Monday, June 6
Tiger by the Tail
Ethiomedia has a fascinating account of a talk given by Dr Merera Gudina, Chairman of the opposition United Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF) on May 30 in London on the subject of the elections. The Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) is another principal opposition party. The whole thing is required reading ... here are some excerpts:.
The opposition had been demanding to change the regime’s handpicked and trusted members of the National Electoral Board by an independent, fair minded people. The regime refused to give into that demand because that was another winning card in the hands of the dictators.He went on to urge diaspora communities to lobby their governments on behalf of Ethiopians.
After gauging the political temperature in the cities and towns, however, Woyyane [the ruling party] realized it may not be an easy ride in the cities and towns, therefore it tightened its grip on the countryside. It divided the nation into some sort of cells and attempted to control every life in the countryside down to every household.
The show of force was meant to intimidate the people from attending opposition rallies. In spite of the threats, opposition rallies drew large crowds, at times attracting about 80 thousand people.
The countryside on which the EPRDF [the ruling party and its pet coalition of ethnically based 'partners'] was counting as its base became very clear which way it was going. In the last month election, the EPRDF cadres looked terrified as if they lost everything.
After the voting was completed, another drama started. As 50% of the vote counting underwent, the EPRDF realised that they lost the election. They stopped by force the counting the ballots. They unleashed their reign of terror wherever there were no international observers. The regime caught up with the opposition observers, beat them up and forced some of them to sign confirmation that EPRDF candidates won while the truth was another matter. In the process lives were lost. Next morning, they declared victory and announced the EPRDF was ready to form the next government.
Dr Merera reiterated that wherever foreign and the opposition observers were allowed to observe, the regime did not get more than 10% of the votes, maximum.
Dr Merera explained the situation as one holding the tiger’s tail. Both the EPRDF and the opposition are in trouble here. The EPRDF would not give into defeat because without the power all its investments and luxurious life would be at risk.
The opposition would not let it go, because if they gave into such blatant robbery of the popular vote, the people would lose their faith in the opposition, would not take them any more seriously and would not give a single ballot to the opposition hereafter.
The people had said it out loud and clear what they wanted. The people need leadership. The opposition has the morale obligation to defend the right of the people. The opposition should show the quality of leadership. The opposition has to deliver it.
The people have been waiting for the signal from the opposition to defy the ban and go on the street and demand the stolen ballots returned and voting rights respected.
Therefore, the opposition is trying all the legal avenue to minimize any life lose but not prepared to give an inch into the bullying of EPRDF.