Bravo, the heroic Anti–Meles demonstration!

By Robele Ababya / September 27, 2010
 "Ethiopians can never be reconciled to a dictatorship that maintains itself by brute force alone." Prof Al

Meles has at last made his speech at Columbia University against mounting opposition that may have forced the University officials to move the venue from the stately Low Rotunda to the class-room-like Roone Arledge Auditorium. President Lee Bollinger was a no show, reportedly away in Washington DC.

The aura of the resounding demonstration signaled the rebirth of unity in no uncertain terms. My highest expression of gratitude in all sincerity goes to the brave and patriotic Ethiopians who, embellished with the Ethiopian tri-color flag, came out in large numbers on the streets to expose the heinous crimes of Meles to the entire world.

Meles was dealt a heavy blow; he was humiliated by the downgraded significance of his speech – which downgrading he (Meles) lacked the stamina to object and cancel the speaking event.

The question and answer session

In the question and answer session, the first question (greeted with applause) on the burning issue surrounding the 99.6% ‘victory’ of the ruling party was put to Meles and he responded: “We got 99.6 percent of the seats, not the votes”, adding that in the Ethiopian electoral system, a candidate just needs a majority of the votes for each seat to win that seat.” It is reported that “He then cited recent economic growth in Ethiopia as being the reason, he suspects, of the support he received in the election.”

Tyrant Meles was grilled on his atrocious record of grave human rights violations.  This session was overwhelmingly dominated by the heinous crimes of Meles rather than on the theme of his speech – African Development, which was quite appropriate given the shocking gruesome crimes perpetrated by his regime and his ruling party coupled with sellout of vital national interests unprecedented in the long history of Ethiopia.

On the economic front, Meles set aside the fact Ethiopia is categorized as the last but one among the poorest of the poor in our global community – according to the latest study sponsored by the United Nations and carried out by Oxford University. Ethiopia is one of the countries identified among 9 other countries predicted to be unable to feed themselves. The Meles regime has put up high rise buildings and constructed roads with borrowed money as a showcase for his generous donors. But all dictators vie for such projects for the sake of public support and siphoning kickbacks out of the fund provided by lenders. Incidentally, the Ethiopian people are bitterly complaining that they don’t eat buildings and asphalt roads!

Meles evaded the 99.6% ‘win’ by saying it was in terms of parliamentary seats, not popular votes. The issue of the relation between the popular votes cast at each of the 43,000 polling stations and the corresponding parliamentary seats won by the 63 contending parties has been deliberately not posted on the website of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE). We ask why!?

The devil is in the details

According to the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) provisional results were announced by it through the Local and International Media on 24, 25 and 27 May 2010.

At its 149th urgent meeting held on 18 June 2010, the Board:

  • Has assessed the results of the general election in detail ensuring all the results of the May 23 General Election have been received from all over the country
  • Has taken decisions on all Complaints lodged by contending political parties according to the law

In view of the above, the Board approved the results unanimously and decided to announce to the nation on 21 June 2010 as per its previous formal time table.

The Board declared that the number of registered voters was 31, 926, 520 of which 29, 832, 190 (93.4%) have cast their votes.

Professor Merga Beqana, Chairman of NEBE, did not release the result of parliamentary seats at the first instance on 24 May 2010. He stated to the BBC that according to 75% of the votes counted to date at that time the TPLF/ERPDF led by a margin of 14 votes to 1, which he said translated to a margin of 7.3 million votes. This margin proved to be utterly false as argued in my article entitled: “Backlash from 99 point 6 percent win claimed by TPLF” posted on 02 June 2010 on popular democratic website.

In the article it was logically argued that the margin of 7.3million voters and the 90% of voter turnout were incompatible, unless the voter turnout was as low as 33%.

In the subsequent disclosures including the final report of the results of the election, Professor Merga did not include the number of voters who cast their votes for each of the 63 contesting parties most probably because he could not reconcile the contradiction referred to in the above paragraphs.

The Professor will have a hard time explaining anomalies and outright contradictions as more data are gathered and voter registers are scrutinized. Even worse, his conscience will blame him for the rest of his life for associating with thugs to diminish the hope of more than 80 million Ethiopians to live in peace in a free and democratic society. Election 2010 was not fair, free and credible. Nothing will save Meles and his gullible chairman of NEBE from the disgrace that will befall both of them.

Legal Obligation in democratic elections

In a democratic election the votes cast by each and every registered citizen is sacred and therefore records of results must be kept as a matter of legal obligation.

It is the right of the Ethiopian people to obtain the exact official record of the number of votes cast for each of the contesting parties at each of the 43, 000 polling stations. Further in-depth incisive analysis of the results of the election is of paramount importance to Ethiopia.

Now, Meles said that “… in the Ethiopian electoral system, a candidate just needs a majority of the votes for each seat to win that seat”. And the chairman of NEBE declared that the ruling party won by 14 to 1 margin out of 75% of votes cast – which translates to 93% + for the ruling party. So I propose to focus on the following ranges in the analysis:

50 < x = 51; and 93 = x = 100, where x is percent of popular votes won by the ruling party.

It would be an exercise in simple counting to find out how many “just over 50% “or over 93 % were there according to Meles and Professor Merga, respectively. If the first range is overwhelmingly dominant in the frequency, it means that the  opposition had won at least 49 % of the popular votes despite best effort of the ruling party to rig the votes; if the second range is predominant it means that the opposition won 7% of the votes at most.

Readers can reach their own conclusions from myriads of combinations and permutations once the votes cast at the 43,000 polling stations are posted by NEBE on its website or published as public document.

The ruling thugs are holding well above 90% in the military and state security organs as well as monopoly on all lucrative businesses in the country; they have crucial interest in holding on to power at every cost including rigging elections. Therefore the details of the recorded results of votes cast for each of the 63 contending parties in election 2010 must be made public for all polling stations. I say this because I have strong reason to believe that the ruling party and NEBE hid the pct of popular votes cast in order to escape public scrutiny thereof and embarrassment to the ruling party.

Finally, the demonstration in New York proved that the hitherto quasi-latent heroism and patriotism of Ethiopians has come out in force: to restore our pride and build a democratic and just society for all citizens; to say go to hell to a government of thugs oppressing us in the name of ‘developmental government’; to engender a free and compassionate democratic  society where individuals spend their legitimate earnings as they see fit and not live under the promise of the minority kleptocratic ruling regime to provide them three meals a day.

Release Birtukan Mideksa and all political prisoners in Ethiopia!