Whither Ethiopia; Towards a Dominant Party system
or a Single Party State? (Part Two)
By Tsehaye Debalkew
Sept 02 2010
In the forerunner to this analysis, I have attempted to elucidate on the salient characteristics of a Dominant political party in contradistinction to that of a Single party state as it relates to our current political climate. Parallels and similarities were examined pertaining to conditions that nourish and nurture and serve as conducive conduit for the emergence and sprouting of a dominant or a single party system amply referenced by citing vivid and living practices in many countries in all continents, irrespective of the wealth of experience stored in brandishing this or that political party.
The encapsulation of the hitherto continuing overriding belief that a competitive multi-party democracy, breeds no dominant political party has been modestly challenged by alluding to inferences and instances, wherein in many competitive multi-party democracies; one or the other contending party tends to stay in power, albeit by the endorsement of the electorate, for some time, as long as over a century in some isolated cases, in a perfectly competitive democracy such as the US , hailed to be the leader of the Free World.
In this follow-up piece, I will present a scenario which would pave an unambiguous avenue with a degree of certainty that would surely lead towards a pragmatist, realist and objective perspective as to the sine qua none nature of political parties and emasculate the deliberate distortion and pitiful clamor that tends to label any dominant party's ascendance to the helm of power, as a proven infestation of a single party or one-party system.
This scenario, incessantly concocted by doubters of the status quo in our country, is decidedly designed to create theoretical confusion, by placating a non-existing socio-economic and political system, in present day Ethiopia, with the evil intent of fomenting a malicious and dangerous ramification.
There is no succinct erudition than the extensive elaboration by taking stock of the ammunition of American party politics to examine the conditions that breed dominant parties. It is common knowledge to state that America is a constitutional democracy where two major political parties alternate in seizing the levers of political power at the national scene. It is also pertinent to state here that, there abound quite a number of smaller parities like the Constitution party, the Libertarian party, the Green party and the US Pacifist party in America that hardly leave a stint of a noticeable mark at the national stage.
It is equally noteworthy to learn that, despite the successive alternating role of the Republican and Democratic parties, with a fiercely competitive battle waged to control the pinnacle of political power in Washington DC., as commensurate in the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary branches of government, there is clearly and starkly an observable picture of the dominance of either party at the state, county or municipal levels up to the lowest ebb of the political spectrum of the US system of governance. To further elucidate this contention it is perhaps an opportune venture and an appropriate paradigm to loom deep into the political picture of the US by delving into concrete showcases in some select states.
According to the presidential election results surveyed about the State of Utah from 1960-2008, it is ascertained that Utah has served as the mainstay of the Republican Party, wherein every republican party candidate running for the presidency, the highest office of the land, won the election by garnering a winning landslide electoral vote from Utah that catapulted him to be the US president, except for the 1964, democratic party presidential candidate slim win.
The Republican Party won the presidential ticket from 1960-2008/ except in 1964 / in the state of Utah. This major Republican Party victory was also bolstered and corroborated by the election of consecutive governors represented by the Republican Party from 1996-2008. The Republican Party also pivoted itself as the dominant party of Utah in the other lower level constituencies from 1976-2004.
In a different category, one observes the strength the Democratic Party has been in the realm of dominance in the office of the Presidency, Governorship, County Executives and Mayoralty for the big cities in the state of Texas, except for a brief interregnum of intermittent Republican Party dominance that was snatched by George W. Bush, as the presidential winner with a republican party ticket in 2000.
Ever since the year 2000, the state of Texas has turned, as the Red state, becoming the home turf of the Republican Party as opposed to the period running between 1846-1994, where Texas remained as the Blue state, typified as the home territory of the Democratic Party and symbolizing as the dominant party for close to one hundred fifty years uninterruptedly.
On the other hand, one previews that until recent times the state of Georgia had the longest unbroken record of the Democratic Party standing tall as the uncontested dominant party. This record it is arguably believed was established by the disenfranchisement of most blacks and many poor whites, lasting into the 1960's. For over 130 years, from 1872-2003 Georgians only elected/ ELECTED--- is the Buzz word here!!!/ Democratic governors, while democrats tightly held the majority of seats in the general assembly of the state. The political dominance of the Democratic Party in the state of Georgia came to an end in 2003, when the governorship went to a Republican Party candidate and the state senate has eventually switched to the Republican Party majority since 2004.
In a related development, one finds that for most half of the 20th century, the state of Oklahoma was a Democratic Party stronghold. But Oklahoma has voted republican in all but one election since 1952. Presidential election results show except for 1964, where the winning ticket went to the Democratic Party presidential candidate, the politics of the state of Oklahoma remained essentially Republican as far as the presidential election was concerned. Since the 1960 election up until the latest one in 2008, where Obama lost to McCain, 34.35% to 65.65% while vying for his current post, Oklahoma has been referred to as the Red state.
In juxtaposition to the foregoing extrapolation, one can infer that a dominant party can only emerge out of contest between two or more contending parties. While on the other side of the argument , one clearly recognizes that in a single party state there is absolutely no room for party competition as the constitution/ if there is any/ of a country in question only permits the ruling party to solo function, and no other party or parties are allowed to organize or contest for political positions.
Viewed from this tangible and objectively verifiable present and historical analogy, it could reasonably be argued that the EPRDF, is emerging as a dominant political party with the continued trust, endorsement, and consent of the Ethiopian people showering the Front with their "YES" votes and ultimately assured of their commanding position to see that the party of their choice serves them diligently, with absolute transparency, accountability by remaining loyal to the supreme law of the land and be faithful and answerable to the electorate wielding their final power, to be expressed at the ballot box, come next election.