The Virginia Declaration and Its Impact

By Robele Ababya / April 19, 2010
The successful holding of “Ethiopia and Horn of Africa Conference” is a laudable achievement given the desperate effort of TPLF to subvert it. The Conference drew “several hundreds of Ethiopians, experts, scholars from the United States and Europe, men and women of the Arts, former diplomats and leaders of civic organizations, with Honorable Ana Gomes of the European Parliament, speaking over the telephone from the Sudan”.

The Declaration, at the outset in its preamble is “ALARMED by the escalation of ethnic and religious polarization, active and latent conflicts in Ethiopia and Somalia, further endangering the livelihood of millions of people and disturbing international peace, and the total absence of a freely elected and accountable governance system in the region”.

In the opinion of this writer the stated alarm is indisputably justified! The alarming situation calls for immediate action to stabilize the political upheaval raging in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa.

On the burning question of gross violation of human rights the Declaration in its preamble recognizes the presence of “cloud of impunity, relentless human rights violations, vigilantism, and the incarceration of political leaders like Ms. Birtukan Mideksa and others. And, in its resolving clause it very rightly calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Ms. Birtukan Mideksa and all other political prisoners.

The maturity, farsightedness and sense of responsibility of the illustrious participants is encapsulated in their “call upon all political parties, including the TPLF/EPRDF, to convene an all inclusive National Conference for Peace and Reconciliation, with a view to establishing a Transitional Government of National Unity that prepares the country for an unfettered free and fair election.” The TPLF Party should heed this clarion call for peaceful change which it fears to death or face the only alternative of getting consumed in a tsunami of popular anger.

Parties to the Declaration: “Commend and applaud opposition parties, civic organizations and their leaders for the work they do under difficult circumstances, and call upon them to create unity, coordinate their efforts, form unbreakable coalitions, and prepare for pre and post election scenarios.”

In general, the 31 resolutions flowing from the preambles are actionable to varying degrees. Pro-democracy activists and supporters have a wide choice to determine in which ones they can contribute best.

This writer contends that Virginia Declaration is a comprehensive document that would go down in the annals of history to mirror shocking atrocities and betrayal of the TPLF regime. Therefore this writer humbly salutes the organizers of the Conference and most respectfully.

Organizers of the Conference have done a stellar job and for that matter deserve the gratitude of Ethiopians who want to see a united, democratic and prosperous country equal to all of its citizens entitled to all the benefits that a compassionate society can offer.


The one and only one Creator of the Universe, the Almighty God, is listening to the prayers of tens of millions relegated to draconian human sufferings in the Horn of Africa wrought by brinkmanship of despotic rulers and their subservient greedy elites, which the renowned Professor George Ayittey in his immortal words rightly named “political prostitutes”. The recent successfully concluded “Ethiopia and Horn of Africa Conference” is yet another sign of everything going from bad to worse for the TPLF regime and some of its neighbors. That was why TPLF fought tooth-and-nail to subvert the Conference.

As the scriptures say God speaks through his people and nothing can stop the storm of popular anger against the ruling brutal regime feeding on the plight of people it was supposed to serve faithfully, and with humility.

One would surmise that the political turbulence of the past 40 years or so that has been rocking the region is bound to stabilize, but will reach its climax before it does so. Only God knows the fate of TPLF politicians in power or actively vying for one and their respective elite supporters in that process. God will decide on who should be saved to serve His people when the political storm in Ethiopia and Horn of Africa subsides by His Will. And His verdict shall be for those without blemish or forgiven by Him alone speaking through the victimized people.

Tyrant Meles has publicly portrayed opposition parties as ‘enemies’ in his rude speech he made on 11 February 2010 from his ‘perceived’ stronghold in Tigray. He has therefore shunned any chance of giving up power peacefully, thus issuing an open invitation for an all-inclusive struggle.

In view of the above, the one and only alternative of opposition parties is to intensify their struggle with all means at their disposal in case votes cast at the polls get stolen.


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