EPRDF: Might is Not Always Right!!!

To our readers: Strathink is pleased to present this personal reflection by Abebaye Tegen. We are always pleased to publish the thoughts of our readers and invite public discourse on these very important issues. Let us know what you think.
A personal reflection for public discourse by abebayetegen@gmail.com

The ruling party in Ethiopia, EPRDF, is in a series of meetings to discuss the current situation in the country. Member parties of the front are said to have completed their individual meetings and came up to the front to discuss together on the worsening situation especially ,the conflicts between neighbouring ethinc groups and the ongoing civil disobedience in different parts of the country.
At the same time the country’s situation is alarming more than any other time at least in the last quarter of the century.Killings based on ethnic conflicts, demonstrations in the univerisites and towns, security forces killing civilians, soldiers being deployed in different parts of the country to quell the opposition are daily news and makes one wonder what is going on in the country.
Regional and Federal government officials are giving different and conflicting statements which signals that they are not in sync and the Military and Security apparatus looks like they want to control the situation blaming the political leasership. In short, it looks like the ruling party and it’s governing system is in the verge of collapse.
And again it seems like EPRDF is not learning from History .Still EPRDF is determined to resolve the country’s problem by itself and on it’s own way, including using military force, which is a futile excercie.
The statements from the party still try to undermine the situation, blame outside forces and try to sell the old promise of internal evaluation and renewal. What EPRDF is chocking to accept is that things can not continue the old way. Let alone the country, even EPRDF can not continue the old way.The problem is getting bigger and deeper as EPRDF is getting older and die-harder.
Presently, the problem in Ethiopia is more than the capacity of the ruling party and definitely can not be solved by military force. History is full of examples on the subject. And as the saying goes “Those who do not learn from history are bound to repeat the errors of History.”
Currently, in Ethiopia, we have a government with a strong army who is adamant to quell any opposition by force. On the other hand, the civil disobedience and some small military engagements by the opposition armed groups are escalating by the day. The majority of the population is showing in ever way they can that they have had enough of EPRDF. The confrontation is escalating than subsiding, infused with ethnic conflicts.
In such situations, any efforts other than an all inclusive dialogue will not have a lasting solution. EPRDF should take the initiative and call for a national reconciliation conference to be attended by all political forces, inside and outside the country. On the other hand, a political reform without EPRDF, would be costly, given the realities of the present Ethiopia.In the mean time, the government, has to show its political will by releasing all political prisoners, suspend all the laws and decrees that are in question and take other measures that build confidence and shows that it is seriously determined to negotiate.
So, EPRDFites, if you want to be not relegated to irrelevancy and take the country down to further chaos, you need to change course of action. Meeting after meetings based on the same old mentality and stubborness will lead you to nowhere other than speeding your demise. You need to accept that the problem you created is larger and deeper than you think and if you want to be part of the solution you need a paradigm shift.
Concerning EPRDF, even if it lost political legitimacy, among the majority of the population, it is not just easy to relegate it to irrelevancy.EPRDF still controls the military and the security apparatus with strong economic capacity with its party affiliated businesses. It is a party that ruled the country for almost a quarter of a century with all its defects and achievements.
At the same time, EPRDF has to realize that it can not solve the problem by itself and by force. The problem has become bigger than EPRDF, and it is a nationwide problem that needs national reconciliation. It is a futile exercise on the part of the EPRDF to try to solve the problem with power. EPRDF needs to make a paradigm shift, needs to unlock itself from the chains of the few die-hard leaders, and prepare itself for sharing political power, or leaving office, if that is the choice of the people based on fair and free election. Better for EPRDF to reorganize or revamp itself and come to the negotiating table as one party and run for election.
In short, political dialogue is the only option that is to the benefit of the people, and the country, and the opposing groups themselves. Current positions will lead us to a political disaster that would cost another generation. Trying to govern a country by military force is not going to work, other than speeding up the demise.
The people too, should start to organize themselves. They should explore new avenues to advance their interests in a better way, they should not be confined to the existing political parties only, they should examine the situation to exclude opportunists, they should not let their struggle be hijacked by forces who are interested only for political power. Instigators with hidden agendas, those who are looking for short cut to political power should be exposed and left out. Those groups who are really advancing the interests of the people should be supported. Non-political social organizations should also play a role in the national reconciliation process.
Actions which escalates ethnic tensions should be avoided by all means. The people of Ethiopia are greater than the current problem. Any opportunities that give way for the existing crisis to develop to an all out ethnic conflict should be discouraged. Those groups that advance narrow nationalism,those who work day and night to instigate one ethnic group on another, should be denounced. Revenge-born-extremism should not get the opportunity to grow.
The opposition movements should denounce any actions of destruction, because it helps no one. They should also abstain from propagating extremist messages and try to iron out their differences and come to the negotiating table as a united and strong opposition. Agree on what is agreeable and agree to disagree on the ones that should be left for the people to decide. Dialogue also should be the norm within the opposition.
Tigrean Elites, especially, former liberation fighters, you better think above your personal comfort and contempt, your military thinking doesn’t help the Tigrean people, think about the next generation, don’t play on the fears of the people and lead them to disaster. The people of Tigray, liberate yourself from being the captives of TPLF. Tigrean intellectuals, use your enlightenment for the benefit of the people It is time to show that TPLF is not Tigray and the great people of Tigray is greater than TPLF.Otherwise, silence can be considered as accomplice.
And again, my message to EPRDF: Don’t fool yourself by thinking that your renewal movement will be a solution to the country’s multi-faceted problem. The problem has become bigger than any one single  party capacity. Changing faces will not help the situation. You have had enough chances to correct the situation and you failed. Now it is time to have a national effort to save the country from sliding further down. Time to chart a new path to reconciliation, transition without bloodshed, and laying the foundation for building a democratic society. Sooner or Later, the demise of the status-quo is inevitable. Wiser to think beyond.
To All Ethiopians, PLEASE, do not take part in any extremism, which will ,undoubtedly, lead to disaster. Extremism in any form will not make us great again. It is time to rally yourself around national movements with Ethiopian vision, a democratic society for all by all, based on equality, justice and freedom. We need a movement with a vision beyond the current problem. Ethiopian living abroad who are active in social media’s should also play their part in a responsible way. Fueling the current problem is not helpful. All their efforts should be geared to bringing a peaceful transition. Again, revenge born extremism is disastrous, and no one deserve it.
A win-win political reform is a workable solution than a Zero-sum game,given the realities of Ethiopia, in my opinion. National Reconciliation may be difficult but not impossible.
Above all, EPRDF, once again, the ball is in your court. Time is running out!!! Might is not Always Right!!!

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