By Alemu Hurissa
Cartoonist depiction of the election in Ethiopia
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. If not all, most of the people in every country have heard of what human right is about. According to the Universal declaration of human rights, no one or a group shall be subjected to torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading conditions, regardless of race, colour, sex, religion, political opinions or language, which means
-all are equal before the law and have equal protection of the law.
-everyone has the right to have their case considered by an impartial tribunal.
-citizens have the right to express their opinion freely, the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association are inalienable basic human rights.
-everyone must abide by the moral requirements, laws and regulations. In a democratic country people’s will also shall be expressed through elections and the government would not interfere with ballot box as the popularity of the party’s platform will be decided only by a secret ballot and the ballot box result.
In Ethiopia what has been mentioned above is not totally exercised mainly due to the fact that the TPLF/EPRDF regime has not departed from using excessive force, and the rule of law has been violated by the regime everywhere in the country, particularly in Oromia. Nelson Mandela once said,
“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity. To impose on them a wretched life of hunger and deprivation is to dehumanise them.”
One would simply wish Mandela’s words are observed and practiced carefully by the TPLF regime and its members who have been dehumanizing, subjugating and killing innocent Oromo people with the sole purpose of controlling their day-to-day life and their natural resources.
Since Tigray Peoples Liberation Front,(TPLF) has come to power, they are recognised more for behaving as if Oromia and other regions in Ethiopia are their private property than for any other thing as they also seem to think as if political power, that has been used by TPLF/EPRDF regime and its members to subjugate, repress, torture, imprison, impoverish, exploit and kill innocent people is something they inherited from their Tigrian ancestors. I believe except TPLF/EPRDF regime no one or group ever considered the country and political power as its private property in the history of our country.The country and its political power should belong to the public at large not to the gun-toting few tribal cabals.
When I studied and learned what TPLF has done since they overtook political power in our country, it sounded like from the beginning they came to power to have everything under their control and lead the people into abject poverty, as a result of which obviously, citizens became powerless and forced into submission to TPLF regime in order to get basic necessity for survival while
TPLF regime members & few Tigran loyalists enjoy a luxurious life style.
The TPLF/EPRDF regime members and loyalists have gained wealth in many fronts, corruption being the leading means besides the aid money diverted into the pocket of the few and the purchase of weapons used to suppress the oppressed people under their misrule. While aid money for a poor contry like ours is welcome , the donor country should have used their power to hold TPLF thugs to account for misusing the dole. For example when Juventus football club was found guilty of match fixing corruption, it was relegated to the second division and also hit by many other punishments. Likewise, there is a moral duty to hold dictatorial regimes like TPLF/EPRDF who caused people to suffer and play games with their life to account unless the West and America is determined to support the criminal government of Ethiopia instead of the people.
As we know, fake national elections took place in 1992, 1994, 1995, 2000,
2005 and 2010 in Ethiopia. In all these fake elections, the people who could have played the decisive part in those general elections have been excluded from the processes of decision making positions. Because of this the Ethiopian government failed to secure domestic legitimacy from the countries citizens except from western countries that recognized them as a true winner of all those elections by ignoring the principles of a true democracy and respect for human rights.
Especially when I remembered the election that took place for the last two decades in Ethiopia, I always feel pain for many reasons:-
– First, when I remember those who lost their lives after they have been shot to death by TPLF regime security forces for demaning the result of the said to be free and fair election.
-Secondly, when I remember how TPLF regime ignored the will of the people and declared themselves as the genuine winners of the election contrary to the reality.
– Thirdly, when I remember how TPLF regime put Oromo activists and others in prison and torture chambers, how they brutally killed many Oromo students in different incidents while the students peacefully protested for justice and freedom.
– Fourthly when I think about Western powers who ignored the will of our people and continued supporting the dictator regime in Ethiopia.
-Fifthly when I think about the way TPLF regime and its members robbed the natural resources of Oromia and other regions in Ethiopia and harassed and killed the innocent people by the weapons that has been bought with the natural resources it has robbed from the country.
The TPLF/EPRDF regime has claimed all those fake elections as true winner in Oromia and other regions in Ethiopia and managed to carry on with their repressive political system, with the help of purpose-designed fake organizations like the Oromo Peoples Democratic Organization (OPDO), which is a collection of elements of some Oromo natives and individuals of other tribes who settled and lived in Oromia and could speak Oromiffa/ Oromo language. These TPLF lackeys have no any concern and affection for Oromo people whom they have betrayed and exchanged for personal wealth and achievement of low level political positions. These organizations enable TPLF thugs to persecute, torture, and kill Oromo people and plunder the natural resources of Oromia in order to enrich the TPLF/EPRDF regime members.
Apparently, OPDO and other organizations are a key players in keeping woyane in power by being a replacement to Oromo Liberation Front(OLF) in Oromia which is the richest and most populous regionl state. Obviously, the TPLF government always critics of OLF and caused sufferings OLF members and supporters, not because OLF have done something wrong, but TPLF is aware of that if OLF get an opportunity to represent Oromo people in national elections in Ethiopia,TPLF has no chance of winning the elections by any means, because OLF is the organization that determined to bring a change in Oromia. In addition to this, the OPDOs help,TPLF to keep OLF at bay since it is the organization that is struggling to bring a true democracy, political and
socio-economic change, justice and freedom in Oromia in particular and
Ethiopia in general.
We have seen Woyanes having been in power for so long but we have not seen any change in Ethiopia either in politics, economy, human rights, freedom of expression which is the pillar of a democratic and free society that is unnatural to the TPLF/EPRDF regime. The regime has totally failed to care about the society. As associate professor of political science and international relations at Addis Ababa University, Dr. Merera Gudina said Woyane politics is one step forward and two steps backward and the same professor also said when he presented about Ethiopian national election, if a team enters into a football match with its own referee, it is not difficult to know which team will win the game. Generally, Ethiopian politics has continued being repressive in
its manner and the election process as bad as it was in the Derg era.
The ruling party has already started, as it used to do in the past through its security forces and cadres, intimidating, arresting and torturing, opposition leaders and their members and supporters, journalists and bloggers before elections, this is due to the fact that they want to redirect the citizen’s thought and attention, hence it would be naive to expect a free and fair election in that country, while TPLF is in charge of political power. As it has been many times, election in Ethiopia is planned and designed in advance including pre- registration with intimidation and ballot stuffing for a biased and favorable result. This is due to the fact that the country’s security force composition and the Ethiopian television which could reasonably be termed as TPLF TV are all in favour of the ruling party.
This picture proved for us how the government security forces are beaten those who protested(Women and youth) against vote rigging.
The Western countries also seem to be supporting TPLF/EPRDF unconditionally. What is most disheartening unfortunate is the fact that a country like America that claims to advocate democracy and human rights dedicates itself to supporting, recognizing, inviting and welcoming Ethiopian political leaders to a very important meetings for Africa and America while they know these leaders torture, abuse and kill the innocent people in Ethiopia, particularly in Oromia. Because of these facts and factors, we cannot expect a free and fair election from TPLF/EPRDF regime on the upcoming general election.
The other reason is the TPLF/EPRDF regime and their members also proved how any election process and its result under their rule would always be a fake exercise when they claimed that they won election by 99.6% in the general election in 2010. Though it was a shameful event in the history of elections anywhere in the world, the TPLF is a careless organization that can do an immoral thing they could afford to retain political power. As we know they did not give even a little space and an opportunity for opposition parties to come out and propagate their political programs to the public in all elections that took place while TPLF was in power.
The reason why the opposition parties did/do not get chance is because national TV remains controlled by TPLF/EPRDF, on the other hand if opposition leaders and their members use social media to reach their supporters, TPLF would accuse them of treason that can possibly subject them to brutal torture and possible death. Besides this, the people have no right of protesting if and when their vote gets stolen. I conclude my article by saying that, if we are really to save our country and avoid an unprecedented crisis, all true citizens of Ethiopia in general and the Oromo people in particular need to join hands and stand shoulder-to-shoulder to bring a true democracy and unlimitted freedom of speech, in order to enable citizens to express their dissatisfaction with their government’s performance and chart their own destiny without a brutal government lording on their life only to hamper the free exercise of their God given right.