Ethiopia: Boycotting 2010 election as an option
By Robele Ababya / March 31, 2010
The best bullet is the ballot to remove tyrant Meles from power for at this time the ballot is equally available to all who opt to get it in accordance with constitution imposed by TPLF. Ethiopians and the opposition democratic forces might once again perhaps for the last time try to beat tyrant Meles at the ballot box. But of course registered voters can abstain by staying at home and opposition democratic parties can exercise their powerful option to boycott the election at any time in a coordinated manner for good reasons, thus exposing the repressive ruling Party for any foul play.
Ethiopians have been nursing their deep wound inflicted by tyrant Meles in the aftermath of the election 2005 at which their resounding victory was stolen ruthlessly on the watch of the Bush Administration and the Labor Government of Tony Blair. The illegitimate TPLF regime is all set to do likewise in the coming election in 2010 by arrogantly and contemptuously letting the Ethiopian people know in advance that he shall rule for another five years and then ‘retire’ in 2016.
The year 2010 would no doubt be fraught with several obstacles and formidable problems. Democratic forces have no choice but face them resolutely and expect to walk through the political mine fields that are already laid, and would be laid, by the masters of deception in the top echelon of the TPLF regime. So for the sake of our fundamental values at stake, opposition democratic forces must unite to turn problems into opportunities and deal a heavy blow to the repressive ruling regime.
The tyrant hailed by his cohorts as “Statesman leading Africa”, has sold not only vital interests of Ethiopia but also of the African continent barrel and stock at the COP15. The turncoat amassed wealth hoodwinking donors of the industrialized world that democracy for Ethiopia is not an option but a necessity for survival. He came to power wading through the pool of blood and walking over the strewn corpses of young and able-bodied children of poor peasants. He should be expected to use force, deceit, stealing of votes and subverting his opponents all and sundry
It is already known that the year 2010 is fraught with several obstacles and formidable problems. Democratic forces have no choice but face them resolutely and expect to walk through the political mine fields that are already laid, and would continue to be laid, by the masters of deception in the top echelon of the TPLF regime. So for the sake of our fundamental values at stake, opposition democratic forces must unite to turn problems into opportunities and deal a heavy blow to the repressive ruling regime.
It would be cowardly and dereliction of one’s civic duty to let the traitors claim victory in a fake election and allow the TPLF regime to ride roughshod on our freedom once again under the pretext of democratically elected government.
Arguments for and against boycotting election 2010
There are strong arguments in favor of boycotting election 2010 and perhaps equally strong arguments in favor of taking part. The two options stand at opposite ends of the political spectrum. In both cases the deciding factor is the ingenuity of opposition political parties in selling their arguments to the Ethiopian voters who are the ultimate authority to cast their ballots at the polls or abstain to signal the use of other methods of struggle to evict from power the hugely unpopular genocidal leader of the TPLF ethnocentric regime.
The number of voters turning up at the polls or staying at home will of course determine the desire of the Ethiopian people.
The political dynamics on our home soil is changing at a rapid rate. The ruthless ruling TPLF party is nervous. The people have the right to vote or not to vote and the opposition has the powerful option to boycott the election at any time. Public opinion will no doubt shift on the spectrum between pros and cons of boycotting the election.
Election 2010 is extremely important since its possible outcomes will have a strong impact on the future of Ethiopia which is on the brink of further fragmentation as if dismemberment of Eritrea was not enough. So it would be prudent to conjecture some scenarios that would emerge from assumed prerequisites and issues.
Prerequisites: Critical prerequisites for any democratic election are all too familiar but are worth mentioning for ease of reference, vide Table-1 below:
|Equitable allocation of resources to all contestants
||Allocation of resources is heavily skewed in favor of the Stalinist totalitarian regime
|Level playing field in all respects
||The regime, since its crushing defeat in 2005, has worked so hard to narrow the political space but it is under considerable internal and external pressure to open it up.
|Freedom to hold rally in the constituency of candidates
||Semblance of such rallies seems to be belatedly allowed to appease donors
||Under complete monopoly of TPLF
|Independent Electoral Board
||Clearly subservient to the regime under various excuses such as lack of capacity to handle complaints
||The judiciary is a key instrument of suppression for the regime.
|Impartial security forces
||Security forces are under direct command of tyrant Meles running in the election to retain power.
|Unrestricted numbers of impartial external and internal observers
||Internal observers already appointed solely by TPLF. Impartiality of EU and AU observers is doubtful.
|Freedom of assembly and peaceful demonstration
The above prerequisites are by no means exhaustive, but are indispensable to a democratic election. All hardened stances of the ruling regime indicated in the second column shall work against it to the advantage of opposition democratic forces.
Issues: Fair and free election essentially means there is conducive environment to raise substantive issues of national concern and bring them to the full understanding of the electorates. In that process each contestant is free to bring to light the weaknesses of the other in order to win votes.
Issues in a civilized democratic election make or break a particular contender. Let us see what issues are available to the opposition side including Medrek:
Particulars of issues
|Recurring hunger and famine
||The regime has no option but agree in view of international concern
|Political prisoners in Ethiopia
||Regime says no political prisoners in Ethiopia.
|Gross abuse of human rights
||TPLF blanket dismissal of abuse will continue.
|Dismal performance of the national economy
||TPLF will stick to its claim of double-digit growth
|Huge unemployment among the youth in particular
||Regime cannot deny this obvious fact
|Tertiary institutions turned into schools of Revolutionary Democracy
||The regime is bent on deterring academic freedom, critical thinking.
|Unmet prerequisites for fair and free election
||TPLF insists election will be fair and free. This is a contradiction given that all pillars of democracy are tightly controlled or monopolized
|Private land ownership, serfdom, grinding poverty in rural areas
||The present land policy is the mainstay of the regime. It has to keep peasants slave in its serfdom relegated to grinding poverty.
|Access to seaport
||The greatest sellout by the regime
|Governance, rule of law and rampant corruption
||Arbitrary breach of the constitution, sidelining of the rule of law & corrupt practices in high places are abundantly evident.
|Invasion of Somalia and its consequences
||A serious concern likely to involve huge compensation for damages
The observations in the second column of Table-2 enjoy overwhelming support domestically and globally and are therefore hard to defend by the ruling Party.
The following three scenarios are derived from the Table-1 and Table-2 above
Scenario – I: Fair, free and transparent election
This scenario may appear farfetched in the face of increasingly totalitarian stance of the ruling regime. However, given the current political dynamics of rising support for Medrek and mounting pressure on tyrant Meles by the international community and democratic governments like the USA, there is reason to assume that the political space may be widened. One would be quick to add that the choice between the emergence of robust democracy and entrenchment of a one-party state ruled by rogues would increase impetus for united action by the opposition democratic forces to evict the ruling party from power. .
So in a free, fair and transparent election, there is over 90% probability that the convincing defeat of TPLF party seen in May 2005 will repeat and will most likely hold this time because the Bush Administration is no more in power to support the regime under the pretext of partnership against the war on terror. The world now knows that tyrant Meles is terrorizing the Ethiopian people and destabilizing the region in cohort with his twin dictator Isaias. He is a candidate for trial in ICC for crimes of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Scenario – II: Forced calling off of the election
Opposition forces will narrow their differences and intensify their struggle. The regime will realize that its attempt to hide hunger and famine has severely damaged its atrocious image and its record of gross violation of basic human rights will increasingly haunt it. Donors will be embarrassed by the concealment of the famine and misuse or stealing of funds donated for the famine victims as in the case of the shameful practice of the TPLF in 1984. There will be popular unrest due to soaring cost of living. The opposition will use its powerful option to boycott the election at any time. The regime will succumb to such mounting pressures and at the last minute call off the election in favor of peace and reconciliation in a power-sharing arrangement. This scenario would in the opinion of this writer in the best interest of a bloodless transition.
Scenario III – Transitional government of national unity
Under this Scenario the contest will be so close to the extent that no party will win outright comfortable enabling victory to govern. The ruling party will therefore have no alternative but comply or face uprising..
Scenario – IV Success of rigged election
The argument that vestiges of former colonial masters are up and running in their new attire of neo-colonialism. The scramble for Africa is in full swing. As the saying attributed to British colonizers goes, there are no permanent friends but permanent interests. So vestiges of former colonial masters may not forego their national interests in favor of vibrant democracy in Ethiopia. Provided the puppet regime would pose no danger to their interests, some Western powers may turn a blind eye again to daylight robbery of votes as in the case of election 2005.
Therefore, the prospect of intensified all-inclusive struggle including use of force in the aftermath of a rigged election would be inevitable. A full-fledged civil strife and regional instability, for which the ruling regime would be solely and singularly be held responsible, is most likely to breakout. Readiness for this eventuality is logically imperative.
God forbid this scenario by giving wisdom to donors not to give direct support to the totalitarian regime of tyrant Meles unless he fully opens the political space before election 2010.
Release Judge Birtukan and all political prisoners in Ethiopia!
LONG LIVE ETHIOPIA!!!
The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org