A Vote of Thanks!!!

Tsehaye Debalkew
April 15 2010

I sincerely, appreciate the keen interest demonstrated in the US, by government officials, congressmen & women, civil society leaders, prominent personalities from the world of business & academia pertaining to the development process that Ethiopia has currently anchored itself on. I surely recognize the immense lesson that our country is poised to draw from the invaluable American experience in building a democratic system from the dearth of its unique political history.

I am also doubly aware that there is a considered and broad understanding of acknowledgement that the ultimate decision to be made on the choice and the need to grasp the desired values should be left to, and solely rests on the will of the Ethiopian people who undoubtedly have the sovereign right to own and determine their future.

I wholly concur with the urge & appropriateness of the articulated interest to contribute your share towards bolstering the human rights condition in our country which is on the right trajectory, albeit, at its infancy. I have come to learn of your interest to contribute your share towards Good Governance, Democracy, Peace, Security and Sustainable Development in Ethiopia.

It is my bounden belief that the institutionalization of a dependable and sustainable democratic culture calls, primarily for an adequate span of time that allows the interplay of the intricacies and idiosyncrasies contingent upon the fruition of the building blocks necessary to realize a practicable and working system in sync with the values and the level of literacy and development of our country in a given historical context through an arduous and an inescapable process that can only be had through dialogue and peaceful discourse on issues that matter most to our country, Ethiopia.

However, a closer scrutiny of this disposition reveals that most of the good wishes and intentions fly in the air as they are observed either to be pushed through in an egregious fashion, without due regard to the objective reality on the ground or are simply plain and dry prescriptions that have to be swallowed unconditionally.

It is equally pertinent to note that today’s developed countries of Europe and the US, who are espoused as power-houses of democracy attained their fully-fledged level by passing through bumpy roads spanning hundreds of years and least of all, not by done deals, but by prolonged experience of trial and error.

It is against this backdrop that the democratic exercise that is currently exhibited in Ethiopia should be appreciated. There should not be a shred of doubt and ambiguity on the commitment and decided resolve of the Ethiopian people to build a democratic, developed, free and sovereign society for it is only this and only this path that is the proven panacea of all the ills that abound in our midst today. Equally important is the indisputable truth that we certainly need to draw invaluable lesson from the heretofore cumulative wealth of humanity in order to benefit by not repeating the same experience that has hitherto been proved erroneous. The gist of the matter lies not in the varied facades, forms and approaches that each society opts to realize democracy but on the substance and essence and the core values that define the system per se.

Needless to say, the Federal arrangements of the US and neighboring Canada are not identical. But truly both countries are referred to as bastions of democracy. On the other hand, the UK and the US are both pioneering democracies, but have two different forms of governments. The US boasts of a Congress constituting the Senate and the House of Representatives and a President elected by universal suffrage every four years with a term limit of two election periods.

While on the other hand, in the UK, we have a parliamentary system consisting of two Houses; the House of Commons and the House of lords, wherein members of the Upper HOUSE or the House of Lords are chosen by virtue of their Pure Blood or Hereditary Rights derived from the Monarchy and the Nobility and the Prime Minister, not predicated by any term limits is elected from the House of Commons who are direct representatives of the electorate.

All the same both the US and the UK are rightly eulogized as the champions and birth places of democracy. It is interesting to note at this juncture that both countries, the US and the UK have not replicated identically twin systems of democracy anywhere on the Globe. But it is a common occurrence to observe the two aged democracies prescribing identical forms of democracy to reign in the world while retaining their unique features of democracy that they jealously preserve in their respective domestic turf.

As a conduit to my consummation of this modest comparative presentation let me state that, it is my sincere belief that those of us who have the bounden duty of helping Ethiopia to overcome its multitude of social ills, economic conundrums and political saga, should be cognizant of the importance of continuity and peace in the country. Any change that we support and uphold must ensure that it is incremental and at the same time must leave the ultimate decision to the Ethiopian people to decide their own destiny without interference.

May, I seize upon this opportunity to bring to the attention of all and sundry therefore, to accentuate my solemn trust to extend your support to the process of democracy in Ethiopia in light of the upcoming May 23, 2010 election, taking it as one but nonetheless important steppingstone and landmark on the roadmap of building a viable Democratic system in Ethiopia for to do otherwise is tantamount to the dereliction of duty and smacks against your core belief of supporting Ethiopia and indeed Africa in general, with the pious intent of bringing a sustainable positive progress without hitches and glitches wrought by outlandish push or by resort to none-peaceful means of effecting the needed transformation.

I strongly subscribe to the sincere oath that change should be forthcoming with the ultimate decision of the change makers, the Ethiopian people, not the other way round, for the stakes that call for unwanted and unmitigated violence are too high!