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Search for Ways to National Reconciliation.

Ethioobserver Editorial.

The election of May 2005 finally, and thankfully, is over. It has been a long and torturous campaign. The winner will celebrate and the loser will engage soul searching and dejection. The opposition will have to huddle together and re-invent their party, which may mean to be a viable opposition and legitimate representative of the people. For the benefit of the country and the process of democracy, lets hope the opposition party re-assesses themselves and casts aside the bitter selfish feelings. If the opposition wants to usher in a new era of democracy and peace they should accept the final verdict. The wounds that have come from die-hard opposition loyalists must begin to heal for the good of the country. Nearly 26 million voters gathered to the polls (a record number), yet neither long lines nor threat of thirst kept the voters away from their appointed polling stations. The May 2005 Ethiopian democratic election has generated great international interest and support, and is regarded as an important step in a democratic institution. Ethiopia has steered clear of an election Armageddon. However, the recent declaration not to enter parliament from CUD Hailu Shawel in Washington, DC is reckless and a grave disservice to the Ethiopian people.

We embrace the election as a step towards democracy. While Ethiopia has never known democracy, our thanks goes to the ruling party for taking a leadership role on the road to democracy as a beckon of hope. Ethiopia is witnessing the kind of transformation that the U.S president would like to see happen in Africa.  It is encouraging to see these signs of new political life blossoming in Ethiopia. As in any democratic institution, one might expect a higher emphasis on policy to be the divisive factor in the election. However, while EPRDF undertook to develop a unity of purpose to confront the great challenge of our country, i.e. poverty, employment, HIV/Aids and investment, some of the opposition candidates must be moved away from bigotry, narrowness of mind and a tone of chauvinistic rhetoric. Rational people who can exercise common sense will come to agreement by progression and truth, not by the extremistís caustic collection of lies. However, lately the euphoria has satisfied neither the opposition nor their allies in Diaspora. What could have been significant democratic movement turned out to be a carnival of chauvinistic and opportunist grab for power by any means. 

The media punditocracy in cyberspace and opportunists within Ethiopia and in Diaspora are now in full gear and howled their indignation at the result of the election. Their credibility and trustworthiness, and lack of principal beneath empty rhetoric to discredit the election are as dangerous as it is wrong. As we all know well, the opposition campaign, which was often characterized by narrow racial undertones, served well to alert voters. We have broken the barriers of fear and silence in Ethiopia. Opposition candidates were allowed to run and debate. Those of us who are pleased with the election agree that it represented a step-by-step movement forward towards greater democracy and pluralism. Such gradual steps are the most logical way to proceed. The opposition leadershipís split personality, symbolized by their chauvinistic rhetoric and contradictory array of messages, reduced them for more fragile discourse. This raises the concern whether Ethiopia would establish a viable opposition where either the interest of all Ethiopians comes first or the interest of few disgruntled former officials instead.

Our young democracy faces acute dilemmas when confronted with acts of violence, which damage government legitimacy because of the action of a few former ex-officials who cause the loss of innocent lives. The nature of that act is to intimidate a population and legitimate government; the opposition must refrain from doing any illegal acts. The parties advocating to overthrow a democratic government is viewed as a crime, falling within the Ethiopian criminal legal system. Tackling graveness with a valid legal system is the right form. The use of violence to create fear and undermining security must be dealt with decisively. EPRDF must take steps to diffuse tensions and take incentives as a vehicle to reconcile political differences. EPRDF must manage incidents, risk and prevention in a proper manner, which upholds democratic principles of rule of law. Some of the measures as a response, in order to prevail law and order, may undermine or compromise democracy in fragile stage of development. Thanks to the US State Department, the Carter Center and donor countries that they have appealed to the political leaders to brush aside their differences and seek a solution for promoting peace.

Tension and conflict between kings, ethnic groups and regions have marked the Ethiopian history.  The best we can hope for is to reconcile and compromise our conflicting personal or ethnic difference to allow us to continue living in peace and harmony. All Ethiopians must agree over the key problems facing the country, despite the differences of ideology and nationality. EthioObserver editors look forward to the complex challenges of achieving national harmony by reconciling the differences that threaten to keep us apart. The spirit of unity that was demonstrated during the Eritrean invasion, where regional and political differences were forgotten, must be repeated. Our response and commitment will determine the very future of our country. The kindness of spirit that Ethiopians are capable of showing in times of crisis and the sense of compromise will prevail at last. This is truly a time of testing for our democracy.



Point of Interest

Response to Maekele

Tsegai Berhe President of Tigray State
Interview with VOA'(Tigriniga)

AU Official: Ethiopian Vote Free & Fair, Opposition Complaints Exaggerated.

Joe De Capua

August 12, 2005

ክሕደት ወልፊ አይኮነን!! (Tigringa)

(Betrayal is not addiction)

Ethiopia's electoral investigation well conducted: EU.
Given the constraints in Ethiopia, the electoral board has done remarkable job in trying to bring the process to a satisfactory end, said Clarke.

ETHIOPIA: Prime Minister meets opposition leaders

ADDIS ABABA, 29 Jul 2005 (IRIN) - Ethiopia's political leaders have held their first ever face-to-face talks aimed at ending the deepening crisis over disputed legislative polls, an official said on Friday.

How we failed to lift Ethiopia's curse Sunday June 12, 2005

Who saved Birhan Woldu's life? July 7, 2005


A Sobering Lesson: The Menilik Factor and the New Defeatism "Alebabsew Biarsu Barem Yimelesu."


Emperors Tewodros II, Yohannes IV, Menilik II, and Myth of Colonialism

King Sahle Selassie, Emperor Menilik II, and the Betrayal of Ethiopia.


Treaty of Peace With Italy (1947), Evaluation, and Conclusion 


In Response To Modernization A Poisoned Chalice For Ethiopians.

Zewge Fanta