On May 24 last week, the ruling party in Ethiopia held a sham election, claiming 100% win. The election confirmed what most Ethiopians and foreign observers have been saying all along — there is not even a semblance of democracy and rule of law in Ethiopia. The completely fraudulent election has confirmed beyond the shadow of the doubt that Ethiopia’s ruling party has no intention to transition Ethiopia into a democracy. So what is next for Ethiopian civil societies and opposition parties?
A discussion was held on this subject yesterday [listen here] at the Ethiopians Forum for Political Civility room in Paltalk. At the discussion, which was attended by over 800 people, the panelists Ato Sileshi Tilahun, head of the Ethiopian National Transitional Council (ENTC), and Ato Seyoum Workneh, head of public relations for the Ethiopian Youth National Movement (EYNM), presented concrete proposals.
Ato Sileshi said that since the ENTC was formed in July 2012, it has been advocating the formation of an alternative force that would work to remove the TPLF/EPRDF regime and replace it with an all-inclusive transitional government. ENTC has organized several public meetings on this subject over the past 3 years. A concerted effort to form a coalition of political, civic and religious organizations, prominent individuals and the media is underway. An agreement is expected to be reached on what to call this alternative force among the organizations subscribing to this idea of a united, all-inclusive alternative force. ENTC’s proposal is to set up a government in exile.
Ato Sileshi explained that various proposals, including ENTC’s, will be discussed at the upcoming consultative conference that is called by four organizations on July 2 and 3, 2015, in Washington DC. Regarding ENTC’s proposal to form a government in exile, Ato Sileshi outlined the following reasons:
1. Ethiopia doesn’t have a government that represents the interests of the people.
2. The ruling party TPLF/EPRDF does not have a popular mandate to govern.
3. The worsening repression in Ethiopia and economic malaise have created the condition for a violent popular appraising similar to what we are witnessing in Syria today. To avoid such a bloody revolution, Ethiopian political, civil and religious groups, as well as the international community, have the responsibility to help remove the dictatorship and replace it with a transitional government. In the face of imminent calamity, doing nothing is an incredible negligence.
The next guest panelist was Ato Seyoum Workneh from EYNM. Ato Seyoum explained EYNM’s similar position and also stressed the urgent need for an all-inclusive united alternative opposition urgently coming up with an instrument to remove and replace the unrepresentative regime in Ethiopia that is doing incalculable damage to the country.
Several individuals who attended the discussion took turns to give their opinions and ask questions. The discussion will continue at the July 2 and 3 conference in Washington DC, as well as other venues.