The role of women in the 2010 national election

By Fanowedy Samara
Feb. 25 2010

In a democratic system of government, the ultimate and sovereign political power resides in 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). Furthermore, article 56 of the constitution orders that a political party, or a coalition of political parties that has the greatest number of seats in the House of Peoples' Representatives shall form the Executive and lead it. This clearly indicates the importance of multi-party system in the country.

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 stadium. And no one should undermine the importance of a single vote 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 women should play. As the women with complex sets of roles are the most vulnerable segment of the given society, they should seriously watch out and actively participate in the 2010 National Election. Women have tremendous sets of roles when they rationally participate in this election, exercising their constitutional rights and duties, and determine the prospect fate of their nation are among the pillar ones. Women should never be confused that their current decision spills over to the next generation as well. Hence, the proper decision of women in this national election benefits women themselves, their next generation and the country as whole. That is why the author gives special attention to the voice of women in the 2010 National Election.

Women as being mothers, wives, sisters and offsprings of the society, should play the following two critical roles in the remaining periods of the 2010 National Election. The first and the most important role of every woman in the election process is to rationally give her voice to the political body or individual candidate. In this stage, every woman should stop and critically analyze why she needs to give her voice to that political body. Moreover, she should be very vigilant that a single negligence in this critical decision could lead to dire political, economic, social consequences in the country. Hence, she should properly use her wisdom to accurately judge the would-be domino effect of her decisions. And she should look forward deep in to the future. Every step of her verdict should contribute to or should never hamper the realization of the Ethiopian Renaissance, the struggle to ensure the equality and equal opportunity of women.

Before giving her voice, every woman should carefully evaluate and analyze the available programs and policy options of every political body, be it a party or an individual candidate in relation to the special needs and opportunities of women. Moreover, she should never evaluate the available programs and policy options of the political parties from a single perspective. She should rather investigate it from all the possible angles, i.e. from its holistic nature. Otherwise, her decision might probably be incomplete and incomprehensive which in turn could lead to unintended consequences. And it should be clear that it is her decision that causes catastrophe or leads the nation to prosperity and remarkable development. Hence, this stage demands special rational thinking and sober analysis of each woman either she has to choose peace and order, stability, development, good governance democracy etc or she should realize that her sons, husband, brothers and relatives could not carry out their day-to-day activities peacefully. This in turn would definitely harm the entire well being of the nation today and its prospect as well.

She should never be deceived by the golden fallacies of certain political bodies that do not practically have any realistic 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 and Mussolini are practical examples to the case at hand. Thus, every woman should critically analyze the available programs and policy options and past experiences of these political bodies in ensuring the right of women in particular and the right of citizens in general. And every woman should be clear that most of the political entities were hatched by Haileselassie and Mengistu chauvinism and totalitarianism incubators. These parties are the collection of individuals or groups who Red Terror and mass massacre and now fighting to darken the bright hopes of Ethiopians which is obtained through the extraordinary sacrifice of the Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities and Peoples.

Secondly, every woman should struggle to safeguard the constitution and constitutionally established organs of the state. This is extremely important role of each woman to maintain the integrity of the nation. However, the author never undermines the relevance of registration and voting. This is the most critical role of every woman to save the nations from endless catastrophe and never-ending political disaster. It is also the most significant role of every woman that needs to determine the prospect destiny of her sons, husband, brothers and relatives as well. Moreover, this is the most vital role of each woman to ensure her constitutional rights.

The author calls the women to struggle against any form or content of violence in relation to the National Election in order to promote and strengthen the democratic process of the nation. Every woman needs to promote the democratic endeavors of the election where by ensuring citizensí equal access and opportunity to vote in a secured and peaceful political environment. Here every woman has to play three major roles.

First she should never be involved in any form of illegal practices throughout the entire election process, i.e. she should be free of any violence while at the same time actively participating to ensure the democratic process of the election. Secondly, she needs to inform her offsprings, husband, brothers and relatives not to involve in any form of violence. And thirdly, she should struggle against those cliques who sow bitter seeds of intolerance, chaos and public unrest pre, during and post election periods. If every woman properly plays these three major roles, the author believes that the would-be calamities of the election would be significantly alleviated. Moreover, these forces who are desperately preparing to assume state power other than that is provided under the FDRE Constitution would be forced to cripple their illegal motives. Thus, every woman ought to play these responsibly and effectively.

Ethiopian Political 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. Sometimes they use the womenís question as a decisive instrument by inciting tremendous unrealistic promises. Even there are certain witnesses which some political bodies ruthlessly spray their unfiltered politics before the legal rally for vote is launched. These cliques are madly struggling to dim the bright hopes of the Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities and Peoples through disseminating their naÔve prophecy about the would-be outcomes of the National Election. Hence, each woman needs to be very conscious and critical to every activity of these political entities.

By and large the ABCs of the women in the election process should focus towards ensuring the constitution and constitutionally established organs of the state in order to guarantee their constitutional rights. That is, women should consciously scout the democratic nature of the election and call for adequate measures whenever the rule of law is violated for whatever reasons. In so doing, they should never collaborate with any disruptive force. They are , rather, expected to tell these disruptive forces that they are violating the law whenever they infringe it.

Women are not needed to focus towards ensuring the constitution and constitutionally established organs of the state for the sake of ensuring it. Rather, they are required to ensure the constitutional rights and/or duties of citizens in order to enhance the nationís democratic endeavors in general and their constitutional rights in particular. Moreover, they are 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 women in this 2010 National Election would definitely unlock an outstanding time of democracy so long as they properly handle its process. This is the question that every woman needs to address in order to meet the contemporary demands of their mother country-Ethiopia. This is the historic responsibility of women in order to emancipate the nation from abject poverty and enhance the political, social, economic, psychological development of the Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities and Peoples in general and that of the women in particular. This is also the primary duty of women 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. This in turn saves the nation from disintegration and catastrophe that certain political bodies claim to put it in place. Thus, every woman should ascertain her crux contribution in signifying the Ethiopian Renaissance through properly implementing the above mentioned determinant roles. And the author is confident that the Ethiopian women could play their roles responsibly for it is the only way that saves the nation from the evil attempts of certain disruptive political forces.