Ethiopian Election 2015: Magnanimity in Triumph
By Berhane Kahsay
Tigrai Online, May 30, 2015
By coming out en masse, the voters have also sent obvious messages to the extreme opposition at home and in the Diaspora that they would not tolerate any attempt of regime change.
Ethiopian Election 2015 has been concluded without a major hitch according to the preliminary reports released by local and AU observers. Some universities were not able to vote on the day but the Electoral Commission made arrangements for the students to exercise their democratic rights the day after. Prior to the election, contesting political parties had ample opportunities to disseminate their manifestos to the electorates via radio, newspapers , television political broadcasts as well as televised debates on issues related to education, health, foreign policy, land ownership, infrastructure, housing, democracy and human rights.
Fifty seven regional and national parties contested in the transparent and fair election, and around 37 million were registered to vote. Out of these, over 90% were able to cast their votes freely to their preferred candidate/party. According to the results released by the Election Board, the EPRDF has won the election by a landslide paving the way for the formation of a new government for the duration of five years. Massive turn-out of electorates clearly suggest that the EPRDF has the trust of the populace to take the country to the next level of economic prosperity by implementing the next phase of the Growth and Transformational Plan.
By coming out en masse, the voters have also sent obvious messages to the extreme opposition at home and in the Diaspora that they would not tolerate any attempt of regime change by employing brute force. Years of sustained political vilification against the current party in power failed to persuade the electorates not to choose the developmental government for a further five years. If the Ethiopian people had issues with the EPRDF as we are led to believe by the destructive opponents, millions of those that went out to voluntarily vote would have either gone for the opposition or stayed at home to express their dissatisfaction. The people rejected the extremists’ intensive, wide-ranging and well orchestrated campaign to boycott the election that was concluded without a major incident.
Voters have spoken loud and clear, and the political challenges must accept the outcome of the election gracefully and move on. To evade similar destiny in future elections, they have to submit carefully considered policies and programmes that would appeal to the electorates. They also have to be loyal and engage in constructive politics, and work harder to recruit new members by getting nearer to the people throughout the nation instead of consuming their time visiting foreign embassies to plead for a ‘ticket’ to Menelik’s palace. Membership subscriptions would improve their financial status and this would avoid the need to rely on the fringe Diaspora for their political survival. Only under these circumstances could they have any chance of seriously challenging the awesome EPRDF for seats in parliament.
The country has been crying out for strong opponents that can take on the party at the helm and the fortified, inept and impregnable bureaucracy. It seems that in the absence of political competitors, the EPRDF has to be alert more than previously to ensure that corruption and bad governance do not carrier out of control. Things cannot proceed as they are at present and it is supremely paramount to have water-tight mechanisms in place to detect culprits and bring them to justice to face the full force of the law. Government officials should be made accountable and accessible to the general public, and networking and nepotism must not be tolerated at any cost. The EPRDF has been given another opportunity to elevate the economic, social and political transformations of the last twenty years, and to thoroughly cleanse public institutions of inefficient and incompetent state functionaries who have been openly involved in amassing personal wealth.
EPRDF’s clean sweep will no doubt tarnish Ethiopia’s democratic credentials in the international community. The outcome of the election is a God send for pseudo human rights organisations such as Human Rights Watch, Freedom House, Oakland Institute and International Rivers who have been involved in defaming the good name of the developmental government for a lengthy period. To maintain and exalt the sustained economic achievements of the last few decades, continuous flow of foreign direct investment is extremely important. But the so called defenders of human rights will ensure nothing of the sort happens by intensely lobbying foreign investors not to be involved in setting up businesses in Ethiopia. As far as these organisations are concerned, the voter’s preference amounts to nothing as the party that does not serve the interests of their financial sponsors has been elected. So, what can be done to circumvent this and ensure stability and economic progress?
Opposition free parliament in a young democracy does not allow pluralism to proliferate. EPRDF has to be magnanimous in triumph and in the interest of the country; it has to initiate a cordial relationship with the responsible and loyal political opponents. It should even go as far as offering ministerial portfolios where they have both have common policies as a gesture of good will. This has never been tried before, but with a bit of tolerance, understating and compromise it can be made to work effectively and set a precedent for the coming generation.
The people who did not vote for the EPRDF would greatly welcome this worthy political move which would greatly defuse the palpable tension and animosity that exists. To augment the conciliatory act, high profile members of the faithful opposition can also be invited to manage Quasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organisations (Quangos) or be considered for board membership of Ethiopian Airlines and public utilities such as Ethio-Telecom. Such sincere and genuine efforts would please the Ethiopian people, and isolate the unpatriotic foreign sponsored opposition group that routinely conspires to foment civil disobedience and calls for the return of the brutal Derge regime.
Having failed to hoodwink the youth to rise-up against the government, the desperado Derge apologist Messay Kebede is now barking for a military coup to remove the EPRDF that has received an overwhelming mandate from the electorates in the latest general election. Why this man believes that this is doable when he knows full well the composition of the army is a total mystery. Obviously, all his faculties are not in good working and the sooner someone takes this coward and demented person to the nearest manchelot the better.