By Robella Mash — First of all, I beg Ethiopian friends, brothers and sisters to give credit for all real political opponents who stood against the Meles Zenawi repression and who went to try this past election despite the fact that the outcome was known. By this time, the opposition leaders must know the options they have left to push forward the struggle. To be ONE and ONLY ONE in major issues, i.e. the dissolution of Meles Zenawis repressive machines and institutions. Whatever decisions they may take would be useful as long as they are ONE and ONLY ONE; act as ONE and ONLY ONE on this priority issue 1. Before it is too late as Meles will put them one by one to his notorious prison and other concentration camps like he did in the post 2005 election.
Some news are surfacing that Meles Zenawi is working hard to neutralize the struggle of the mounting opposition of his repression by dividing and again weakening the opposition leaders through the Shimagles (elders) who have already lost their grace 2,3.
Why once again at this time?
The outcome of the election last Sunday, 23rd May 2010, was already decided by the ruling regime long time ago before the election. The Meles regime has taken all the necessary measures to make sure that his win is 100% assured by crippling the political participation of Ethiopians. All those draconian laws imposed by the Meles regime were very clear not only for anyone active in Ethiopian politics but also for any ordinary citizens of Ethiopia and all those who have interest in Ethiopia.
Meles Zenawi was badly in need of the arithmetic of the election to legitimize himself and to completely disband all political dissents in the Ethiopian territory. The figures coming out of this past Sunday election was intended to sell for his donors to continue milking them and, at the same time, to realize other cruel agendas he might have left for the demise of Ethiopia.
Did the artificially inflated election figure give Meles the triumph? Will his political opponents who participated in this election be considered as the big losers? In my view, the answer is no in both cases. This election has clearly depicted how Meles is rather a big loser and to what extent he lost his credibility. In 2005, purchasing people’s vote was in quasi secrete. In 2010, not only purchasing, intimidating and threatening are in day-light. He was so desperate to improve his own score from a real loser in 2005 to a more than 99% winner (well an absolute loser) in 2010.
In recent years, following the 2005 election crisis, among the methods designed by Meles to neutralize any critical views of the international community and divide and kill Ethiopian political movement for freedom and democracy is his home-moulded and home-made life saviours: the Shimagles (elders council). Beyond the missions conveyed to the shimagles to neutralize the opposition parties, the establishment of Shimagles is also intended to send a message to the international communities not to “interfere” in his domestic political affairs as he has got his own “home-made” Shimagles. For some critical and time tested views about these worthless shimagles eg. 4,5.
By now, anyone with a sane mind would not have any doubt what the new mission of these shimagles. They are useless messengers who are rather delegitimizing the blessed notion of shimgilna. In the past, this type of traditional arbitration being used by our people for centuries were effective to settle disputes as it pushes both sides to compromise their views so as to find a common ground. This new shimgilina is an act of destruction of old lived neutral arbitration tradition of our fathers and fore fathers.
The opposition leader must not accept the arbitration of Meles-made shimagles. That would be another political and socio-economic suicide to the Ethiopian public. Meles is trying to destroy their oneness once again. If they enter to his cheap game again, not only the Ethiopian public, the international community would consider them as trash and useless for once and for all. They must not accept the result of this election farce to legitimize the regime in power. He better sleep with it if it comforts him. For sure it doesn’t as long as the outcome is not legitimate and not recognized by the international community.
Some has called for a re-run of the election. That can be an option, among other struggle options. If they push more and hard, the already embarrassed donors of Meles may consider supporting this idea 6,7,8. Thus, they have to make sure and push hard that almost all of the following conditions are met:
1) Replacing the current NEBE staff who are famously know by their pro Meles stand. A staff composed of all political parties (not Meles-made political parties) must be put in place as soon as possible
2) If the international bodies are genuine, which we doubt, the neutrality of the federal court must be ensured. Staff member composition the same as Nr.1
3) The commandment of federal army (known as the agazi army must be composed of all Ethiopians. In the event of election, this army must be put several kilometres away from the election stations
4) International observers, local NGOs and other civil organizations (not woyane recruited ones) must have full access to the pre, during, and post voting process
5) Equal access to public media and respect the right of professional journalists to perform their independent work
6) The release of Birtukan Mediksa and all other political prisoners
7) The participation of the Ethiopian Diaspora in their own country political affairs
Ethiopian opposition parties would lead Ethiopian struggle against repression to a movement for freedom and democracy as long as they learn from their past mistakes, refrain from any counter accusations, and stick to be ONE and ONLY ONE on primordial issue: the removal of dictatorship and building a real democratic Ethiopia. All political opponents who have a national agenda (whether they are in Ethiopia or exiled) must come together and coordinate in the way that would mobilize the Ethiopian people (in Ethiopia and abroad) towards freedom and democracy. Only in this way can Ethiopian people get the support of the international community who have long been mutt or suspicious on our strength to lead a struggle to liberate ourselves.
If not, it seems now very clear what the remaining option to deal with the regime in power.
God Bless Ethiopia
The writer can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org