The role of youth in the 2010 national election

By Fanowedy Samara
Feb. 12 2010

the hands of the peoples of the given country. The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) as a democratic nation, plainly states the sovereignty of its nations, nationalities and peoples and the supremacy of the law as well. Article 8 of the FDRE constitution stipulates that all sovereign power resides in the Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia. This Constitution is an expression of their sovereignty as per the constitution. Moreover, their sovereignty shall be expressed through their representatives elected in accordance with this Constitution and through their direct democratic participation.

Article 9 of the constitution further states that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Any law, customary practice or a decision of an organ of state or a public official which contravenes this Constitution shall be of no effect. Paragraph three of the same article also prohibits state power in any manner other than that provided under the Constitution.

Moreover, Every Ethiopian national, without any discrimination based on color, race, nation, nationality, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion or other status, has the right (a) to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly and through freely chosen representatives;(b) on the attainment of -18 years of age, to vote in accordance with law; (c) to vote and to be elected at periodic elections to any office at any level of government; elections shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall beheld by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors (Article 38 of the constitution).

The author believes that to vote is both a right and a responsibility of Ethiopian citizens. Thus, every citizen should never undermine this right unless and otherwise he/she decides to be ruled or governed by any political body no matter what a policy or strategy options that political entity might have. This judgment would inevitably damage the entire political destiny of his/her own country. Therefore, to vote is a very crux political duty of every citizen for it is the supreme conclusion of all decisions in the political arena. And no one should undermine the importance of a single voice for it might be the last say needed to make a difference.

Though election needs a special attention and critical value to every citizen, it is more crucial and determinant role that the youth should play. As the youth is the future leader of the country who determines the prospect destiny of that nation, he/she should responsibly and critically participate in the 2010 National Election. The youth has tremendous sets of roles when he/she rationally participates in this election, exercising his/her constitutional rights and duties, and determine the prospect fate of that nation are among others. The youth should never be confused that it is today’s youth that becomes tomorrow’s entire generation. That is why the author gives special attention to the voice of the youth in the 2010 National Election.

In the 2010 National Election, the youth is needed to play three critical roles. First he/she should be registered and help others get registered. It is a plain fact that no body can use his/her right and/or duty to vote unless he/she gets registered. Thus, the primary exercise of every citizen in general and the prime role of the youth in particular should start from registration to vote. According to the author, registration per se covers almost 50% of the entire election process. Thus, every youth should ask him/herself whether he/she is registered to vote.

The second and the most important role of every youth in the election process is to rationally give its voice to the political body or individual candidate. In this stage, the youth should stop and critically analyze why he/she needs to give his/her voice to that political body. Moreover, the youth should be very careful that a single negligence could lead to a dire socio-political consequence in the country. Hence, youth should properly use his/her intellectual capacity and his/her rational mind to precisely evaluate the would-be results of his/her decisions. And he/she should look forward deep in to the future. Every step of his/her verdict should contribute to or should never hamper the realization of the Ethiopian Renaissance.

Before giving his/her voice, the youth should carefully evaluate and analyze the available programs and policy options of every political body, be it a party or an individual candidate. Moreover, he/she should never evaluate the available programs and policy options from a single dimension. He/she should rather investigate it from all the possible perspectives, i.e. from its holistic nature.  Otherwise, his/her decision might probably be incomplete and incomprehensive which in turn could lead to unintended consequence. That is why this stage demands special rational thinking and sober analysis of one’s decision.

He/she should never be concealed by the golden fallacies of certain political bodies that do not have any feasible program or policy option. History uncovers the nature of some political entities which apparently seem Apostles of change at the time of political rally and become extreme Devils at the end of the day. Hitler of Germany and Mussolini of Italy are good examples to the case at hand. Thus, youth should critically analyze the available programs and policy options and past experiences of these political bodies as well.

Although registration and voting are very important courses of the election, these only might not end up with the desired fruits at all. Hence, the third role of all citizens in general and that of the youth in particular-struggling to safeguard the constitution and constitutionally established organs of the state-is extremely vital. However, the author never undermines the relevance of registration and voting. He, rather, recognizes their significance and he needs to pay serious attention to them along with ensuring the dos and do nots of the constitution.

The authors calls the youth to struggle against any form or content of violence in relation to the National Election in order to promote the democratic process that the nation strongly strives to make it a real culture of Ethiopians. The youth needs to promote the democratic endeavors of the entire election where by ensuring citizens’ equal access and opportunity to vote in a secured and peaceful political environment. In doing so, the youth has to play two prominent roles.

In the first place, he/she should never be involved in any form of illegal practices throughout the entire election process, i.e. he/she should be free of any violence while at the same time actively participating to ensure its democratic process.  And secondly, he/she needs to struggle against those cliques who sow bitter seeds of intolerance, chaos and public unrest pre, during and post election periods.

The author recognizes the rational decision making capacity of most youths, i.e. the youth uses his/her rational mind to make informed decisions. He also understands the sensitive nature of some youngsters. Hence, he prefers to share some ideas about what and how to struggle to these certain anti-peace political entities throughout the election process.

Experience shows that there are some irresponsible political bodies who madly urge political power regardless of what the voice of the Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities and Peoples is. Normally, these forces use countless pretexts to meet their unlimited political needs. Furthermore, they use the youth as a decisive instrument by inciting tremendous unfounded allegations. Even there are certain witnesses which some political bodies restlessly spray their contaminated politics before the legal rally for vote is launched. These cliques are madly struggling to darken the bright hopes of the Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities and peoples through disseminating their naïve prophecy about the would-be outcomes of the National Election. Hence, the youth needs to be very conscious to every activity of these political entities.

By and large the ABCs of the youth throughout the whole election process should focus towards ensuring the constitution and constitutionally established organs of the state. That is, he/she should consciously monitor the democratic nature of the election and call for adequate measures whenever the rule of law is violated for whatever reasons. In doing so, he/she should never collaborate with certain disruptive forces. He/she is, rather, expected to tell them that they are violating the law whenever they infringe it in whatever circumstances.

The youth is not needed to focus towards ensuring the constitution and constitutionally established organs of the state for the sake of ensuring it. Rather, he/she is required to ensure the constitutional rights and/or duties of citizens in order to enhance the nation’s democratic endeavors. Moreover, he/she id advised to struggle against those disruptive forces in order to close the worst chapter of poverty and backwardness and then escalate the development efforts of the Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia. This in turn would inevitably promote the Renaissance of the nation and its peoples to which we all should contribute our best efforts.

The united efforts of the youth in this 2010 National Election would definitely unlock a notable epoch of democracy so long as he/she properly handles its process. This is the question that the youth needs to address in order to meet the contemporary demands of his/her mother country-Ethiopia. This is the historic responsibility of the young generation in order to emancipate the nation from its abject poverty and enhance the political, social, economic, psychological development of the Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities and Peoples. This is also the primary duty of youngsters which they have to cultivate and consciously keep in order to bring about lasting peace and order which in turn enables to close all possible doors of intolerance and political turmioils.

If all youngsters properly play their respective roles, particularly in this National Election, the author believes that the Ethiopian Renaissance would be realized soon. Hence, the youth should recognize and respect all the ABCs of the National Election already mentioned above.