The recent division within the opposition parties, the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) and the Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Party (EPRP), is putting barriers on the future of everybody’s struggle. The Ethiopian public is greatly disappointed and frustrated to see the endless intra-party amoebic splits and factions.  The popular democratic movement that began more than three decades ago is set to be frustrated and the untold misery and despair to our people resulting from the socioeconomic havoc to the country is likely to continue for many years to come.

Given this spate of intra-party fragmentation, the Ethiopian National Congress (ENC) finds it necessary to reiterate the basics of its belief: unity, peace and reconciliation. These are necessary for Ethiopia’s national survival, and we expect all who read us to be similarly aware and concerned. Since its inception in 1997, the ENC has been maintaining its neutrality in order to create and provide an enabling environment for peace and reconciliation. It has always engaged in bringing various groups with divergent views together. It has also been promoting the rule of law, the respect for human dignity and liberty.  Its educational campaigns have been on elections, good governance, coexistence and civil society associations. roles in the crucial area of unity, peace and development. It has achieved a significant success in the formation of UEDF, and is still committed to bring these within parties.

We, therefore, cannot but emphasize that no amount of political justification warrants the breakup of popular political parties. Intra-party divisions and squabbles result in self-destruction and implosion, and take us away from reaching our cherished goals. They destroy the drive for unity, peace, and democratic governance for which many of our country men and women sacrificed their lives.  Despicable and shameful exchanges discrediting each other have become the norm in electronic media discourse.  Focusing on minutia rather than communalities or explanations of differences, intransigency and stubbornness have substituted diplomacy and magnanimity.  This kind of crippling behavior must stop.  In the current Ethiopian context, Ethiopians have to speak out and find ways and means of arresting this kind of political culture once and for all.

The ENC calls on the rank and file members of political parties to join us in challenging the untimely and unnecessary divisions. Party members should recognize that whenever inter-party crisis arise, accumulated anger, miscommunication or perceived motives could prevent .rational. decision-making.  They should not feel constrained by the formal decisions of the governing structure of their particular parties.  In fact they should even cross the .political. divide, reach out to one another, and form task forces to seek rapprochement. We also call on concerned Ethiopians and civil society associations in
Ethiopia and in the Diaspora to come together and seek joint solutions to this grave and haunting problem fragmentation among the opposition parties.

There are four other prime reasons for promoting intra-party reconciliation. Firstly, it is crucial for the whole purpose of having parliamentary democracy and the rule of law. Political parties must lead to win parliamentary seats, premierships and other state positions. In the Ethiopian context where the rule of the gun has proved supreme, they can at least present a formidable front as opposition parties or coalitions.  National voters and, less importantly international observers, would be less confused if they could avoid parading a multiplicity of personalities, fine-line differences and fragmentation.  Their unity and strength should herald, at the minimum, the victory of parliamentary democracy and the rule of law.

Secondly, there is an urgent need to defeat the destructive impact of ethnic focused politics that has been used effectively to pit voters, individuals and parties against each other though the simple and antiquated principle of .divide and rule. along ethnic lines. This has cost Ethiopians their lives and property, and caused untold damage to our self-image. Even if our sense of nationhood is still intact, the fact that our national status has been abused in this manner is eroding our territorial integrity, national security, and our human and material resources. In the name of .free market. economic principles, it has allowed the introduction of the unfettered sale of Ethiopian precious assets, territories and land plots. Our youth migrating in search of employment are falling victims to abuses. National parties in opposition should spend their energies in combating such impacts of divide and rule.

Thirdly, Ethiopians are weary of diverting their national interests into personalized, patrimonial politics. The culture of person focused politics, one that depends on a person.s wealth, looks, gender or other forms of identity, has been the hall mark of processes with which self-interested individuals have abused their power.. The unwarranted claim that policies are entirely dependant on personalities misses the point that rulers, political leaders or other individuals have to abide by the rule of law. It has given African leaders the right to use the armed forces against their peaceful nationals. We plead with political parties in opposition not to contribute to the condition that allow those in the reins of power tofollow such paths.

Fourthly, the Ethiopian opposition parties are insufficiently prepared to deal with the grave situation the country is facing in north east Africa. If the wars the regime is now embroiled come home to roost, our society and country might be exposed to untold harm. If the geopolitical scenario leads to tensions along the Red Sea and the region of the Blue Nile, Ethiopia will be the loser. It would be impossible for any of these opposition parties to overcome their internal bickering and inter-party rivalry in time to respond effectively for protecting the country. They may not be able to inspire public confidence from their divided base, and chances will be that Ethiopia will be exposed yet again to forces that might impose themselves on the country.

The opposition political parties have the duty of promoting our national interests and survival.  By working to regain the rule of law, the respect for human rights and the right to have a parliamentary democracy in Ethiopia, they should inspire and engage us all in dialogue.  They should lead a victorious, peaceful and genuine transformation of Ethiopia through the geopolitics of north-east Africa.  We strongly advise them to listen to our pleas for their internal and intra-party unity. We hope that all interested individuals and groups will join us in convincing them to reconcile their differences, at least as a tactical move.

The Ethiopian National Congress



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  1. geremew balcha says:

    ENC leader Gebeyehu Ijigu was present in a faction’s pal talk in support,maybe, of his brother Debebe Ijigu. The ENC ids this compromised and in no position to act as a mediator unless this person leaves. The ENC also knows the real nature of Wedi Begashaw in Chicago or re thye forgetting?

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