Saturday, November 28, 2009

Response to Neamin Zeleke

Voices From Pens of Patriots Around the Glob
(Websites Response to the confused and Destructive Neamin Zeleke)
From the Editor- I hope Neamin and his likes stop their illusion.(
I would like to state that all views expressed in this email in response to Ato Neamin's email are mine and mine alone and as such I shall take full responsibility. Selam Ato Neamin, I hope this finds you well. I am in receipt of your response. I am sorry for the late reply. Even the holidays can tie us down. I would like to begin and state to you that both of us can debate ad infinitum on the characters of individuals who have played decisive roles for the success and failure of Kinijit, or further back with other unions.
But as I have said before to others that it would get us nowhere other then to pull hairs. It is suffice to say from my point of view though that after all these years of turmoil of shifting alliances, and political maneuvering the only party who showed up to the finish line with a principled document representing the values of Kinijit was none other then AEUP. None brought anything to the table and none recognized the efforts of AEUP for holding on firm to their negotiating points. So in this constant dance of political jostling AEUP did what AEUP had to do; self preserve. For the experience of Kinijit had taught them a lesson – be more cautious where you step in these shifting sands while still looking ahead. AEUP observed correctly that it is better to look within and work to strengthen their constituents then to waste their energies forming alliances with parties that may not share their core values. As to the position of adding more fire power to the negotiating table – when nobody else had any pre-conditions to begin with, is a non-argument. All were ready to go ahead until AEUP showed up at the table with their Senemegbar, and all the dynamics changed. Now AEUP is the culprit for trying to make good with us. You see AEUP realized one thing; that the value of the Code of Conduct was to the extent that it got them closer to their most valuable asset - their voting constituents and nothing more. They know as well as EPRDF that the document that they both signed is not even worth the paper it is written on. From the perspective of the other parties they also understood that the most valuable asset they have is the Senemegbar – a document which cannot be negotiated or traded with in order to form a coalition block. Moreover AEUP have understood that the ultimate arbitrators of power are we the people who will express it at the voting pole and that the sooner they start on it and prepare with a single mind the better they are of. They are already ahead of the game. The Senemegbar that they brought to the negotiating table can become their campaign platform. It needs refinement with additional reforms and rights the people shall ask as they move around the nation on their campaign trail.
This is why I believe the Senemegbar document that they brought to table is a far greater document then the code they signed. For what that document represents to the people is a pledge – a promise to deliver and thus carries more weight. As time will tell in the next few months this shall become more evident as all the noise dies down and people realize they have given the code of conduct more due then it deserved. AEUP has made a strategic but well thought out decision that it is best to lean on a document of their own making of which they have full control then rely on constant shifting alliances that would demand more out of them then what they will get from the alliance itself. It comes from the experience of trying and it has taught them well - better hedge now, be cautious, believe in your strength and be patient and work on your message. And it is their message that will make the difference. WHAT BINDS US As I have pointed out the most important document produced for these rounds of negotiations is NOT the signed Code of conduct, which I don't even give it the light of day. But in fact I will argue in our struggle for democracy, freedom and the rule of law it is none other then AEUP's Senemegbar – Our Document of Freedom. This document built from the blood, tears, suffering and pain of all those who died, or imprisoned or exiled has within it the seeds to our liberty and the foundation for a better constitution reflecting our true nature. That document although designed for the negotiations was also a pledge and promise by AEUP to us the people. AEUP has given us the rough draft.
All we the people have to do is refine this document by demanding more rights and privileges to be included in it if AEUP wishes our votes. Such as: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, and farmlands, against unreasonable seizures, shall not be violated. That all power not delegated by the people to the government belongs and is reserved to the people. That the caretakers of our government shall recognize that we the people shall form a union that reflects our values and that government shall not interfere with that Union we hold sacred. That government recognizes that their power comes from the good will of the people who have chosen them to be the caretakers of that Union we hold sacred. And that power shall be taken back by peaceful means at a given time if the people so desire. That government shall remain always accountable to the people by respecting the rule of law. And that government shall promise to limit itself within and place itself under our new constitution. That our fundamental rights are not inalienable (given by man) but that they are unalienable (given by God/Nature and therefore absolute and can never be taken away) We shall demand from AEUP more land reforms both in the urban areas as well as the country to maintain the rights of the urban dwellers and our farmers if they wish our vote. More reform in labor laws, more reform in trade unions, more reforms to limit and check the power of government over the people, more reforms on the stewardship of the wealth of our natural resources that will reflect the best interest of our people.
To demand reforms that will make us united further as a nation while still respecting our differences. We shall place such demands of rights and reform that even Meles will vote for us. For that document will represent the rights of ALL ETHIOPIANS. We have but six months to fine tune this document. For AEUP will come knocking at our door asking us for our votes and we shall be prepared to give our demands to them in exchange for those votes. We the people shall place our faith and trust in that document we shall add to and not in the frailties of man. It is this document that shall binds us not coalitions. Paid for by the blood of those who have gone before us. And discharge in full by those who still remain to fulfill the dream. What makes the United States work is not the unity of parties or the demand by their people that their leaders be one. What unites this great nation is their constitution – not man but a document. For the founding fathers of this nation realized the weakness and temptations of man and how he can abuse it when given the chance. OUR PATH TO FREEDOM We shall demand that AEUP take this document and us to the promised day, that day when we shall all go out in force united under this document we shall add to that represents we the people and do battle in every village, hamlet, town and city where there shall stand a voting station and vote one more time as we did in 2005 and claim back what was rightfully ours in the beginning. The strength of our resolve, unity of purpose and determination to end tyranny shall carry us to win with that document in our hands.
It is most wonderful that the Almighty in his grace and bountiful mercy has heard our prayer one more time to do battle. That in his finite wisdom has made the battle field so clear of purpose. For there are no clouds of distraction of other would be parties that are here tomorrow gone the next day with shifting principles and alliances. On one side stand the forces of oppression, tyranny, ethnic strife and division. On the other side we the people standing on this Document of freedom. So we should ask for those liberation fronts within Ethiopia that have been forced to raise arms and shed blood for your freedom, that they stand down and do not deny we the people that day of reckoning. That instead they man the voting stations so none is cheated of his/her right. For those would be liberation fronts in foreign lands we hear your promises but are the wiser. We know that you cannot deliver because what we demand is greater then what you can ever give to us. We shall not be persuaded. For those who are EPRDF/TPLF supporters out of fear, know that we are fighting for your rights to. Know that these documents shall contain within them your freedoms. THE PROBLEMS WE FACE We have to understand this, that once EPRDF/TPLF and their foreign handlers realize the might, size, determination, and unity of purpose coming to the voting stations with that document we shall add to pledged to us by AEUP in exchange for our vote in our hand, they shall make every effort to break our will and give cause for AEUP to leave the battlefield through breach of contract. But we will insist that they remain there to the end. For we need them to take us to the voting stations. Their foreign handlers are already at work through the foreign media. With the recent picture of Eng. Hailu signing with Meles freshly printed in our minds they have deluged us with negative news of our nation on almost a daily basis. A case in point Geoffrey York's well timed article of Nov. 7th, which produced the exact effect desired. How? For those Ethiopians distant from politics who read these articles a sense of disbelief and hopelessness weighs in. For those who are deep in the struggle to vent and mis-direct their anger on Eng. Hailu and AEUP, demanding AEUP to leave the agreement, creating sever division within the rank and file and the supporters in the Diaspora.
The western media and their handlers are playing a purposeful reverse psychology so subtle and fine that we fell for it immediately. But we should learn from these lessons and be aware what the purpose and intentions are. To further weaken us into despair by thinking our leaders have sold us out. It is not to say that those problems do not exist. We just have to put them within context and use them as further fuel to go to the voting poles. Yet we shall not be dissuaded. OUR RESOLVE Until that fateful day we shall abide by the law of land. We shall demand as lawful citizens that AEUP carry that document that represents the rights of all our people , and stand firm with whatever hardship may be fall us or them. We shall demand that they do not leave the stage without our mandate behind them. That mandate shall be given when we as a people united over this document shall go to the voting stations as we did in 2005 and from there take over as a people by our power to vote. The agent of our divorce will be none other then EPRDF/TPLF themselves. For we the people united shall make them break the contract by our vote. The stronger we unit the greater they capitulate. I submit to you that the two choices after that day for EPRDF/TPLF is either to accept defeat and step aside graciously – which shall be absolutely impossible and therefore as expected to remain in power by force. Either way they shall break the contract that was forced upon us to sign with them – that worthless document – Their code of conduct. By the act of breaking their promise we the people will give notice to them that they have breached the contract. That by breaching it we shall no longer be bound by it. That under the most sacred fundamental right of a person and a people – the right for self preservation that we shall take our destiny in our own hands and give the mandate to AEUP to walk away and fall back on the document that we had forged together with them during the election campaign. EPRDF/TPLF as a habit may fall back to violence, but their foreign handlers will see to it that this time it shall not happen. For there is to much at stake. Huge amounts of investments and capital have been poured to acquire our lands and build the infrastructure to exploit and extract our nation's wealth. And there is one thing that capital fears more then anything else – Uncertainty. If we as a people are united as one as we were in 2005 there is no way we can loose this time round.
But that unity depends on each and every one of us and requires our full attention for the next six months. DEMOCRACY Understand that the power of AEUP comes only from the ballot and nothing else. Without that in their hand we are all doomed. That mandate can only be given to them by we the people the ultimate arbitrators of power at the voting poles. Know that the more we are united under that document the greater the capitulation of EPRDF/TPLF. It is our strength in numbers, unity of purpose and defiance that will make the difference. Ato Neamin and for all those of you Ethiopians who have had misgivings and concerns about AEUP, know that all your concerns recognized and still standing. Put them aside just this one time, and place your faith in the document that shall come forth that we as a people shall produce to free ourselves. Let us take a page from our rich history when our forefathers put all there issues aside to meet an immediate and imminent danger and won their honor in the fields of Adwa . Let us not deny ourselves our moment of glory that rightfully belongs to our generation. Let it be said by our children and future generations yet to come that we heard the calling and discharged our duties at the voting poles throughout the land of our great nation; in the villages, hamlets, cities and towns, and we did battle once more and won our freedom that has been denied us since the time that we have searched for democracy. For this is the greatest lesson about democracy. The power of we the people cannot be delegated or transferred to a liberation front, a party or a dictator or a coalition. That it cannot be negotiated or traded at a table by anyone. That it is the most sacred responsibility of each citizen realized through the discharge of that duty at the voting pole. We shall head there with the full knowledge that what was taken from us at the negotiations table shall be returned to us in full effect. It is us and only us who can free ourselves. Let it be known to everyone that this is not about warming seats. What is at stake is the shaping of the consciousness of our nation. EPRDF/TPLF knows it and those runners passing by the palace now it when they chanted "6 more months".
As I have said history is on the move either we work together and unite to win or we shall fail divided. So I ask each and everyone of you AEUP has shown you the Senemegbar, what would you add to give them your vote? OUR DECLARATION In the course of a nations history rich such as ours from times ancient there are periods on occasion marked with great triumphs and tragedies. Fortunate is a generation to face such an event once. Even more fortunate is a generation to face it twice for it speaks of their resolve and fortitude to make that which had gone wrong right again. As we move forth in our quest to meet the challenge facing us prudence dictates that we establish the foundation by which we claim to meet the test. Let it be known that We the Ethiopians find great joy in our Union .
That this Union has been blessed by the Supreme Creator. That as diverse as we are we recognizing that which is self evident claim that all men are born and created equal. That we find the common bonds that tie us together as a people of different cultures, races, religions and languages is far greater then any differences forced upon us. That the recognition of individual rights is that which puts us on equal footing. That our fundamental rights are Unalienable. That the land bequeathed to us by our ancestors is a Sacred Trust that we shall bestow upon future generations yet to come without lien or debt.
With this clean spirit of mind and purpose we solemnly swear to seek a Constitution that best represents what we cherish and value most – Our Union. And that Government we create shall know it is the caretaker of our sacred Union , and that the power bestowed on it comes only from the Constitution of the People, by the People, for the People. ke-Akberot Abayneh--- On Tue, 11/24/09, Alemayehu Lakew wrote:From: Alemayehu Lakew Subject: Fwd: Code of Conduct ageement and other issues- Respose to Ato AbaynehTo: EEDN@HOME.EASE.LSOFT.COMDate: Tuesday, November 24, 2009, 6:58 AM========> EEDN: A Home Away from Home <======== Welcome to Our Community, and Please also Visit Our Website: ---------- Forwarded message ----------From: Date: Tue, Nov 24, 2009 at 9:45 AMSubject: Code of Conduct ageement and other issues- Respose to Ato AbaynehTo: Selam Dear Alex:Please foward this one to EEDN.====================================Selam Ato Abayneh:My apology for the delay in responding to your query. It had been very hectic few days, juggling many things. Anyway, I do not have any illusion that that minority dictatorships like the TPLF will ever give up political power through peaceful means only. Even if defeated at the polls it would not do so, it will not give up all its economic, political, and military domination of Ethiopia it has amassed during the past 18 years. There are too much at stake for the TPLF, its ethnic supporters and their cronies from other ethnic groups. However, I do not oppose those that opted to wage their struggle through the peaceful method of struggle so long as they genuinely promote the establishment of real multi-party democracy, and the rule of law, and equality of all citizens and ethnic groups in our country to replace the dictatorship of the TPLF/ERPDF and the hegemony and domination of an elite of a minority ethnic group and their surrogates from other ethnic groups in all realms of Ethiopia’s national life.
In other words, as long as these opposition forces struggle peacefully and legally with a view of democratizing Ethiopia as opposed having an end to shilly-shally in order just to get crumbs and increase their seats in the so-called lame duck parliament by the “good will” of the ruling party and serve it as junior partners of the status quo.In this regard, Ato Hailu Shawel has betrayed the loftiest goals of the democratic movement, in whose banner thousands gave the ultimate including those who followed him and believed in him in 2005. Betrayal is the name I give it for giving in to water down and secondary document that does not meet the criteria to hold free, fair and credible elections in Ethiopia. Therefore the movement towards a democratic Ethiopia has been forced to take a step backwards as the ruling party is using him--and that of the so-called “third way” “critical supporters” like Lidetu and Ayele Chamiso, the very men who betrayed Ato Hailu and the rest of Knijit leaders when they were thrown in prison-to tell the international community that now it has made an agreement with opposition forces. Ato Hailu Shawel has found it better to agree with Woyane in the hope of carving his own little political space and concerned only about his political future and at best that of his organization at the expense of the overwhelming majority of Ethiopians hungry for rule of law, democracy and respect for human rights, their empowerment in the political and economic life of their country. Let us recall that Ethiopians supported Kinjit and its leaders during 2005 due to its forceful demands, and clear alternatives to Woyane and its promise to deliver democracy and rule of law for the people of Ethiopia. It was not the persona of Hailu, Lidetu, Berhanu etc that did the magic of what was then called “Sunami”. It was their unified and unifying message and the vision that did the magic. It was not even the details of the program that people rallied behind.
I doubt if the majority of Ethiopians even read much of it. Instead it was Kinjit’s clear and simple message of change and alternative to the ruling party that won it a widespread support throughout Ethiopia. As astute observers aptly said it was a “protest” support and vote by an electorate that wanted real change and saw kinjit at its rightful agent.Ato Hailu , by signing this lame document, has compromised the strategic objective of those who even struggle via peaceful means, i.e. the widening of the democratic space in order to hold free and fair elections by forcing the ruling party to give serious concessions. The only way that the ruling party could be forced to come to the negotiating table is if done by creating a super majority support among the people of Ethiopia and bringing to fold all opposition forces to a minimum common agenda. If he can make an agreement with the Woyane with whom he has an oceanic gulf, at least as he made it clear in the public declarations of AEUP objectives itself, why can’t he agree with other opposition groups in order to increase their bargaining power not only to attain the bargaining muscle and political clout for entire group but also for each of the players within the group. At the end of the day the more the democratic space and real democratic political order materialzie, the more all players benefit to compete freely once the playing field is leveled. In addition, the absences of these demands, the lack of even the gesture to negotiate about the release of all political prisoners is another tragic, callous and immoral act. One cannot talk of struggling against dictatorship when he or she clearly knows that political prisoners, m irrespective of their affiliation, are political prisoners including his former colleague, Judge Birtuakn Medkesa. As MLK said injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere! The story of the Jew, Socialists, Catholic, etc during the Nazi era come to mind. Neg Bene comes to mind. Where then is the moral leadership that is expected of opposition leaders under conditions of dictatorship? Is leadership simply about calculating their moves to benefit them and their organizations? Ato Hailu discussed only about AEUP’s political prisoners. Even then I am not sure how many of them are released, if ever the harassment has stopped. But we would not even know as he said that the “EPRDF does not like it when we make too much noise; we find it better to write letters and follow up their case” (his interview on the Reporter). Tomorrow the TPLF/EPRDF tells him to stop writing the letters and then he would do so, if we take his logic. Where does it stop? What can we call such an organization that abandons its own methods of exposing human rights abuses, even those enshrined in the so-called constitution under whose ambit it claims to operate?
This last point brings us to the heart of the matter. The constitution is told to be the supreme law of the land. But the TPLF/EPRDF has trampled on it time and again, violating each and every article for the past 16 years since its adoption. There is no reason to expect that, the agreement, a mini version along with few purported benefit to a "privileged" opposition groups, could not be violated by the TPLF. What is also sad, as others in this forum pointed out, is the fact that he did not even demand half of the 8 point preconditions that the Kinjit he himself chaired, presented to the Woyane during the massive fraud by the ruling party following election 2005. Not only that, the damage goes further, the agreement he entered into with the regime and the two parties, has blunted the attempt by Mederk to get at least better concessions as they have made known that a free and fair election cannot be held while the ruling TPLF/EPRDF controls the Election board and appoints the 200, 00 election works at 40, 000 polling stations. They have also demanded rule of law and the release of all political prisoners. Personally I never had much respect nor never expected much from Ato Hailu Shawel since 2003. This was the time when he decided to leave UEDF (coalition of 15 political parties) without solid reasons. He left just ten days after his delegates Maj. Getachew, VP, the late Dr. Meknnen Bishaw Sec. General, made a public statement that they would play a great role in strengthening UEDF. He lied in a statement he made public while the real issue was that he was unhappy due to the fact that conference held for seven days did not elect him as a chairman in his absence. Had he been at the all party conference he would have been elected. But he gave the lame excuse that he was sick , to Shaw up in DC in just about a week to start dismantling UEDF and pull out AEUP.Since then I reached a conclusion that the man is not amenable to political compromise among opposition forces and one who is capable of handling contradictions in far sighted and statmenaly manner as our struggle demands from those who claim to be leaders of the struggle.
That is why I have been saying at time here in EEDN that he is the prime culprit for Kinjit’s split. Even when the problem of Kinjit surfaced, several elder groups genuinely tired to make a peace between him and the rest of Knijit leadership. I know that he was the one who obdurately refused to make peace. He even refused to respond to messages and phone calls from those who tried to reach and talk to him about reconciling to save Kinjit from the impending collapse. As well known, the split of Kinjit too as heavy toll on the hope and aspiration of several millions of Ethiopians for change and freedom. I know these stories in details for fact because most of them came from his own close colleagues who tried their best and in good faith. From close observation of his political steps, his behavior political speaking, etc, Ato Hailu cannot come even close model of a democratic political leadership needed for post TPLF Ethiopia. Tragic indeed, that he has the heart to turn around now seat, negotiate, and agree on a non-essentail document to bring about a genuine change and democracy for Ethiopia. Indeed, he had the stomach to shake hands with a dictator whose hands are drenched with the blood of thousands without getting substantial concessions to hold free and fair elections in Ethiopia. This act says much about the character behind the mask of the person of Ato Hailu. The face grows to fit the mask is no more. The emperor is naked as far as I am concerned. If our struggle was for raw political power and under a condition where there is a democratic system, I can understand and go along with the view that each party can act and calculate to maximize its position vis a vi other players on the political landscape. But when it is done under a dictatorship when our central demand is to win our freedom, dignity, equality dined to us Ethiopians by the TPLF dictatorship, it becomes a cynical pursuit at the expense of the broader struggle of the Ethiopian people for genuinely democratic and free Ethiopia, even when done by those to bring about change via peaceful means. Let us leave all the past evil and wrongs that the TPLF has wrought on Ethiopia and our people. Just think of all those teenagers, mothers, elders, and men and women, who were savagely gunned down after 2005 by Agazi Nazi forces under Meles Zenawi’s direct command. All the bloody massacre against an unarmed protesters and non-protesters alike and whose innocence was proved by the report made public thanks to the couragous move of the Enquiry Commission Meles himself appointed.
Think of all those tens of thousands who were tortured and abused in gruesome prisons after the 2005 elections. They were subjected for inhumane treatment so that individuals and political organizations can calculate how to maximize their individual and organizational power, parliamentary seats and, privilege (as they called for in the agreement that will establish exclusive club that has many entitlements at the expense of many other parties, by itself goes against principles of a democratic political order)This is why I see a great moral bankruptcy of leadership under the current Ethiopian condition where our people are under the yoke of a corrupt ethnic dictatorship that will leave no stone unturned , no tactic unused, no cleaver games from being played to perpetuate its hold on to state power by all and any means.I wrote this in haste and without exhausting the points I hand in mind. I will be writing on these and related issues at length for a broader readership in few days. For now the aforementioned points should suffice to give you what my opinion is.