#4, Role of Western Governments: Educational discourse


What can be done?


# 4. Periodically Review and continue to engage in an educational discourse with Ethiopians in the Diaspora and in Ethiopia.


"Respect the Vote" is the overarching and unifying slogan of the nonviolent movement. The focus on the "Respect the Vote" principle does not point to personalities, individuals, organizations, or parties. It focuses on the interests of Ethiopia. We are proud of those entities that work toward the overarching principle of "Respect the Vote", and we encourage others to join in the movement including those that might have faltered from focusing on the overarching cause.


We note with disgust that the EPRDF which has denied 299 constituents fro sending duly elected representatives to the Ethiopian parliament, has gone further to deny on October 10, 2005, the parliamentarians of Kinijit from having their immunity and ability to enter parliament.  Clearly, of the 547 total number constituents over 400 constituents are denied representation in the EPRDF parliament.


We note that the European Parliament has expressed its Yum Kippur (Oct. 13) concern regarding the injustices perpetrated by prime Minster Meles. Remembering that the EU had also passed a similar concern after the murder of 42 Ethiopians in the June 6-8 activities that were perpetrated by EPRDF security forces, we find little solace by the words they give while they provide monetary support to the EPRDF Regime.


The "Respect the Vote" movement is a trailblazer. It is a movement by Ethiopians. It is only the Ethiopians that have to liberate themselves. There are several aspects to comprehending the circumstances surrounding the movement. I touch upon only on one of them below.


1. Tyrannical governance as the problem.


Examine the role of the West as it had succeeded in placing two tyrants, Isaias and Meles, over Ethiopia.

 a) The London conference chaired by the US government overthrew the tyrannical Dreg and led to the enthronement of two tyrants, Isaias and Meles, over Ethiopia. The West then imposed "its two state solution to its idea of the Ethiopian Problem".


b) How the West views Ethiopia.  It views the two Ethiopian states (Eritrea and FDRE) as dysfunctional states of the "captured" variety exemplified by Rwanda as may be gleaned from work by S. Ellis, (2005).  Here is how he puts it.


"Nine years ago, the political scientist Jean-Germain Gros proposed a useful typology that the international community should adopt. He identified five types of dysfunctional states: "anarchic" states, such as Somalia, which lack a central government;" phantom," or "mirage," states, such as Congo (formerly Zaire), which exercise only a semblance of central authority and can manage just a few core tasks (such as protecting the president and his circle); "anemic" states, which are enervated by an insurgency or where, as in Haiti, "the engines of modernity were never put in place"; "captured" states, such as Rwanda, where a strong centralized authority has been taken over by an insecure elite that is primarily concerned with defending itself against rival elites; and "aborted" states, such as Angola, which failed before they were ever consolidated. " p.139


 Prof, Mesfin Wolde Mariam in his book entitled Yequlqulet Kihedet informs us that Meles had attended a conference in the USA at which he agreed that Ethiopia is a failed state. One assumes that Meles was also told that it is the Rwanda model that works for his case.  That might explain why Ato Meles called on the Rwandan massacre in the May 2005 elections.  Ato Meles called on a fear that the Rwanda-type massacre might happen in Ethiopia. In short order, Mr. Carter supported the banning of demonstrations in Addis Ababa that Meles imposed on May 16. Subsequently, after pointing out all the ills of the vote-counting structure, process, and implementation of process associated with post-election conducted by the National Election Board (NEB) of Meles' regime, the Carter Center agreed with the observations made by the European Union Election Observation members (EUEOM).  However, the Carter Center made the recommendation that the opposition must enter parliament or if they have objections they should immediately go to court, with the added provision stating that if  the opposition failed to do that, the case  is tantamount to a condition that  the opposition have forfeited their objections. By making those recommendations, the Carter Center created laws that were not proposed or agreed to by the parties that engaged in the dispute over the election process. One is amazed at the disconnection between the observation made by the Carter Center and its recommendations.   Perhaps the foreign department reports on "How to Rebuild Africa" in an article by S. Ellis (2005) might shed light on this issue. 


 According to S. Ellis (2005) it is to be noted that most African states are identified as failed or dysfunctional states. Such " dysfunctional states share two key characteristics: they cannot guarantee law and order throughout their territory, and they cannot fulfill certain critical international obligations...But the latter creates the most widespread concern." (P.138) He continued: " The West should adopt a new, enlightened form of self-interest and be open to engaging in new sorts of involvement in Africa. .. What is required ... are international joint ventures ..[that]..would avoid the evils of colonialism...and the errors of more recent peacekeeping and statebuilding.. The outcome ”a healthier, more stable, and more secure Africa” would benefit everyone, on the continent and around the world..‚". (p.148)


It appears that no matter how tyrannical the governance, so long as a dysfunctional African state can produce a semblance of a more stable  and more secure entity, an African country had performed a beneficial role to the enlightened self-interest view point of the foreign department.


An apparent problem to the proposed "enlightened self-interest" of the foreign department is the unanticipated nonviolent movement undertaken by Ethiopians.  If the Ethiopians can stand their ground on the issue of "Respect the Vote", one sees no problem that should bring an opposition from the foreign department.  In so far as the European countries are concerned, EU parliament had passed its support to the rights and demands of the elected opposition parliamentarians (the Kinijit members), who were denied their rights to represent the people who elected them by Ato Meles. The principled stand undertaken by Kinijit has already scored positive points to the "Respect the Vote" nonviolent movement, in that it has caused the European parliament to make at least some noise.


Throughout History. Ethiopia had no one to rely on except on its citizens.  The conditions have not changed.  The Ethiopian opposition parties must not allow western or other representatives, agencies, et cetera, from placing a wedge between the citizens and the people.  The opposition parties must engage the people.  Kinijit has delivered an eight-point demand on October 10 with the provision that they should get a response by October 22.  All opposition entities and individual ought to rally the Ethiopians to get ready to engage in activities that would ensure their rights to peaceful discourse over a free the media, their right to have their elected officials to manage the business of the country, cities, et cetera.



"Respect the Vote"


Ethiopia shall survive.


HG. 10/14/2005- revised 1/02/2005