Wednesday, 31 October 2007

There was a massacre. These demonstrators were unarmed yet the majority died from shots to the head... There is no doubt that excessive force was used
.................................... Judge Wolde-Michael Meshesha
November - a tragic month for Ethiopia
Kinijit’s loss of popular respect and division
..... - A time of great grief

In November 2005, the TPLF security forces committed serious crimes against humanity where innocent civilians were massacred in the streets of Addis Ababa. It is time that we offer our prayers and our support to those who lost their lives and their loved ones.

The Ethiopian people have demonstrated that they can, through democratic and nonviolent protests, resolve political differences even in the current political system. The May 2005 election, which pitted Kinijit and the ruling Woyanne against each other in a run-off vote for the National and the Regional Parliaments, was compromised by massacres, voter intimidation, electoral fraud, triggering popular protests all over Ethiopia. In the wake of the election, a number of complaints regarding voting irregularities in favor of the government supported were raised and under intense scrutiny by domestic and international observers the election was declared undemocratic.

In the aftermaths of the election, the nationwide democratic struggle was highlighted by a series of acts of public meetings, followed by peaceful civil disobedience organized by the Kinijit movement. Student demonstrations followed by mass arrests and massacres in various parts of Addis Ababa and throughout the country. Since May 2005, Ethiopia has been under de facto Marital Law where the TPLF army has taken control of almost the entire administration and the justice system. During the October and November 2005, we were thrown into Kaliti jail and became victims of the TPLF-controlled judiciary system along with thousands of others prisoners.

Even now, there are several credible evidences that persons accused of anti-government crimes are denied fair trials. Such trials are commonly held in secret, and the defendants in many cases are not permitted to speak with an attorney until their appearance before the judge at the hearing. Today, thousands of Ethiopians in Oromia and Ogaden are subjected to killings, detention, torture, rape and harassment for being (suspected) members of respectively the OLF and ONLF. In the urban Oromia, the TPLF authorities treat Oromia’s student population in particular with suspicion and mistrust. Students who have the misfortune to be labelled subversives by government officials have been imprisoned, tortured or expelled from school. The ruling party still controls over this vast territory through a highly repressive system of governance that grants power to the local level armed foolish OPDO to harass non-Oromo settlers whom the TPLF referrers to as neftegna. Hence, by fuelling conflicts among ethnic groups, the TPLF leadership is responsible for several cases of killings, arrests, tortures and widespread harassments in rural Ethiopia. The arbitrary arrests, torture, extrajudicial killings and disappearances are all purely politically motivated of innocent people in the face of the ruling party's police and security forces.

The ruling party, TPLF, is the worst ever regime in Ethiopian history when it comes to human rights violations. This dictatorial political system is not pressured into prompt and adequate action to deal with human rights violations because there are no real opposi­tion parties or inde­pen­dent and vigorously active newspapers to campaign on behalf of the masses. In fact, Kinijit is the only political party that could potentially be the strongest opposition to challenge the TPLF regime on human rights issues. As we observe, however, Kinijit itself has become suicidal and self-distructuve. Moreover, it is losing a widespread support and confidence from the voters when its elites are proposing and taking actions without consulting the stakeholders of the party.
Now is the time for Kinijt leadership to work hard in order to legalise the party and solve the internal differences in collaboration with the voters in Ethiopia. The Executives seem have made themselves hostages to the Diaspora public, whose contribution should have been nothing more than financial support and advocating human rights affairs in Ethiopia. They have to make sure that they only serve the primary stakeholders of the party i.e. the Ethiopians people.
In the memory of those who lost their lives in 2005, I pray and hope that the leadership will remain loyal and accountable to those millions of voters in Ethiopia.

I hope the November 2005 violence will not be taken in vain by the Executives of Kinijit. We have learned a lot from the May 2005 election and the horrific massacre that followed. Now it is time go back to Ethiopia, become united again and continue the struggle for freedom and democracy. It is my hope that the leadership will soon pursue the building up and the democratization of the party itself in order to challenge the ruling party, fight for the human rights and continue the struggle in a transparent and democratic manner in Ethiopia.

Let’s remember and commemorate those young boys and girls who never returned to their respective homes for two years ago. May God bless us with enough compassion to pray and comfort those families who mourn everyday and every year.