By Keffyalew Gebremedhin – The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)
After 16 years in power, Venezuela’s corrupt and abusive regime is getting its wings clipped. There is a lesson to learn there.
In a country where crime-related homicide and state violence together have put the death rate in that country to 58 per 100,000 per year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the opposition has finally mustered wisdom and strength to wrestle the levers of power from the PSUV regime (the United Socialist Party of Venezuela) in the December 6, 2015 democratic election, which has awarded it 110 seats in the 167-member assembly.
Venezuela’s future is assured. If a country could organize a decent election, whose integrity cannot be questioned in any form or shape, a nation can easily make up for lost times and opportunities. That is what Venezuela did.
It is not surprise that Reuters should headline its story on the Venezuelan election: “Triumphant Venezuela opposition looks to boost economy, free prisoners”
Yes, Venezuelans have taught the PSUV regime and its ill-educated leader of the country, Nicolas Maduro, who Tuesday acknowledged defeat:
“We have come with our morals and our ethics [intact] to recognize these adverse results, to accept them and to say to our Venezuela that the constitution and democracy have triumphed.”
The exchange between both sides of the struggle for the crown was interesting.
While Maduro says “We have lost a battle today, but the struggle to build a new society is just beginning”, the victorious Henrique Capriles, a leading opposition figure in the Democratic Unity Roundtable and a former presidential challenger says, “The results are as we hoped. Venezuela has won. It’s irreversible.”
This is democratic change, which the international community has already started toasting.
How shuold this rub off on Ethiopia?
Why have Ethiopians not succeeded in bringing about democratic change? The simple answer is that Ethiopian opposition tended to be divided over every little thing. Any ways, the two main reasons are:
Firstly, while the opposition parties squabble and failed to see the divisive techniques the deceitful TPLF has hatched, what has remained of the country is its skeleton; the TPLF hyenas and their hirelings have scraped it off all itself, its pride and its resources. For instance, because of land grab by the TPLF gangsters, for the past years, the last twenty days and right at this moment schoolchildren are being shot at for protesting their parents’ dislocation.
Universities and high schools are closed throughout Oromia, a region and people TPLF’s ethnic target for dispossession and discrimination.
Secondly system-wise, the words borrowed former TPLF air force chief Gen Abebe Teklehaymanot (ret) would be more useful here. In 52-page article last September 2015, the general exposed the misdeeds and crimes of his ruling party – the corrupt and trigger happy TPLF that has been in power for a quarter century – in Amharic as follows:
* “ባጠቃላይ ሲታይ ብዙ ማንነቶች፤ በርካታ ፖለቲካዊ ፍላጎቶች፤መልስ እንሻለን የሚሉ የተለያዩ ጥያቄዎች ባሉበት አገር አንድ ግንባር (ኢህአዴግ) እና አጋሮቹ 100% መቀመጫውን መቆጣጠር እሚያሳየን ነገር፤ አንድም ባጠቃላይ ፖለቲካዊ ስርዓቱ ላይ ችግር መኖሩን አልያም የምርጫ ስርዓቱ ችግር እንዳለበት ወይም ተግባራዊነት ላይ ችግር እንደነበረበት ነው፤ 100% እሚባል ውጤት አስቂኝ ግን ደግሞ አደገኛ ነው ፡፡ ይሄ ዉጤት አርቆ ለሚያስብ ሰው የአደጋ እንጂ የድል ምልክት ተደርጎ መቆጠር አይችልም። መሬት ላይ ያለዉን የተለያየ ፖለቲካዊ ፍላጎት እማያንፀባርቅ የምክር ቤት ሁኔታ የስጋት እንጂ የኩራት ምንጭ መሆን አይችልም።
* “ዲሞክራሲያዊ ምህዳሩ በጠበበ ቁጥር የዜጎች ተስፋ እተሟጠጠ ስጋታቸው እና ፍርሃታቸው እየጨመረ ከቁጥጥር ውጪ የመሆኑ እድል ይሰፋል፡፡
* “…[I]n a country where there are so many forces that require answers for many particular questions, a single ruling party, i.e., EPRDF and its allies bagging 100 percent of the parliamentary seats, shows that either the political system has serious problem, or the electoral process lacks integrity. To put it mildly, the 100 percent electoral victory by the EPRDF is both ludicrous and dangerous. For people with eyes on the future, this electoral result is a clear source of danger, but hardly any cause for celebration. Parliamentary electoral outcome that cannot reflect the reality on the ground is rather source of real threats, instead of any pride.
* “With narrowing of the national democratic space, the fact that citizens lose hope chances are that their concerns and fears grow uncontrollably.”
The role of the West in the dehumanization of Ethiopians
After reading the TPLF general’s frustrations and disappointments with his ruling party, we should equally turn to the Western world and ask:
Why are the United States and other Western countries fail/refuse to see that the ethnic minority TPLF regime in Ethiopia is the most virulent threat to citizens? Its has turned its eyes, while it is aware that the TPLF is repressive, because of its Stalinist and anti-democratic political and organizational behavior, anti-human rights and anti-human dignity postures.
Fortunately, 2015 has raised the hopes of Ethiopians after a quarter century of sufferings and deaths; it appears that the time Ethiopia has certainly begun inching toward forcing the brutal and murderous regime to its ignominious end!
Speaking of the West, Mr Obama reminded Ethiopians in different ways during his visit at the end of July 2015 that they must live to serve the United States, in exchange, so to say, for humanitarian assistance. He has not realized to this day that this is unacceptable to the people of Ethiopia and their history of successfully safeguarding their nation’s independence from colonialism – unlike the TPLF leaders whose parents were loyalists, known as የጣሊያን ባንዳ (Italian occupation supporters).
It is unfortunate that during the question and answer window, he made Ethiopians understand that their life should be committed, including their human rights, to serve the security and economic interests of the United States. Mr. Obama told his Ethiopian hosts: “So we don’t need to send our own Marines, for example, in to do the fighting. The Ethiopians are tough fighters.”
On September 25, 2014, Mr. Obama during a meeting with the Man in the Ethiopian Prime Minister’s Office had tired to explain why he appreciates Ethiopia: “[T]he U.S. is Ethiopia’s strategic partner in many fields… We’re strong trading partners. And most recently, Boeing has done a deal with Ethiopia, which will result in jobs here in the United States…”
As an afterthought, the president had touched upon preparations for the May 2015 election: He said, “And so we’ll have an opportunity to talk about civil society and governance and how we can make sure that Ethiopia’s progress and example can extend to civil society as well, and making sure that throughout the continent of Africa we continue to widen and broaden our efforts at democracy, all of which isn’t just good for politics but ends up being good for economics as well…”
This means that the United States has morally and practically freed itself from any responsibility of what happens to the people of Ethiopia, as a people. It is in a country where human rights are constantly violated, people are shot by security forces, and torture is routinely practiced that Obama in July 2015 chose to ‘certify’ the May 2015 election as ‘democratic’.
For Ethiopians, that election has turned their country into a nightmarish single-party state, with the people under occupation by the corrupt ethnic minority group, known as the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF)!
Today’s relationship between Ethiopia and the United State is hardly governed in any form or shape by the principles of mutual respects and mutual benefits!
That is not the action of the United State I know and I have always appreciated and respected! Nor
I only hope that there would come a time when analysts and historians would shed better light why the Obama Administration has chosen to be unfriendly, if not hostile, toward the people of Ethiopia!