Election in Tigrai: A Step Towards Democratization but A Bitter Pill to Election Haters
By G. Amare
Tigrai Online July 31, 2020
“Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed.”- Mao Tse-Tung.
Sadly, Ethiopia is speedily changing from a little peace to no peace; from a few to mass imprisonments and killings; from economic growth to economic meltdown; from mega vision to no vision; and from construction to destruction. Animosity, fear, and frustrations among ethnic groups are growing more than ever before. The people have lost their confidence and trust in the government. What will happen next is uncertain and everyone’s question. What is certain is Ethiopia has turned into a playground of naïve and irresponsible politicians.
The team, in the playground, are some Amhara elite politicians, the Ethiopian PM, and his guardian, the Eritrean president and the PM’s franchised media outlets and stooge politicians.
Some of the Amhara elite politicians continue to beat drums, as summons to war. They are continuing with their three decades of lying, defaming and blackmailing projects against TPLF and the Tigrai people. They are continuing with their usual sinister propagandas, hate spewing and figure-pointing at TPLF and the Tigrai people for every wrongdoing and any problem encountered around their neck of the wood. Will they ever stop doing this? I don’t think so! Who knows, they may continue even after they cease to live on earth. To their mind, what they do and say is always right and angelic. They criminalize everybody else as wrong and devilish for doing or saying the same thing that they themselves think to be right. The bottom line is that these Amhara elites are out of touch of the facts on the ground. All the political crises occurring in today’s Ethiopia are attributed to their aimless but power greed propagandas and irresponsible actions.
The Ethiopian PM, and his guardian, the Eritrean president are desperately, covertly, and overtly conspiring 24/7 with a sole agenda to dismantle and decimate TPLF, ultimately aiming to weaken the people of Tigrai. They are sabotaging and vandalizing day and night to disrupt election and peace in Tigray.
It is an open secret that The Eritrean president, Isaias Afewerki, is a crooked, sadistic and typical satanic leader. He should be very grateful to the Ethiopian PM who helped him to wake up 20 years later from his sleep to a very changed world, having missed all the opportunities that a normal and smart leader would prefer to deal with and engage in: build democratic systems; create an environment for the people to live in peace; envision policies to bring economic, social and political changes; provide social services: education, health, and infrastructure that improve the life of the people; nurture and mentor juniors and future leaders, and inspire greatness in others. Instead, the Eritrean president is still suffering from his chronic personality disorders that include but not limited to revenge, stubbornness, conspiracy and warmonger. That is why he has become very busy to coach and tutor the Ethiopian PM to follow his footprints, immediately after he has waked from his 20 years of isolated life.
The Ethiopian PM, seemingly a clever political faker, is doing his level best to copy Isaias’s brand of tyranny, cunning and duplicitous political rules, tactics and personas. The PM’s recent interview in Tigrigna depicts nothing but his deceptive, incapable, manipulative and duplicitous personalities. He blatantly denied that he was not sabotaging and conspiring to weaken Tigrai. He intentionally failed to answer some questions such as the closure of roads to Tigrai.
I have found the PM’s plea to the Tigrai people, to offer their full support to Dr. Debretsion, to be divisive. Mind you, Dr. Debretsion has already complete support of the Tigrai people. All without exception-young and old, female and male, educated and uneducated, Muslim and Christian…-are rallying behind him. I don’t think the Tigrai people need anyone to tell them whom to support or oppose.
The Tigrai people opt to support Dr. Debretsion not guided by emotions but by principles of and commitments to self-rule, justice, equality, peace, freedom, and democratic rights. The PM thinks he is smart but it didn’t occur to his mind that every Tigraian is smarter than him to understand what his motive is-to create a rift and suspicion among TPLF leaders. The message was not ambiguous enough to be misunderstood by any person. Your motive is dead on arrival because you won’t be able to outwit Tigraians as they are wit and nobody’s fool.
The PM has spent some time dancing around to explain his decision to ban Tigrai TV and DW. He unashamedly said that Tigrai TV and DW have been banned because they were found instigating public unrest, post Hachalu Hundessa’s assassination while it is clear to everyone that OMN, Tigrai TV and DW were shut down simply because they have been informing the people of the Nations and Nationalities of their right to self-rule, justice and equality; and to resist and stand against any political move that intend to dismantle the existing federal structure and abolish the constitution.
If he had a true concern about the authenticity of the information aired by medias operating in Ethiopia, he should have, first and foremost, banned those franchised media outlets that have been engaged in more dangerous and provocative propagandas including calling for genocide; insinuating the killings of renowned politicians; fabricating fake news and movies aiming at stirring up conflicts and mass displacements; and airing unfounded and non-stop allegation and accusations against TPLF and the Tigrai people.
The PM also has talked about the Eritrean president as part his interview in Tigrigna. He, without embarrassment, described the Eritrean president as a peace maker and dealer and for this, Eritrea has gained a special acknowledgement around the globe. I don’t have much to say except that the PM’s claim far from reality and is an insult to the Eritrean youth who are fleeing Eritrea due to gross human right violations and fear of imprisonments, brutal killings, and desperate and intolerable living conditions. It is an insult to the Eritrean people who are languishing in prison cells without any appearance to the court for years. It is an insult to those who had spent and lost their precious lives, struggling for 30 years, to bring freedom, peace, and democracy. It is an insult to those who are disallowed to fully engage in economic, social and political developments and innovation. It is an insult to Eritrea too because it failed to develop and prosper by disallowing to benefit from its rich and diverse natural resources.
Make no mistake, Eritrea is a country without a constitution; a country that has prohibited election for three decades violating citizens’ right to vote.
The Ethiopian PM’s franchised media outlets and stooge politicians are calling for assistance and alliance of a foreign country, Eritrea, to declare war against Tigrai, part of Ethiopia. Inviting a foreign country to invade part of one’s own country is exceptionally anomalistic, weird, absurd, idiot, and treasonous guilt of betrayal. That is not all!! The group is also xenophobic. They openly reflect a high level of immorality and a strong hate and prejudice against the people of Tigrai as if Tigrai is not part of Ethiopia but a different country. I believe this to have emanated out of their political illiteracy and lack of critical thinking and understanding of a political landscape.
The sole interest of these culprits is nothing but to grasp power at any cost because they see politics only from the perspective of state control. However, the British political theorist, Bernard Crick, asserted politics as not merely a struggle for power among groups whose aim is to control the state. Instead, Crick identifies three parts in politics: (i) deciding who gets what, when and how; (ii) the exercise of power; and (iii) ensuring the welfare of whole communities. Otherwise, according to Crick, a struggle for power is merely a struggle for power and nothing more.
The Ethiopian PM is determined to destroy Ethiopia and crush the status quo ante against the will of the Nations and Nationalities of Ethiopia. He doesn’t have any capacity and willingness to negotiate, compromise, conciliate and resolve conflicts. The PM and his allies fail to understand politics: (i) as art of government (a tactical disposition of strategies of power and the exercise of control within society through collective decisions); (ii) as public affairs where politics is an ethical activity concerned with creating a ‘just society’ where public realm and the private realm is in line with the division between the state and civil society; (iii) as a compromise and consensus where a political conflicts are resolved using mechanisms of peaceful debates, negotiations, compromising, and conciliation rather than through military forces and naked power; and (iv) as production, distribution and use of resources and power where politics is seen as a struggle over scarce resources, and power can be seen as a means through which this struggle is conducted.
In other words, politics is not confined to a particular sphere. As Adrian Leftwich views it, politics is at the heart of all collective social activity, formal and informal, public and private, institutions and societies and affecting every corner of human existence. It often is portrayed as a process of conflict resolution, in which rival views or competing interests are reconciled with one another through the process of compromise, reconciliation, and consensus and failure to understand this political process is frustrating and difficult. In other words, the disagreements that exist can be resolved without resort to intimidation and violence.
The politics in Ethiopia is guided by no principle but by chains of conspiracies, sabotages, and revenges and figure pointing. Ethiopia, currently lacks the rule of law which implies that every person including lawmakers and law enforcement officials is subject to the law. The PM and his allies are blaming and finger pointing on TPLF/EPRDF’s policies and deficiencies. It never occurred to their mind the complexity of a political power. The worst, they spent about three decades conspiring on how to remove TPLF/EPRDF from power without formulating policies of their own to offer options and directions. As a result, Ethiopia is suffering from political crisis due to lack of a leadership with vision and this puts everything in limbo.
No doubt, this political crisis has a corresponding effect on Tigrai. However, I am strongly confident that the Tigrai people will continue to stand firm, remain strongly bonded and united in one spirit for a cause, and uphold their long-established and time-honored intrinsic traditions of integrity, resilience and resistance to sustain difficulties and defeat their enemies. “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Unity is strength! unity is power! A united Tigrai will win!!!
In connection to this, I would like to reiterate the information that I have previously posted in Aigaforum regarding the 2020 election in Tigrai. I want to bring the information back to the attention of TPLF and all competitor parties who are planning to take part in Tigrai’s 2020 election.
There is one thing that everyone needs to keep in mind. There is no such a perfect election process. Election is always subject to flaws, errors and frauds. Such instances occur even in the U.S. where there are rich election experiences and the process is supported with high tech election tools and human manipulation is expected to be insignificant. However, America is not immune to election to flaws, errors and frauds. The question is how significant are such flaws, errors and frauds? Are these occurring within a permissible margin and an acceptable error?
I am not sure why TPLF still fears competitor parties after many years of political experiences. TPLF has rich experience and well-articulated policies that voters are very well aware of. This provides TPLF a competitive advantage compared to the young parties flourishing in Tigrai. TPLF, by now, should have built enough confidence on how to win election without any need to engage in character assassinations and defamations of competitor parties. This is not healthy and acceptable practice and needs to be addressed and corrected urgently.
Competitor parties also should not focus on complaining and talking about election frauds and deficiencies. Rather, they should look into their internal treats. In most cases, competitor parties in Ethiopia fail to win elections due to lack of well-established and articulated policies. I am including the following information, taken from my previous post because the information is still valid and of worth to share.
[In the past years, it has been a fashion to form a political party in Ethiopia and as a result, parties have mushroomed in large numbers. However, when it comes to policy issues and political ideologies they are either nearly identical or in most instances, very confusing for the public to tell what the differences among them are.
Many of the parties seem to have been established based on personal relationships or affiliations, or with a purpose to revenge or use the party as a platform to express resentments or point fingers on weaknesses and limitations of an incumbent party or I may be wrong, but as a source of income for living. What is not difficult to tell is that the number of parties are many not because the parties have policy variations but sometimes, due to individuals’ stubborn and unwilling behaviors and lack of wits and ability to, tolerate, compromise and accommodate minor procedural differences. Sometimes, they have been seen forming coalitions for the sole purpose of jointly attacking and blackmailing TPLF/EPRDF while they have absolutely disagreeing and contradictory political programs: one intends to reinstate a unitary government, the other dreams to establish federal system based on geography; and another wants the language based federal system to continue but hate TPLF….
As prerequisite, a political party is expected to solicit and articulate ideas that can be converted into viable policy options. In other words, any party intending to run for a political power should have clearly defined and easy to understand policy options, formulated based on facts and realities to address voters’ burning issues; be able to explain how their party is different from others when it comes to issues that include but not limited to the economy, social affairs, health, education, infrastructure, environment, tax rules, civil rights, foreign relations etc.
Election is very important because it allows the people to exercise their democratic right to choose a political party of their preference. In order to do this, the public should be able to clearly see, know and say about the similarities and dissimilarities of each party’s policies and programs. For example, party “A” may have a health policy that focuses on primary prevention (proactive) as opposed to a reactive policy which is usually designed to treat a disease and handle a situation at higher level tiers of a health care delivery system. Thus, the burden of proof rests on party B to convince voters on how its health policy is different from that of party A.
Another possible policy argument can be a position that each party holds regarding government versus private sector roles. Should the government play a leading role in investing and budgeting services such as healthcare, education, infrastructure construction etc. or leave such responsibilities to the private sector by limiting itself (government) to regulatory roles? What economic policy is relevant and applicable? Neo-liberal where the private sector controls and manipulates the economy? Or Developmental State where the government plays a big role while concurrently allowing the private sector to invest where the environment is conducive? Or Socialist where there is a centralized government that fully is in command of the economy? Or any other? In any case, the policies should be easy for voters to understand, see and tell the distinction among the policies of each party.
Otherwise, pointing fingers at the opponent's weakness, malpractices and deficiencies, without having their own clearly defined alternative policy options, may not serve and offer any meaningful and reasonable purposes. For instance, criticizing and suggesting that malaria and cholera are killing people in Tigrai wouldn’t be a policy option. What would have been more appealing to voters is proposing a better alternative health policy that intends to practically address and resolve such health problems.
Make no mistake, there would always be scarcity of resources and budgetary constraints which would be common denominators to all parties intending to assume political power in Tigrai. Importantly, alternative policy recommendations should be somehow Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound (SMART) taking human, financial and material resources into considerations. Each party should propose their estimate of incomes and expenditures for each policy they intend to implement.
Otherwise, in my view, crying foul by itself doesn’t help a political party to win but only their defined, well-articulated and differentiating policies. As defined in the Cambridge dictionary, cry foul means “something that has happened is unfair or illegal” i.e. the accuser party declares and protests that an irregularity has occurred during a process or the process involves injustice and treacherous actions. These accusations can be real allegations or imagined ones.
Cry foul exists anywhere in the world but is becoming a common phenomenon in poor countries such as Ethiopia, especially, every time an election comes. On the surface, some parties seem to seek power through elections. However, at the same time they have been seen getting involved in clandestine plots of a subversive nature and disruptive activities instead of dealing with issues of necessities. Many of them even start to cry foul way far ahead of elections when they feel they will lose when failing to sell their ideas in the political market. The culture of conceding and graciously accepting the realities is lacking.
Now, the council of the Tigrai state has decided to conduct a regional election which is inconsistent to the decision of the Ethiopian House of Federation (HoF) which has extended the terms of the federal and regional lawmakers and the executive branch of the government. The decision of HoF is experiencing heavy public disapproval and push backs. Majority of the parties, scholars, lawyers, and the citizens at large have been and still are expressing their objections, concerns and reservations. Their reasons being thorough deliberations, discussions and debates by representatives of various political interests, and subject matter experts haven’t been made in effort to find a genuine solution to the imminent political and constitutional crises vis the COVID-19 pandemic.
The incumbent Ethiopian government has deliberately ignored and undermined any feasible alternative ideas and proposals, besides its encapsulated group. The PM’s proposed ideas: (i) to dissolve the parliament; (ii) declare a state of emergency; (iii) amend the constitution; and (iv) interpret the constitution are suffering from popular refutations and objections. Now, Ethiopia is on the verge of balkanization. Fear and frustration are growing more than ever before that the PM’s move will certainly lead to an irreversible scenario.
The PM and his affiliates have remained focused and engaged in spewing and sowing hate and beating a war drum to stir up conflicts and create chaos to interrupt the relative peace that the Tigrai state is enjoying compared to the other parts of Ethiopia. There are a lot of background noises and negative propagandas against Tigrai’s decision to comply with the election provisions and meet citizens’ expectation to exercise their right to elect leaders according to the conditions of the constitution. The PM and affiliates may be the first ones in history to oppose election. Threatening a state that seeks to undertake election is unacceptable by any measure of democracy].
Election in Tigrai means a step towards democratization but a bitter pill to election haters. Tigrai will rise, shine and make another history so long as Tigraians remain united and bonded together in one spirit. Unity is strength! unity is power! United we will win and make a difference.