilities both in the Energy, Finance, Ecology and Economy, Health and Education sector, etc.

Here is the answer with overt and covert meanings called Sem and Work i.e., translated Wax and Gold to reflect overt and covert


1. What is the similarities between the so called Opposition in Ethiopia and the Racing Car in Europe?

2. What is the difference between the Lion and the Bee?

Answer: Opposition Vs Racing Cars

1. Sem/Wax: Both the European Racing Cars and Ethiopian Opposition have only two seats!

2. Work/Gold: Both will soon crash with each other soon!

Answer: The Lion Vs the Bees

1. Sem/Wax: The Lion leaves plenty after a kill for the Hyena and Vultures, etc to feast

2. Work/Gold: The Bees leave nothing behind for any one they clean up every thing.

The Ethiopian elections are about the wishes, aspiration and will of the Ethiopian people and not about any body else.

The British had an election on 06 May 2010, and had only three debates between the leadership This is their first televised experience in 400 years of Competitive Governance Elections. Ethiopia had nine and Ethiopians voted based on knowledge, whereas the Brits voted without enough information a hung parliament or resulted in a Coalition Government.

The Brits did not accommodate all the electorates and many returned home without voting! Ethiopia accommodated every body!

There goes the European Union Observes analysis about Ethiopia, not meeting international standards of election obervation. Fortunately for the Brits, they invited no EU or AU or USA observers. Ethiopia's problem was it was too accountable to the international partners, and they betrayed her like they did at the League of Nations!

The lesson for Ethiopia and developing countries, is only invite your own citizens to observe elections, and ignore loony comments from American Professors like Almariam, etc.

Do people like Prof Almariam get it, that is, will they change their behavior and patterns of journalism or blackmailing Ethioopia?

I have my doubts, they will not stop or change their perspectives, as they have an alternative mission, different from the Ethiopian electorates.

However, the choice is simple? Be part of change and the new wave of the future, or else one is forced to be part of the dustbin of history!

Mind your business! is the message!

Mind your business and campaign for BP and Goldman Sachs to be accountable. First clean up your own house before you comment on the noble and humble Ethiopians. Please do not forget the one in five African-American kids who are rotting in Texas and Colorado Private Prisons and the crisis at Gulf of Mexico; and the recent Arizona Racist Immigration Ruling that might interest your sharp legal mind!

In short mind your business and leave blameless, noble Ethiopians alone!

The Ethiopians rule the Andromeda and Cassiopeia Galaxies in the heavens and rule over their destiny on planet earth!

No one, professor or observer can change the will of the Ethiopian people!

I trust you get it and learn from the famous Ethiopian proverb that goes!

..."Wise People, Learn from the Mistakes of Others,

Cleve ones from their own mistakes, Fools and ignorant, continue to make the same mistake over and over, and remain in abject spiritual, emotional and material poverty!"...

Wise Ethiopians continue to choose security over terror, good governance over dictatorship; prosperity over poverty! The question is can Prof and his activists be on the side of the Ethiopian people or continue to cry for the loss of his Derg Patrons who are rotting in Harare US Parking lots!

Challenging old perspectives with new ideas!

That is the question this Prof has to answer for himself and not pontificate over a construct of opposition that does not exist in our vocabulary or civilization. The professor might benefit by traveling to Ethiopia and basing his comments on first hand information. Armchair, second hand remote politicians do not have reality on their side!

Research Pyramid, CORT Analysis and NDSIM and option appraisals

The time is right to challenge all old ideologies, hypothesis, notions under a new light of investigative science where we ask what happened, why and how. Who is responsible and when did it happen and where? This Research Pyramid questions should be supported by CORT Analyses questions that is Challenges, Opportunities, Risks and Threat analyses and then the use of NDSIM (Need, Demand, Supply Interaction Model) where 3As, 3Es and FoC, that is Accessibility, Affordability, Accountability; and 3Es of Efficiency, Effectiveness and Equity are undertaken in an environment of Freedom of Choice, what Behavioral Economists refer to the Parity Equity Synergy. The option should be either best option or win-win option!

Lessons from the Geda System (Baitoes, Shengoes and Chefes)

Surely developmental economic policies are closer to this concept of Good Governance of Synergy of Parity Equity than the market fundamentalist or Neo-liberal illusion of Corrupt Corporation Dictatorship which is bankrupting the US and European Union unless Government takes its right full place of regulating and creating a balance and check system in place. Now is the time to look for New and Creative solutions, including the classical African Consensus Governance of Proportional Representation and term limit of the "Gedda" System of Classical Ethiopia.

African Millennium Renaissance.

The implications of the Ethiopian 2010 election and landslide victory is a starting point for a new wave of transformation of African governance, i.e. NEPAD implementation, where 50 years of African Liberation under liberal democracy is being challenged as a new way forward! The African Renaissance demands new ideas, new innovation, new technologies and new strategies of Good Governance that is accountable primarily to African people.

With regards and seeking to learn from your alternative perspectives;

I remain yours sincerely

Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPH

Founder and Chair

African American Ethiopian Political Action Group Network




Ethiopia: Speaking Truth to the Powerless

By Alemayehu G. Mariam

Note: In my last commentary[1] on the theme, “Where do we go from here?” I suggested that the ruling dictatorship in Ethiopia following its 99.6 percent “victory” in the May 2010 parliamentary “election” will continue to do business as usual in much the same way as it has over the last two decades. In this commentary, I focus on the Ethiopian opposition collectively and argue that they must atone and reinvent themselves if they hope to play a significant role in that country’s future.

Always speak truth to power; but sometimes it is necessary to speak it to the powerless too. Truth must be spoken not only because it renders naked the hypocrites and villains, but also because it has a cathartic (cleansing) effect on its defenders. Above all, it must be spoken because it is the quintessential requirement of freedom: “The truth shall make you free.”

It is in the spirit of freedom from the burdens of past political blunders and poor judgment and the freedom to invent a new spirit of democracy in Ethiopia that I offer this commentary to the Ethiopian opposition. My aim is not to lecture or to bash; I leave that job to the dictators who are the true experts. When I speak my mind freely about the Ethiopian opposition, it is merely to help “clean out the closet”, as it were, so that we could begin afresh on the long walk to democracy. It is said that the “truth hurts”, but I disagree. I believe the truth heals, empowers and liberates its defenders.

Holding a Mirror to the Ethiopian Opposition

Now that the hoopla around Meles Zenawi’s “election” is over, it is time for the Ethiopian opposition to take stock and re-think the way it has been doing business.

We begin with the obvious question: “What happened to the Ethiopian opposition in the make-believe election of 2010?” Zenawi will argue vigorously that he defeated them by a margin of 99.6 percent (545 of 547 parliamentary seats). If that were the real “defeat” for the opposition, I would not worry much. Losing a sham election is like losing one’s appendix. But there is a different kind of defeat that I find more worrisome. It is a defeat in the eyes and hearts of the people.

I am afraid the opposition collectively has suffered considerable loss of credibility in the eyes of the people by making a public spectacle of its endless bickering, carping, dithering, internal squabbles, disorganization, inability to unite, pettiness, jockeying for power, and by failing to articulate a coherent set of guiding principles or ideas for the country’s future.

In the 2005 election, there was a unifying spirit among the opposition. For that reason, they were able to trounce the ruling dictatorship in a free and fair election. What was monumental about that election was not only the fact that the opposition thumped the ruling party, but they did so with overflowing and overwhelming public support.

On May 7, 2005, a week before elections that year, the opposition was able to hold a rally in the capital for an estimated 3 million people. On May 15, over 26 million people voted freely giving the opposition a decisive victory in the parliamentary elections, including a clean sweep of seats in the capital. Of course, the elections were stolen by the current dictatorship after hundreds of unarmed protesters were massacred and shot in the streets and thousands more imprisoned and disappeared.

The point is that in 2005 the Ethiopian people put everything on the line-- their lives, their livelihoods and their loved ones. Fast forward to 2010: “Where did the people go?” That was the question asked by Awramba Times, the only struggling independent paper in Ethiopia that is the regular object of the dictatorship’s wrath and fury.

The people did not vanish merely because Zenawi had unloosed his trigger-happy goons on the streets. Perhaps they did not show up because they had lost faith in the leadership of the opposition. When Zenawi herded the opposition leaders into his dungeons after the 2005 election, the people kept faith with them. They kept them in their hearts and minds and thoughts and prayers.

Did the opposition leaders keep faith with the people after they were “pardoned” and released from prison? That is perhaps the hardest truth for the opposition leaders to face and accept. I have heard it said anecdotally thousands of times. The opposition leaders have deeply and sorely disappointed the people. In their words, deeds and conduct, they have failed to uphold and sustain the people’s dreams, aspirations and longing for justice and democracy.

As best as I could summarize it, the people feel betrayed and abandoned by many opposition leaders in whom they placed so much trust.

The Opposition Through Zenawi’s Eyes

Zenawi knows the opposition like the opposition does not know itself. He has studied them and understands how they (do not) work. Careful analysis of his public statements on the opposition over the years suggests a rather unflattering view. He considers opposition leaders to be his intellectual inferiors; he can outwit, outthink, outsmart, outplay, outfox and outmaneuver them any day of the week. He believes they are dysfunctional, shiftless and inconsequential, and will never be able to pose a real challenge to his power.

In his speeches and public comments, he shows nothing but contempt and hatred for them. At best, he sees them as wayward children who need constant supervision, discipline and punishment to keep them in line. Like children, he will offer some of them candy -- jobs, cars, houses and whatever else it takes to buy their silence. Those he can not buy, he will intimidate, place under continuous surveillance and persecute. Mostly, he tries to fool and trick the opposition.

He will send “elders” to talk to them and lullaby them to sleep while he drags out “negotiations” to buy just enough time to pull the rug from underneath them. He casts a magical spell on them so that they forget he is the master of the zero-sum game (which means he always wins and his opposition always loses).

For the first time in nearly twenty years, he is now changing his tune a little because the opposition seems to be wising up and Western donors are grimacing with slight embarrassment for supporting him. The kinder and gentler face of Zenawi is slowly being rolled out.

After his “election victory”, he extended an olive branch to the opposition wrapped in his inimitable condescending cordiality, magnanimity and paternalism. He solemnly “pledge[d] to all the parties who did not succeed in getting the support of the people… as long as you respect the will of the people and the country's Constitution and other laws of the land, we will work by consulting and involving you in all major national issues.

We are making this pledge not only because we believe that we should be partners... [but also] you have the right to participate and to be heard.” In other words, he will set up a “kitchen cabinet” for the nice opposition leaders to come in through the back door and chit-chat with him. But they will never be allowed to get out of the kitchen and sit at the dining table.

Who is the Opposition in Ethiopia, Anyway?

Opposition politics in the African political context is a tragicomedy. Beginning with Nkrumah -- the father of the one-man, one-party state in Africa-- opposition parties and groups in Africa have been staged, suppressed and persecuted by those in power. Just a few days ago, it was reported that “14 opposition political parties have declared the Meles Zenawi-led EPRDF party as a winner of the 2010 elections, conveying congratulatory message.” This is like the chickens congratulating the fox who snacks on them for doing a good job guarding the henhouse.

It is nutty, but quaintly African. Where else on earth could an election universally declared to be a sham and a fraud be blessed by lackeys organized to look like opposition parties? Are these 14 “parties” the Ethiopian opposition? How about those political parties that are permitted to run for elections just to window-dress the ruling party and make it look good and democratic?

Is the opposition those parties that are handcuffed and chained at the starting line while the ruling party sprints to the finish line? Is the opposition that amorphous aggregation of weak, divided, squabbling, factionalized and fragmented parties and groups that is constantly at each other’s throats? Or is it the grumbling aggregation of human rights advocates, civic society organizers, journalists and other media professionals and academics? Or are the groups committed to armed struggle and toppling the dictatorship by force the opposition?

What Is to Be Done by the Ethiopian Opposition?

Atonement and Reconciliation With the People: There is the well-known parable of the prodigal son who took riches from his father and squandered it all. He returned home believing his father will reject and disown him. But the son asked for his father’s forgiveness.

Filled with compassion and love, the father forgave his son. There may be a good lesson here for the opposition: They need to go back to the people and ask forgiveness for squandering their hopes, dreams and aspirations. They need to say to the people, “We did let you down. We are deeply sorry. We promise to do our very best to earn back your trust and confidence. We will correct our mistakes.

” In my view, atonement is the first thing opposition leaders need to do before they can begin to reconnect with the people. I realize that many of us (including myself) find it exceedingly difficult to admit we have done wrong or made a mistake.

We feel that it is a sign of weakness to say “I am sorry, I messed up.” But the real and tragic mistake is to know one has done wrong and irrationally insist that wrong is right. The people deserve the unqualified and public apology of the opposition leaders. They will be forgiven because the Ethiopian people are decent, understanding and compassionate.

Work Collectively for the Release of Birtukan Midekssa and all Ethiopian Political Prisoners: Birtukan Midekksa is the symbol of the democratic opposition in Ethiopia. She is the one paying the ultimate price. Zenawi has made her his object of ridicule. But she is the personification of the spirit of the Ethiopian opposition. We must work tirelessly to get Birtukan and all of the thousands of political prisoners in Ethiopia released.

Learn From Past Mistakes: It is said that those who do not learn from past mistakes are doomed to repeat it. Many mistakes have been committed by opposition leaders in the past. They need to be identified and lessons learned from them.

Understand the Opposition’s Opposition: The opposition’s opposition should not be underestimated. Their strength is in dividing and ruling and in playing the ethnic card. If the opposition unites and acts around a common agenda, they are powerless.

Develop a Common Agenda in Support of Issues and Causes: The core issues democracy, freedom, human rights, the rule of law and the unity of the people and the physical integrity of the Ethiopian nation are shared by all opposition elements. Why not build collective agenda to advance and support these issues?

Agree to Disagree Without Being Disagreeable: Opposition leaders and supporters must abandon the destructive principle, “If you do not agree with me 100 percent, you are my enemy.” There is nothing wrong with reasonable minds disagreeing. Dissent and disagreement are essential conditions of democracy. If the opposition can not tolerate dissent within and among itself, how different could it be from the dictators?

Guard Against the Cult of Personality: One of the greatest weaknesses in the Ethiopian opposition has been the cult of personality. We create idealized and heroic images of individuals as leaders, shower them with unquestioning flattery and praise and almost worship them. Let us remember that every time we do that we are grooming future dictators.

Always Act in Good Faith: Opposition leaders and supporters must always strive to act in good faith and be forthright and direct in their personal and organizational relationships. We must mean what we say and say what we mean. Games of one-upmanship will keep us all stranded on an island of irrelevance.

Think Generationally; Act Presently: The struggle is not about winning an election or getting into public office. The struggle is about establishing democracy, protecting human rights and institutionalizing accountability and the rule of law in Ethiopia. It is not about us. It is about the younger generation.

Give Young People a Chance to Lead: The older generation in the opposition needs to learn to get out of the way. Let’s give the younger generation a chance to lead. After all, it is their future. We can be most useful if we help them learn from our mistakes and guide them to greater heights.

Zenawi thinks he can mold the young people in his image so that he can establish a Reich that will last a thousand years. He will never succeed. If there is one thing universally true about young people, it is that they love freedom more than anything else. Let the older generation be water carriers for the young people who will be building the “future country of Ethiopia,” as Birtukan would say.

Think Like Winners, Not Victims: Victory is not what it seems for the victors, and defeat is not what it feels for the vanquished. There is defeat in victory and victory in defeat. Both victory and defeat are first and foremost states of mind. Those who won the election by a margin of 99.6 percent project an image of being victorious. But we know they have an empty victory secured by force and fraud. The real question is whether the opposition sees itself as winners or losers. Winners think and act as winners, likewise for losers.

Never Give Up, NEVER: Sir Winston Churchill was right when he said: “Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

What is NOT to Be Done by the Opposition: “Fool Me once, Shame on You; Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me!”

There is talk now that Zenawi is shuttling his “elders” (shimagles) to do a deal with the opposition. It is even said that if the opposition leaders have been warned that if they do not negotiate and publicy accept the “election” results, they will soon be joining Birtukan.

The last time Zenawi used his Trojan horse “elders” to deal with the opposition, he put a noose around their necks. Birtukan Midekksa is in prison today precisely because she took a “pardon” deal from the “elders”. Now she is doing a life sentence because she allegedly violated the terms of her “pardon” deal. This is how she explained it a day or two before Zenawi threw her back to prison:

… Let me start with the negotiation by the elders; the basic spirit of the negotiation by the elders was to bring about an agreement acceptable to both parties and to create a spirit of reconciliation and to continue the political process. This is why its progress took several months.

In this, regarding the problem that was created following the 2005 elections, instead of following the path of making one party wrong and another party right, the country elders mediated with the objective of having each party ask for forgiveness from the people and from each other, presented to both parties points that would bring about a spirit of reconciliation, mediated these points between the parties, toning down the parties' opinions as much as possible, and move forward by proving their determination to their political outlooks on fundamental issues.

The negotiation through the elders that was focused on reaching a negotiated agreement through a give and take deal was based on not only a willingness on the part of the government but also through its participation. … Nonetheless, even at that stage, the spirit of reconciliation to which the negotiation was directed did not change.

Even though other points of agreement were left behind, the elders expressed that if we signed that document which was crafted on the spirit of our country's culture to say to each other let it be settled, the matter would stop at that stage, the file would be closed, and pushed on with their elderly mediation…. In connection with this, agreement was reached "to release all prisoners in the country put in jail in matters related the CUD [Coalition for Unity and Democracy] without preconditions; to start direct discussions between the government and the former CUD leaders; for the parties leaders to continue their party's duties without restrictions….

Not only was there no follow up on the “negotiated agreement” and no political prisoners released, Birtukan herself ended up being the number 1 political prisoner in the country.

For Birtukan, it was Faustian bargain: In exchange for walking out of prison and staying out, Zenawi demanded her soul. But she would never sell her soul, so she is now back in Zenawi’s underworld. Just remember Birtukan when you see the slithering “elders” come bearing gifts and talk with forked tongues! “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”

As I have argued before, much needs to be done to reinvent and revitalize opposition politics in Ethiopia.

I raised some questions above about who the opposition is in Ethiopia. I will answer them now. The opposition is anyone who believes in and stands for genuine democracy, protection of human rights and institutionalization of the rule of law, accountability and transparency in government. The Ethiopian opposition is anyone who stands against dictatorship, tyranny and despotism.

Are you part of the opposition?

Alemayehu G. Mariam, is a professor of political science at California State University, San Bernardino, and an attorney based in Los Angeles. He writes a regular blog on The Huffington Post, and his commentaries appear regularly on pambazuka.org, allafrica.com, afronline.org

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Comment from: gebrai [Visitor]
Thank you professor.
Permalink 06/08/10 @ 02:04
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Comment from: kuli-bali [Visitor]
Dear Alemayehu G. Mariam

Great Analysis. Thank you for your time prof.

Permalink 06/08/10 @ 02:07
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Comment from: alebachew [Visitor]
looks like Al is losing hope??!!
Permalink 06/08/10 @ 02:43
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Comment from: justin [Visitor]

The TRUTH is your last article revealed you are a little slow upstairs as you were puzzled, befuddled into thinking EPRDF won 99.6 of the votes, not the seats. But I think most of us knew the state of mind already.

ኢትዮጵያ ለዘላለም ትኑር
Permalink 06/08/10 @ 04:30
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Comment from: Dereje [Visitor]
Like Michael Jackson said:

"Start with the Man in the Mirror!"

That means you.
Permalink 06/08/10 @ 04:34
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Comment from: addis zemen [Visitor]
"YE Abune zebesemayat torr siwerewer enji siwega ayitayim"

Nobody in Ethiopia cares about your crocodile tears you are shading from banda land artera. Ethiopians are busy building their country.in a great enthusiasm and eagerness.

You and your likes keep on throwing your poison laced ill-will imaginery spears from banda-land. it will never land or harm anybody in Ethiopia.we keep on marching forward never to look back.
Keep on salivating Al.
Permalink 06/08/10 @ 05:12
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Comment from: addiiss [Visitor]
Hey Al, try to practice what you preach!!! Weren't you the pole bearer for all the division and infighting of the opposition? didn't you shun Hailu Shawel and flaunted with Birhanu and co?

Al, it is the lowest of all lows, to advise Birtukan, to denounce the "elders" and remain in prison!!! Don't tell others, what you don't want tobe done to you...
Permalink 06/08/10 @ 05:21
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Comment from: Korat [Visitor]
Mr. Alemayehu

You've got to remember 99% of Ethiopians are illetrate and ignorant! What you are emphasizing is over our head. We have been "dingay ras" for centuries and it will not change for a while. Maybe in 2060?!?!?!?
Permalink 06/08/10 @ 07:27
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Comment from: MonaliZ-a [Visitor]
I love opposition that has convictions ---> Birtukan Mideksa in Kality concentration camp for Justice and Librity to all of us.
Revenge is always the weak pleasure of a little and narrow mind of nefsegeday tplf thugs.

your time will come to be hanged in shame.

thank you professor Al ye ethiopia amlak balehbet yettebkeh.
Permalink 06/08/10 @ 07:57
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Comment from: yoh [Visitor]
who ever you are professor or Doctor

of Poletical science.you are living here int
the united States and trying to constractthe Ethiopian poletics. First of all you have to try to go back to help your country your Origin place and teach them what you learned.Second please dont try to show your self as advicor and real poletician by
feuling the diaspora.It does not help any body, not us and also not for your self.

These people are trying to build an new nation and they are ambicias. I was born during Derg and grown up during this time
and I see changes now, and I see peace and slow proceperity.. so let they work and they learned a lot and they are doing there best
so don't talk to much if you really want to help Ethiopian go back home and help the country in its poletical development... p

Permalink 06/08/10 @ 08:41
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Comment from: awlonefas [Visitor]

Not that i am in any position to give any comment, feedback what have you to this high caliber Prof. But as I sensed seriousness in his writing this time, would like to comment one of his point. With his own admissions truth does not hurt so I ll have a free ride ….. he asserts,

“In the 2005 election, there was a unifying spirit among the opposition. For that reason, they were able to trounce the ruling dictatorship in a free and fair election”

In 2005 the oppositions were neither more united nor the election free & fair than this time, period. Yet that time the people were confident the opposition had full of apt politicians and hoped to get more from them than EPRDF, they have also anticipated the opposition to be nationalist (not narrow but rational one) and more realistic what the concern of the people and the country pertains.

Above all the public were confident the opposition to be smarter and wiser than EPRDF. Bluntly put none of these has materialized for the overwhelming mass! Every steps they took then after were mishap and devastating, since then they have earned no significant attention form the international community and no visible success from their domain to report. The only thing the people noticed is how hell bent and disgruntled they all are, except provoking havoc nothing new comes from.

According the oppositions the country is in dire famine all the year around, illiteracy growing, nothing but ethnic tension all over and no economic growth for the last so many years.

On the other hand people not blind they see at list few things are moving than anytime before, the government earns one international acknowledgment after the other in open for everyone to see. Zenawi as Al would like to call him is entrusted to administer a 100Billon dollar endeavour and to top it all he can virtually decide how to raise the money from well to do nations, i.e. not a phoney but real money. Yet, the oppositions as blind as they were/are squabble in minor issues, throw one blanket accusations after the other, denial and more craps….

What the people looking for is, a competitor, a more better one, one which is smarter to bring rigorous growth in all directions. Oppositions must be able to say look the areas administered by us, have much higher economic growth, low child mortality, clean water at their disposal and what have you this too confirmed by credible sources this and that. None of the kind were to observe! Instead they left Kebeles and Weredas uncontested and told the inhabitants afterward not to worry they will come to their rescue during national elections.

If the people had not taken all this seriously, would have been a miracle! Now the consequence is many elections are necessary to get hold of any constitute at all, that too if the opposition is well organized and have a good support from out and in, above all is in a position to show a lot for the public to be persuaded. To bring a significant electorate shift will take even more and longer! If this does not hurt what else does?
Permalink 06/08/10 @ 08:43
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Comment from: The Benjamin’s ($100) [Visitor]
This is what politics all about Mr. Alemayehu...Look at all your comments what they are suggesting,

“Zenawi knows the opposition like the opposition does not know itself. He has studied them and understands how they (do not) work”.

“He tries to fool and trick the opposition. He will send “elders” to talk to them and lullaby them to sleep while he drags out “negotiations” to buy just enough time to pull the rug from underneath them. He casts a magical spell on them so that they forget he is the master of the zero-sum game (which means he always wins and his opposition always loses)”.

Great politician approach should be considered with Barack Obama, Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan etc... Seeing our great leader to be mentioned with this statue must be icing on the cake

Permalink 06/08/10 @ 08:56
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Comment from: HAYELOM [Visitor]
I think this is one step to positive analysis,however there is an undercurrent of bittrness in the professor's analysis. I dont know why the professor failed short of "calling a spade a spade".The opposition failed because its political views and strategies were divorced to the reality.

The opposition lost because they lagged behind the people they were suppose to lead.The opposition lost because they are advancing a politics of hate. The opposition lost because they did not trust the people instead they attempted every internal issue to be decided/influenced by foreigners etc.The professors attempt to revisit the reality is something that should be encouraged, however it fails short.

Permalink 06/08/10 @ 09:56
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Comment from: belay [Visitor]
well this is a step to the right direction, hopefully its not too late. most of us has been saying the opposition in many ways is worst than the incumbent that has managed to more or less bring some sense to ethiopia in the past 20 years. the main problem with the opposition is its thinking that just hating, condemning and fighting the government is all that its needed from it by the people.

now it seems they are begining to learn that is not enough. they are learning the people have a way to punish them and correct them as they did recently by their vote. but would they learn or just keep crying as they usually do. we will wait n c.

" But there is a different kind of defeat that I find more worrisome. It is a defeat in the eyes and hearts of the people. I am afraid the opposition collectively has suffered considerable loss of credibility in the eyes of the people by making a public spectacle of its endless bickering, carping, dithering, internal squabbles, disorganization, inability to unite, pettiness, jockeying for power, and by failing to articulate a coherent set of guiding principles or ideas for the country’s future. ...
Learn From Past Mistakes: It is said that those who do not learn from past mistakes are doomed to repeat it. Many mistakes have been committed by opposition leaders in the past. They need to be identified and lessons learned from them."
I know how difficult that is for people who see themselves as angel and the other side as devil.. so i wish you good luck but, just in case try this your biggest mistake was 'not appreciating and protecting your surprising victory and gain in the last election and instead going after the government and its supporters as enemy'.
Permalink 06/08/10 @ 09:56

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Comment from: Kuku [Visitor]

The Prof. lost hope in Ethiopian politic's long a go. and he may never recover from it, because he only understand what is in the book of utopia. that is my take of him.
Permalink 06/08/10 @ 09:58
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Comment from: Chala [Visitor]
Good says,
But it should start from your self as you are a head of the oppostion in diaspora you should be the first to say Sorry for the people of ethiopia.

as you wrote rubbish and guided the opposition to wrong direction.
Permalink 06/08/10 @ 10:04
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Comment from: sami1 [Visitor]
Thanks prof AL..
Keep on writing.

Opposition are being dumped on by Meles and the public who does not know Meles's game.

Yes, they have thier own weakness, but that does not mean they have no hope at all as Meles and his buddies cry!
It is time for all Oppostion to be united and have one voice of bringing Democracy!

They have to build the party in UNITY to bring free ELECTION. Thier weakness is they are being fooled by Meles and his worshipers to just fight with word they talk in the city only instead of convinsing the rural they are commited to do better. United Ethiopia with freedom will do better than what is happening now.

All should fight for them to get security while canvasing. Educate all supporters to wear a tishert with thier party name on it. YOu do not have to rally on square but wear T-Shirt to work and on the week end anywhere... That will intimidate the EPDRF and do something silly which will expose their harrasment.

Show you want change to unit and have a real democracy... All these progress will continue even better.

Permalink 06/08/10 @ 10:19
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Comment from: Ment4you [Visitor]
Meles is a dictator period!
Permalink 06/08/10 @ 11:40
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Comment from: woldeyesus [Visitor]
Thank you Professor!
It is a good advice to all parties (rulers, oppositions, the people).

In my opinion, the so-called opposition and the people are as guilty as the rulers in creating this unfortunate situation. After the 2005 election abortion, instead of getting at each others throat, the opposition could have tried to sit down with themselves and the administration to make ways of rectifying the problems for the 2010 and even 2015 elections.

Instead, they chose to kill each other since the palace is kept out of reach anyway. In other words, they did not think about the future of the country but their own current return on investment

That is why I feel much safer in woyane's hands than in new hungry ones. Until they prove otherwise, the opposition should not be allowed near that not so blessed palace!

Permalink 06/08/10 @ 11:42
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Comment from: Invisible [Visitor]
Why don't you go the country, live in the country, speak to the country people, see what is improved and not in the country and talk than talking that is defecating the readers.

Haily Shawel is in the country, but you and Berhanu Nega, enjoying your life in USA not knowing you both are systematically slaves in USA. Stop preaching innocent Ethiopians.

The true freedom fighters fight with public in the country not outside of the country from closet. You chicken heads you both have your own small world with your own small brain that doesn’t make the right decision for the country to develop.
Permalink 06/08/10 @ 11:42

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Comment from: Arbegha [Visitor]

Tplf cadres dont change your name to our ethnic name we know you so call your self chala? you never herd of this name while you were in your cacoon tigrea donot play games in oromo name use your own TPLF or EPLF names it fits you well dont assumed Chala[ traitors] CADRES GO BACK TO SUDAN WHERE YOU BELONG LEAVE THE COUNTRY for real tigrgha GET IT ?? long live Ethiopia

Permalink 06/08/10 @ 12:15
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Comment from: ankober [Visitor]
al al al
as always an analysis attemted to show off your intelect.Once again you miserably failed.
Permalink 06/08/10 @ 12:39
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Comment from: yoni [Visitor]

"he (Meles)can outwit, outthink, outsmart, outplay, outfox and outmaneuver them any day of the week."

Mr. Al...

The above statement was not your words...you need to reference them...

As a prof you should know better.

You need to be expelled from the University...PLAGIARISM !

Permalink 06/08/10 @ 12:53
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Comment from: De La Manchu [Visitor]

The trashing and total rejection of the opposition by the EPRDF in the election of 2010 in Ethiopia is a lesson that the Ethiopian people love the leadership but 1. There was not a viable opposition party worthy of their trust to lead and improve their lively hood better than what they have got now.

2. The fear of the people towards those who consider themselves more equal and more Ethiopian, merited to decide the type of government and the shape of their nation, the compulsion and dictation of the language the people need to speak and the blood line that was required that excludes the majority of the Ethiopian people the whole nine yards of the failed system of the past. They had fought long and hard and shed their blood and their health to go back to carry the old rugged cross and to put on the old shackle they threw away once and for all to keep Ethiopians more equal and more inclusive that is the panacea for the UNITY OF THE NATION to have a descent chance to survive.

The elites of the past old and unequal system specially those in the diaspora who will forgo the unity, health and prosperity of the nation even if it comes to the genocide of the likes of Rwanda to put themselves back on the only comfortable throne they were used to and forced to abdicated by the barrel of the gun.
In order for the people of Ethiopian to enjoy a more democratic and harmoniously united nation, those who want to regain the paradise they think they lost need to regain the trust of the Nations and peoples of Ethiopia that they don't entertain and disavow their hidden agenda of an empire of ethnic hegemony and oppression they did practice in the past. The people of all the Nations of Ethiopia have sacrificed so much to get ride off the evil empires of feudal exploitation and fascist terror and death camps.

Permalink 06/08/10 @ 14:47
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Comment from: Girma Tessema [Visitor]
Alemayehu G. Mariam,

If you can’t be here, you can’t preach fool to innocent Ethiopians. What you know is how to ignite violence to peaceful Ethiopians, and for that matter, to the country as the whole.

Where were you when EPRDF were fighting to topple Dergue regime and after they succeed, they develop the country more than any other leaders in history of Ethiopia? You like to enjoy your life in someone else’s energy and blood. You should be ashamed of yourself.

A message for Berhanu:
you couldn’t even give straight answer for simple questions when you were asked by journalist. Yet you want to a leader of a big country like Ethiopia. One of qualifications to be a leader for Ethiopia is you have to live in the country and know the needs of people and know how to build good relationship with world leaders.

Education without common sense is castrated pig that doesn’t produce a fruit. You and Alemayehu are no different than castrated pig.
Permalink 06/08/10 @ 15:16
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Comment from: Extraterrestrial [Visitor]
You are the master proponent of Hate Politics, until today in your tiny dark heart hate politics against the Ethiopian government was pro forma and acceptable without regard of its consequence.

Almost in every move the Ethiopian government made wheather it was to represent Africans in Copenhagen or establishing commodity exchange with state of the art technology you make an international level of a mockery out of all the efforts.

Now all in a sudden it seems you are trying to turn around and blame the opposition in an attempt to shift the blame. You and the Ethiopian diaspora contributed to the great extent in promoting hate politics and pushed the opposition to take hate politics as a stratagy to bring change and when it fails you are now trying to run away.

You are a slow learner and worest of all you are learning from experience which is a sign of having little mind.

You and the useless diaspora world can't escape from the blame of creating a confused opposition in Ethiopia.

Permalink 06/08/10 @ 15:23
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Comment from: George [Visitor]
I have the same opinion as Hayelom above. The so called prof in his long essays always potrays hate politics. It is in his current desertation that he has tried to be constructive and perhaps a little genuine.

One thing I would like to tell this man is that in the 2005 election the opposition wanted to take power of government armed with hate politics and mongering, and they managed to win in the capital. In the recent election has described the predicaments of the opposition pretty well.

One question I wish to ask the man how desrcibes a dictator? Is Meles really a dictator as Mengistu, Hitlor, Mussoloni, etc? I am really lost!!!!!!!!
Permalink 06/08/10 @ 16:37
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Comment from: Berhe [Visitor]
Mr G. Mariam,

You are wasting your time. We do not need educated people like you. We are not supported by educated people but depend on our force, tricks and determination to keep power.

We don’t care what the oppositions think or do. We pass laws that only works for us and against oppostions. Such as:

Closing all schools because students don’t support us and the our law does not permit them for any kind of protest.

Call in all our supporters from all over the world to come out and show support in Addis so they look like Addis’s residents.

Ban all media, election observers we thought will not support us and allow only the one that are in our control.

Threatened people to take their homes and businesses and fire them from their work if they do not vote for us.

We didn’t have to do any thing different with Britain and our foreign supporters because they already know how much we want to keep power for as long as we can.

Ethiopians do not deserve democracy but ruling them by force and we are all about force and money.

How do you expect us to get money. By going to school like you. No man that will not work for us when we are getting it right away.
Permalink 06/08/10 @ 16:50
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Comment from: kul [Visitor]
Dear Prof. Al Mariam:

I cannot believe you finally talked about giving the new generation a chance!!!!! Power-mongering old tugs on either sides of the political spectrum are the real enemies of Ethiopia.

As long as the remains of the rotten generation of EPRP, TPLF, EPLF, OLF, WPE, etc are still alive, we, the new generation, will not see any hope at all. I just wish all of you old tugs are gone (I mean naturally)
Permalink 06/08/10 @ 16:59
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Comment from: Berhe [Visitor]

My friend these educated people and oppostions do not listen to us. They hope our PM and president Meles for 25 years will go down easly. They never learn from our past history.

I said it before, forget about democracy, educated people and vote.

For your and westerners sake we pretended to have an election. But the problem we created now is this big number, the 99.6 percent “victory” in the May 2010 parliamentary “election”.

As much as we were prepared to keep power in our control we were not prepared to be laughed at by this big number.

What can I say, we are in Africa and we take numbers of people they did not vote for us and turn it around and use it. That is our style of democracy and our PM is again the winner.

Permalink 06/08/10 @ 17:10
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Donor darling: What Ethiopian poll can teach Africa
Page last updated at 15:07 GMT, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 16:07 UK
E-mail this to a friendPrintable version By Will Ross
BBC News, Addis Ababa

Ruling party supporters have been angered by foreign criticism of the polls What do a sports car and the Ethiopian opposition have in common? They both have two seats.

This joke is doing the rounds in Ethiopia after an almost embarrassing landslide victory for the governing EPRDF party and its allies left the opposition with just a lonely brace of seats in the 547 member parliament.

There is no word for "landslide" in the local Amharic language, but they need one now.

The European Union said the polls were marked by restrictions on political freedom and the unfair use of state resources, and there is international concern over increasing repression in Ethiopia.

Continue reading the main story
The United States has every right to use its tax payers' money as it sees fit
Meles Zenawi

Ethiopian prime minister
But Prime Minister Meles Zenawi will not be losing any sleep.

A thorough trouncing is much better for the nerves than a nail-biter and it is unlikely that Ethiopia's relationship with donor countries will change significantly even if a few fingers are briefly wagged.

The money will keep flowing.

"The United States has every right to use its tax payers' money as it sees fit," Mr Meles told reporters after his victory.

"If they feel that the outcome of the elections are such that they cannot continue our partnership, that's fine.

"We shall be very grateful for the assistance they have given us so far and move on. Clearly we are not a protectorate," he concluded.

Such comments are easier for Mr Meles to make now that he has a new friend in China - it will not utter a squeak over the elections.

Islamist buffer

China is helping with many infrastructure projects in Ethiopia - including an offer of a $500m (£344m) loan from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China for the construction of the controversial Gibe Three hydroelectric dam.

Ethiopia receives aid worth around $2bn a year, mostly from the US and the UK.

The feeling amongst many donor countries is that the country desperately needs help in fighting poverty, and the money is being spent relatively wisely by Mr Meles's government.

They see real progress: For example, a recent report by American researchers pointed to success in reducing child mortality.

China is behind many infrastructure projects in Ethiopia The report said that in 1990, 202 Ethiopian children per 1,000 died before the age of five. In 2010, the rate had halved to 101 deaths per 1,000.

Of course, Ethiopia still has a long way to go in comparison to somewhere like Singapore, where there are just two deaths per 1,000 children under the age of five.

Ethiopia is also a donor darling because it is seen as an invaluable buffer against the growing Islamic extremism in Somalia.

When it comes to America's foreign policy, any concerns over shrinking democratic space or eye brow leaping election results are totally trumped by any help in "the war on terror".

Mr Meles could be receiving a few phone calls from other African leaders searching for election tips.

Continue reading the main story
The Ethiopian capital is famous for staging the hugely popular 10km race, the Great Addis Run, but now all talk is of 'the Great Addis Turn Around'
Paul Kagame of Rwanda may not need the advice but his neighbour in Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, could do with a few hints on how to change the face of politics in the capital, Kampala, ahead of 2011 elections.

The Ethiopian capital is famous for staging the hugely popular 10km race, the Great Addis Run, but now all talk is of "the Great Addis Turn Around".

Greatest enemies

In 2005, the opposition won all 23 parliamentary seats in Addis. In 2010 it kept just one. How?

The efficient well-oiled governing party machinery was a key factor - I lost count as to how many people told me that "the EPRDF only woke up in 2005".

It was helped by the fact that the opposition was divided and fairly disorganised.

But many Ethiopia watchers suggest you have to look at what happened to the opposition over five years to get the whole picture.

Continue reading the main story
If you try sending an e-mail from Ethiopia to the Committee to Protect Journalists, it miraculously bounces back
Almost 200 opposition supporters were shot dead when they demonstrated against what they saw as election theft in 2005; thousands were arrested, including opposition leaders who were sent to jail for close to years.

Birtukan Mideksa remains behind bars after being accused of breaking the terms of her pardon.

Press freedom has also been under attack. Journalists have fled the country since 2005 and if you try sending an e-mail from Ethiopia to the Committee to Protect Journalists, it miraculously bounces back.

Filming on the streets of Addis Ababa, it was hard to find people prepared to say on camera that they supported the opposition - many suggested that would be asking for trouble.

Addis Ababa has undergone great change in the last five years The governing party dismisses all these allegations but analysts point out that the Ethiopian government is only willing to allow a certain degree of democracy and that will always be the root of friction with the donors - China excluded.

US-based Human Rights Watch said the government pressured, intimidated and threatened Ethiopian voters and said the most salient feature of the election was the months of repression preceding it.

One publication recently suggested that the Ethiopian government's greatest enemies were Eritrea and the weather. Human Rights Watch could also be added to the list.

It clearly angered the government as it shone a light on allegations of repression that no election observer team would be able to find - partly because they were not allowed in the country early enough.

But the African leaders hoping for tips from Mr Meles should also realise that hard work is also useful ahead of an election - it wins votes.

The scale of the housing estates being built on the edge of Addis Ababa is nothing short of staggering.

Time will tell how good the quality of the construction is, but there are also impressive eight-lane roads leading to these suburbs.

The development is by no means restricted to the capital: access to healthcare has improved in the rural areas and in Lalibela, 700km (about 435 miles) away from Addis Ababa, new classrooms are springing up and roads built.

Kenyans, Ugandans and others may be freer than Ethiopians but their list of "What my government has achieved" would be miserably short in comparison.


Economic CommentaryShare

In response to a commentary by a writer whose name this newspaper withheld upon request, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) posted, last week, on its website (www.mfa.gov.et), the following response. It is a rebuttal, point by point, of Fortune’s anonymous author whose commentary was headlined, “EPRDF Aims for Chinese Model Legitimacy, Not Democracy.” In the interest of fairness and balance, we have republished the response here.

Is It about Democracy, Really?

The spectacular success with which the recently held election was conducted has been widely debated throughout the country. The enthusiastic support that the results of the election received from various sections of the peoples of Ethiopia has also been all too palpable.

The pre and postelection developments have shown to the whole world that the peoples of Ethiopia have no use for violence as a means of expressing their support for or opposition to contending political parties.

The fact that the majority of the opposition parties have already conceded defeat and vowed to continue to work on the basis of the interparty cooperative framework already in place was another welcome development that helped instil confidence in the overall process. To the extent that there are few voices of rejection bent on violence or street action, they have little, if any, going for them as the peoples of Ethiopia are unequivocal about their commitment to the ideals of peace and democracy.

There is indeed consensus even among supporters of the opposition that the results were in fact the true reflections of the will of the people.

Ironically, the largely peaceful and calm conduct of the election has also generated a lot of negative interest among too many a commentator both from within and abroad.

Though very few, the chorus of criticism of detractors is getting louder with each passing day. One such commentary by an anonymous writer did appear in the English weekly Fortune, headlined, “EPRDF Aims for Chinese Model Legitimacy, Not Democracy” (Volume 11, Number 527, June 08, 2010).

The commentary showcases almost a laundry list of all the accusations often flung against the credentials of the government by many foreign commentators. It is clear that it was written by people who are disinclined to give the incumbent the benefit of the doubt even for a moment for reasons that have nothing to do with whether or not the election results reflected the true will of the peoples of Ethiopia.

The assumptions embedded in the commentary are unmistakably ideological and betray an entrenched bias not only toward the government but also toward the peoples of Ethiopia.

It is full of assumptions all too liberally assembled to fit the writer’s preconceived notions of all that has gone wrong in Ethiopian politics. Even the very fact that the name of the author is withheld speaks a lot about the writer’s intentions. It would be all too naïve to ask if such could have been the case if the article was to appear in a western newspaper.

The basic assumption of the commentary is that an election in which the results fall short of unseating the incumbent - much less one in which it wins a landslide - could ever be considered even remotely legitimate, no matter how free and fair its conduct might have been. It contends that the ruling party had completely discredited its “already soft democratic credentials with the farcical elections of 2010,” that is to say, the results of the election which saw the ruling coalition sweep the great majority of parliamentary seats.

The author of the commentary thinks that the result is unjustifiable and further asserts that the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) won a victory of force, “fully convincing Ethiopians that the cost of opposition is pain and exclusion, even death.” But these assertions are mere innuendos woefully bereft of even the scantiest of evidence. In fact, all the observer missions in this election have made it abundantly clear that there was hardly any substantive merit to such a claim.

As if to make up for the yawning gap between such a hollow claim and the realities on the ground, the anonymous author takes refuge in the threadbare argument that the people of Ethiopia must have thought better of voting “against a ruling party that will refuse to relinquish power, anyway,” a position that is also shared among a great many commentators who have difficulty coming to terms with any prospect of the EPRDF’s remaining in power no matter how stellar the credibility of its electoral gains.

The claim of Human Rights Watch (HRW) that the election results were proof positive of “the retrospective falsification” of the process springs to mind.

The anonymous author, like man

y likeminded commentators, is not even remotely interested in the extent to which the electoral process was free and fair. It is the result that matters, and, even so, it is the identity of the party winning the election that matters most. True to form, this commentary is full of references as to how donors should leverage their aid “to beat the EPRDF into line,” as to how the results are “farcical” or “unjustifiable,” but there is little by way of attempting to show how unfair the process was. Even the magnanimous gesture of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to bring onboard all opposition parties loyal to the constitution is nowhere mentioned in the commentary.

The explanation is simple, of course. The only democratic and credible outcome is one in which the incumbent loses, shares powers with the opposition, or is weakened to such an extent that it will be kept on its toes for the remainder of the term. Reading the Fortune piece, for example, one could not help wondering if the author believes that the EPRDF should have parcelled out parliamentary seats to opposition bigwigs so that there would be some semblance of competition.

As much as the author would wish to have us believe that she is interested in democracy - free and fair elections and respect for popular will, that is - the commentary is rather about some ill-disguised ideological assumptions that have nothing to do with protecting the interests of the Ethiopian people.

The main thrust is on what Ethiopia should do to accommodate the interests of forces which have made it their business to arm-twist it into submitting to their terms. It is about the kinds of concessions it needs to make in order to win the benediction and, hence, legitimacy of forces other than the peoples of Ethiopia.

As the tell-tale headline of the commentary suggests, Ethiopia under the EPRDF’s leadership is being accused of defying the orthodoxy preached by some in the West. True, its socioeconomic policies and strategies may sometimes become harder to pigeonhole into ideological compartments acceptable to these forces. But this has everything to do with the realisation that, in order to succeed, politics and economics need to reflect local realities.

It is not uncommon for these groups to use one political discourse or another in order to sell a given economic narrative amenable to enhancing their own interests. As the anonymous author of this particular commentary repeatedly claims, the EPRDF has never parted with “Marxist” ambitions nor will it adopt a “truly market based” economy such as he would have liked to see in the country. The results of the recent election are therefore proof that the EPRDF is indeed drifting further away from the path of free market economy, which, incidentally, is equated with its breaking with its commitment to democratic ideals.

One of the self-serving assumptions in the commentary concerns the EPRDF’s preferred sources of legitimacy - nationalism and prosperity - as a substitute for democracy, as if nationalism and prosperity are mutually exclusive with democracy. It is quite a strange dichotomy, indeed.

Even more interesting is the claim that the EPRDF’s economic prosperity, which the author also tells us is way too exaggerated without caring to show how, is in fact meant to buy legitimacy from the peoples of Ethiopia. Whipping up nationalism, the author tells us, is a whole lot easier in Ethiopia because of “the rampant xenophobia” that permeates Ethiopian society. To even try to counter such a bizarre, no less, libellous characterisation is tantamount to dignifying it by response.

But the paternalistic tone is unmistakable. The commentary is replete with many such condescending remarks.

The author clearly resents what he believes to be a kid-glove treatment that the EPRDF has always and will continue to receive from the West. She even wonders – angrily, one might add – why Western governments “are willing to be reviled publicly by the Revolutionary Democrats and still shore them up.” The author does not stop there.

As if to dare donors into action, he goes on to reassure them that, despite their (Ethiopians’) unrealistic view of themselves as being “the centre of the Earth,” and “major players in the war on terror,” they are in fact marginal players.

In a sheer display of visceral contempt, the author tells us that “the West’s distinct interest is in not having another big famine on the world’s TV screens.” He then goes on to express his frustration that “strong action could not be expected against Ethiopia’s phoney elections” because “the West is not heavily concerned with human rights and democracy in Africa.” Ironically, the author appears to resent what she calls “Ethiopia’s marginal importance” as the reason why the “EPRDFites” are getting away with whatever wrongdoing he imputes to them.

In this case, the EPRDF’s fault lies in fiercely defending its economic policy autonomy and its unwillingness to submit to the dictates of others.

Ethiopia, we are told, is drifting further away from democracy because the West is not willing to beat the EPRDF into line, by failing to leverage the aid it provides to the country. The author exhorts Western donors to get serious with the EPRDF because failure to do so, she argues, will spoil it into disregarding, as it were, their interests.

That there are too many Chinese businesses in the country and throughout Africa apparently is fuelling the anonymous author’s fear. Through all this, what is conspicuously missing in the commentary is any mention of how all this would contribute to making the democratic process in Ethiopia any more vibrant than it has thus far been. Nor is any clue given to Ethiopia as to what measures it needs to take to ensure that the democratic process stays on track.

This raises the question of whether, indeed, the whole issue of democracy is just a smokescreen to advance another agenda far removed from the interests of the peoples of Ethiopia. What Ethiopia needs, the author intimates, is “a strong and unmitigated statement of commitment to the free market and openness to change.”

The author explains what she means by free market, lest readers should be mistaken. It is a system in which “the banking and telecommunication sectors, weak compared even to the rest of Africa” are fully liberalised. Where elections come in here is anybody’s guess.

In case readers miss it, the author also reminds us, in unmistakably paternalistic fashion, that trying to import the Chinese economic system is unwise, not in the least because Chinese “deep anti-African racism could make European colonialism look like a school picnic.” What is striking here is how little or no regard is made to the national interests of Ethiopia and how flexible becomes the notion of what constitutes legitimate democracy or not.

When Ethiopia does business with China it is rendered suspect; when it hands over strategic economic sectors to foreigners at the expense of its national interests, it qualifies as a reliable partner. Ethiopia’s choice does not have any place at all in the discussion.

The author’s trenchant bias against the Government of Ethiopia is only understandable. It is not altogether difficult to understand that he has bones to pick with the political order in Ethiopia, either. First and foremost, Ethiopia’s democracy is that of its people, and that is the only yardstick by which its success is to be measured.

As for the use of aid to influence politics, one can only say that this is a tried method that has utterly failed several times over. As much as Ethiopia treasures its friendship with its partners East or West, North or South, it does not, however, allow others to choose its friends for it. The Ethiopian people have said as much, and prudence would demand that others heed this.