A Manifesto Addressing Contemporary and Fundamental Problems in Ethiopia
Ethiopian Federal Democratic Unity Forum (MEDREK)
A Manifesto Addressing Contemporary and Fundamental Problems in Ethiopia
Part 1: Introduction
During the last 21 years, EPRDF has been claiming that, through the guidance of the philosophy of “Revolutionary Democracy”, peace and stability has prevailed in our country; that an amazing and rapid economic growth (over 11 % annually) has been achieved; that soon after a period of two decades, Ethiopia will join the ranks of middle-income countries such as South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and other countries, etc. Furthermore, through its incessant propaganda, it has been telling the people ad nauseam that Ethiopia is a country where the rule of law prevails, human and democratic rights are respected and the equal rights of nations and nationalities are guaranteed. As if all this has not been enough, and even after the passing away of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, the boring propaganda continues to tell the Ethiopian people that Ethiopia is a land where justice, democracy, peace and prosperity prevail. It has failed to realize that if this state of false propaganda continues unchecked, it can result in further damage on the wellbeing of the nation, on the peace and stability of the people and on the growth of the economy.
When, in this 21st century, the majority of the people in the world are living in an environment where a democratic system prevails, justice and the rule of law are respected, and they freely choose or dismiss their leaders, the people of Ethiopia find themselves under the rule of one party that is oppressive and absolutely dictatorial. They are living in a system where human and democratic rights are trampled upon and where there is no justice, equality or good governance. To begin with, we will cite few among most prominent damages done by the oppressive to the Ethiopian people and the country as a whole.
1.1 During the 2005 election, because there was a somewhat favorable political opening, the people took advantage of that opportunity and scored a decisive victory over EPRDF. However, on the very evening of Election Day, while the votes were still being counted, the government declared a state of emergency. It used its defense, police and security forces, let loose its sharp-shooters and rained bullets on the people. As ascertained even by its own investigating commission, 193 innocent people were killed, tens of thousands of people, whose only crime was demanding justice, were jammed into prisons where numerous citizens were subjected to tortures resulting in lasting bodily and mental damages.
1.2 When the ruling party realized that it could not stay in power by the will of the people, it narrowed the political landscape and devised and implemented a comprehensive network of oppression to prevent opposition parties from reaching the people and to prolong its stay in power.
1.3 During the 2010 national election, EPRDF totally controlled the voting process through its 1-to-5 bonding system and unashamedly declared that it had won the election by 99.6%. By so doing, it has dashed the people’s hope of establishing a multi-party democracy in their country and instituted over the Ethiopian people a lone and dictatorially dominant party rule bolstered by the barrel of the gun.
1.4 The whole bureaucratic resource, including foreign aid, has been used as a political weapon to the advantage of the members of the ruling party and to the exclusion of those who are not its members or supporters.
1.5 Beyond condemning Ethiopia to a landlocked status, our rulers have also been engaged in measures that included ceding our borders.
Part 2: Problems of the Country in detail
2.1 On Political Matters
As ascertained by various independent studies, our country is listed among those countries that are under a typically dictatorial rule. The following are cited as evidence.
2.1.1 The process of building a multi-party system in our country has been aborted and that has fundamentally been due to EPRDF’s negative principle of Revolutionary Democracy.
2.1.2 There is a lack of a responsible body in this country for guaranteeing respect for the rule of law at various stages of the administrative system.
2.1.3 The right of freedom of speech that has been dimming all along is now about to be extinguished and the violation of human rights is being perpetrated widely.
2.1.4 There is a lack of democratic institutions and those that are said to exist (Parliament, Election Board, House of the Federation, Human Rights Commission, etc) are operating under the absolute control of EPRDF.
2.1.5 Ever since the 2005 election, EPRDF has been waging an offensive against legitimate civic organizations; issuing new laws; paralyzing civil societies that are outside the full control of the government; particularly abolishing human rights advocates and civic organizations and replacing them by associations of youth, women, wealthy business persons and various trade unions, etc that are under its political control. On the other hand, those NGOs that show the tendency to be outside of its control are denied renewal of their licenses.
2.1.6 In countries where a democratic system prevails, Free Press is taken to be one of the Four Estates, and plays a decisive role – just as the legislative, executive and the judiciary bodies do -in the building of a democratic society, in the preservation of the rule of law and in the implementation of transparency and accountability; while on the other hand, EPRDF is violating, in broad daylight, the rights of the Free Press granted to it by the Constitution and promulgating laws that practically drive it out of existence.
2.1.7 Supporters of genuine opposition parties are deprived the right to work and earn a living as civil servants and are excluded from receiving legitimate government services and humanitarian assistance. As a result, an atmosphere of fear has descended upon the people forcing them to avoid overt association with the genuine opposition parties out of fear for reprisal measures if they support them with money, material and ideas.
2.1.8 Besides spreading the ominous view of the disintegration and disappearance of this country, if it cedes power, EPRDF engages in a false propaganda campaign of hatred against genuine opposition parties by labeling them as “anti-peace, terrorists, agents of the Eritrean regime” and subjecting their members to brutal harassment and imprisonment.
2.1.9 The country has come to a point where a citizen to engage in business and be successful, or to be employed in the government, or to have a chance to study for advanced degrees in institutions of higher learning, or, in general, to lead a life of dignity, he or she has to be, by obligation, a member or a loyal servant of the ruling party.
2.1.10 While it engages in negotiations with organizations it labels, by law, as “warmongering and terrorists”, it, however, is being intransigent and refusing to negotiate with peaceful and legal parties to ameliorate the suffocating political space currently prevailing in the country and, hence, clearly revealing its reverence for armed rebellion.
2.2. On the Economic Sector
The fundamental problem in the economic development of our country is EPRDF’s dogma of Revolutionary Democracy that claims: “There is no connection between democracy and economic development”. The following situations can be cited to demonstrate broadly the problems resulting from this fundamental mistake.
2.2.1 Although we are told, for propaganda purposes, that our economy has been growing by two digits, the alarming increase in inflation seen in successive years had reached up to 49% annually. As a result, the price of basic consumer goods is skyrocketing far beyond the citizens’ ability to buy, with the standard of living of the people declining dramatically. While it is well known that poverty has become rampant, we are being preached on the farcical theory that the inflation is brought about by the economic growth and that it would be resolved by the growth itself. The real and major causes of the inflation are the misguided political and economic directions being pursued by the ruling regime, the change in the exchange rate of the birr, as well as the comparative increase of the amount of money printed and pumped into the market by the National Bank of Ethiopia by 42%. Hence, as indicated by the IMF report of 2011, the inflation seen in Ethiopia, when compared with that seen in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, is four times higher.
2.2.2 EPRDF has pushed aside and stunted the private sector of the economy and put it under its control, while on the other hand it is in the process of building an economy only for the benefit of its members and supporters driven by political partisanship. Hence, EPRDF and its member organizations are engaged in big business activities and own huge factories, construction firms, finance institutions, transport and other companies in a blatant violation of the constitutional provision that decrees: “Political parties cannot engage in business activities directly or indirectly”. This illegal involvement of the ruling party in the economy has created a disturbing imbalance in the economic life of the country that is supposed to be free.
2.2.3 As admitted by the government itself and made public, “government thieves” have become abundant. Because the legal measures taken against such “thieves” are so lenient, being a thief has now come to be fashionable and respectable. And because EPRDF does not take any measures at all if the thieves happen to be no threat to its power, big thieving fish have continued to swim with ease, confidence and impunity.
2.2.4 The EPRDF government is expending huge sums of money to support its massively repressive administrative system. For example, the administrative expense that was 11.8 billion birr in 2005 had reached 40 billion birr in 2010. Because dictatorship and huge administrative expenses are two sides of the same coin, the huge expenses specially allocated for its massive propaganda, cadre and security support, etc are draining the country’s economy.
2.2.5 Vast expanses of forested and fertile lands that belong to the Ethiopian people are being leased away to foreign and domestic investors at throw away rates for up to 90 years in a manner that does not protect the interests of the Ethiopian people. As a result, numerous farmers and semi-pastoralists are being evicted from their land by force and exposed to extreme hardship that threatens their survival. This is one of the outcomes of EPRDF’s maladministration.
2.2.6 Because the distribution of agricultural inputs is held in monopoly by business enterprises of the ruling party, farmers are unable to obtain such commodities at fair and competitive prices. According to the information provided by one research institution, out of 110 countries assessed on the basis of a prosperity index, Ethiopia was listed as 104th. In addition, from the 163 countries that were assessed on the basis of food security index, Ethiopia was among the last 10 countries and from among these last 10, it stood 6th. This is an indication of the mistaken policies of EPRDF.
2.2.7 The EPRDF proclamation that transfers old urban land holdings to a lease system not only violates the people’s right to earn and own property but also goes against the Constitution.
2.2.8 The government’s policy of Agricultural Development-Led Industrialization (ADLI) is now 21 years old, but the country has not yet registered adequate economic growth so as to guarantee food security for its people. As a result of the inadequate food production at the national level, the country has been forced to import edible oil, wheat and sugar from abroad in a futile attempt to bring down the high cost of living and the huge inflation. As it has been made evident by the prevailing reality, ADLI has not been a solution. When viewed within the context of the general condition of the farmer, ADLI continues to be a weak policy that has failed to free the farmer from the use of an antiquated method of plowing and from being dependent on seasonal rain. In addition, fertile farm land is being taken away from farmers without adequate compensation in the name of development. As a result, farmers are displaced from their land and forced into unemployment and even into beggary.
2.2.9 The infrastructure sector that is considered to have shown comparatively progress is plagued by a serious lack of quality and by corruption. Road construction, condominium construction, higher education institutions construction and hydro-electric power dams construction are project areas where huge public wealth is plundered, in addition to being entangled in a host of other major problems.
2.2.10 Even the electric power and telecommunications services, areas considered to be modern economic sectors, are plagued by problems. Without even mentioning the serious communication problems faced by the people in the regions, communication service in Addis Ababa, the nation’s capital, is beset by disruptions. Often, one could hardly finish a conversation without the line of communication being abruptly disrupted. Sometimes there could be no line of communication at all for days. Such problems caused by poor professional capacity and poor quality of equipment, together with poor administration, have been causes of frequent and costly disruptions in the life of the people.
2.3 On Matters of Social Affairs
2.3.1 General Aspects
184.108.40.206 Unemployment has penetrated the rural settings as well and it has now become very common to see unemployed youth who have completed 10th and 12th grades, as well as those who have university education. This is one moreclear indicator that the policy of ADLI has failed. Attention given to job creating sectors of the economy, particularly the industry and the services, has been minimal. It has now become official that the fate of youths that have been educated for 15 to 20 years has become being employed in cutting and laying cobble stone. This has dashed the hope of parents, broken the morale of the youth and created a sad phenomenon that has in turn resulted in the people’s lack of trust in the country’s educational system.
220.127.116.11 Despite EPRDF’s profuse pronouncement that it is battling poverty, the sad outcome of its policy has been the creation of very few millionaires and billionaires that squander the resources of the country on the one hand and millions of impoverished citizens on the other. As in all of its other activities, EPRDF says, at the propaganda level, it is fighting poverty. But what we actually see on the ground is more and more people being condemned to live in grinding poverty.
18.104.22.168 Because EPRDF has no adequate social security system, people are forced to live a life of subhuman degradation due to lack of daily food, shelter and bodily cover. They are even denied a decent grave when they die. All this is a clear indication of the obvious failure of EPRDF’s social policy.
2.3.2 On Matters of Education
22.214.171.124 Because the constructive recommendations put forward by MEDREK and its member parties on the solution to clearly identified problems inherent in the direction of the county’s education policy were ignored from the very start, the ruling party’s focus has been on producing large numbers of youth without adequate knowledge, skills or the right attitude as citizens. Therefore, the education and training policy of the country is unable to produce adequate manpower capable of solving the country’s problems.
126.96.36.199 After completing higher education and training, getting being employed now requires being a member of the ruling party.
188.8.131.52 Educational opportunities made available by the government or by aid organizations are offered to citizens not on the basis of merit but on political affiliation. As a result, instead of producing capable professionals, these educational opportunities are serving as a means of recruiting cadres for the EPRDF.
184.108.40.206 It is a public secret now that teachers are under tremendous political pressure. As a result, they could not form a teachers union freely and thereby strengthen their profession and contribute to the effort being made to improve the quality of education. This has harmed the country’s educational system.
2.3.3 On Public Health Matters
220.127.116.11 Because of the inherent problems of the education and training policy, it has not been possible to produce health professionals with the necessary quality and professional ethics. The few with professional quality leave the country because proper working conditions are not created for them and they are not adequately paid. There are no adequate health centers in proportion to the number of the population. Those that are said to be available have become, due to lack of ownership and proper follow up, places where people contract diseases instead of being cured of them, thus exacerbating their suffering. In contrast, the rulers of the country and their cronies go to America, Europe, Asia, South Africa, etc, for expensive medical treatments. This reality is a stark indicator of the wide gap between the life of the newly rich and powerful and that of the vast majority of the population.
18.104.22.168 Because health centers are overburdened by the overwhelming demand for service and in the absence of leadership that is capable of providing lasting solutions to chronic problems, a vast number of citizens, including child-bearing mothers, have become victims of much suffering and of preventable deaths.
22.214.171.124 Although there are a limited number of private health centers in Addis Ababa and other major cities, the payment they require is prohibitive and obviously far beyond the paying ability of the vast majority of the people. The situation is by far worse for the people in the rural regions.
2.4 On Matters of Good Governance
2.4.1 The magnitude of maladministration and corruption now evident at every level of the administration has assumed a proportion that has never been seen before in the history of this country. For the last 21 years, the slogan has been: “The problem is not in our policy, but in the implementation.” However, when this slogan is tested in practice, its hollowness becomes obvious. Since the policy formulator as well as the implementer is the same ruling party in power, it has become obvious that the attempt to separate the two is a futile exercise.
2.4.2 The 1-to-5 bonding scheme adopted under the cover of creating a “development force”, as well as the “community police” scheme are designed and operate to make one citizen spy over another and are in clear contradiction with the idea of good governance.
2.4.3 The chaotic administration and the messy manner in which it operates have enabled a few to amass wealth through corrupt means while the majority of the citizens are condemned to massive unemployment and poverty. In the urban setting, the magnitude of poverty has forced both the employed and the unemployed to live a life of depravation, while in the countryside the majority population is forced to live, on petty and demeaning favors handed out from the ruling party even then on the basis of political favoritism.
2.4.4 The lack of good governance in the country has created a situation where people become dependent on government employment; where those employees work in conditions of “modern slavery”; whereby EPRDF cadre officials are labeled as “owners” of government offices and other public enterprises and act as absolute dictators enjoying absolute power without accountability.
Part 3: Proposed Solutions
The limited, but complex, problems pointed out in Part Two above are of grave concern for our country. Hence, at present, Ethiopia finds itself at a crossroads. If there is one thing that is clear, it is that there is a grave danger ahead of us. According to a study report by an international research institution that surveyed 177 countries, Ethiopia is one of those countries that are threatened by the danger of being unable to continue existing as nations because the government in power:
a) “could not create peace, stability and mutual understanding among the people;
b) “has lost acceptability, trust and respect of the people;
c) “could not bring justice and good governance for the people;
d) “has created a situation in which the majority of the population suffer from lack of respect for their human and democratic rights and have become more and more embittered while the few wallow in wealth and comfort”; and because
e) “the feeling of oppression and bitterness of the majority of the social sectors and groups has been steadily increasing.”
This shows that instead of sitting in dialogue with opposition parties and civic organizations to seek common solutions to the pressing problems facing our country, EPRDF seems to be dangerously bent on pushing the people into concluding that: “In Ethiopia, the only method of expressing opposition is through the use of force.” If the present dictatorial condition continues and the people become desperate and resort to civil disobedience, this would create instability in the country. MEDREK believes that such a situation should be avoided and this could only be done through the ruling party sitting in dialogue with all political forces that have popular bases among the people and seeking common solutions to our common problems.
3.2 Proposed solutions in detail
3.2.1 Concerning Political Matters
126.96.36.199 To make a multi-party, democratic system a reality in our country, the establishment of a Forum for National Consultation and Dialogue is imperative. Therefore, the first step would be preparing this forum where forces willing to resolve the problems of our country through peaceful means could willingly come together, deliberate and come to agreement on core issues of national concern.
188.8.131.52 Concrete measures must be taken to create a situation where the rule of law and the independence of the judicial system would be a reality and necessary changes and improvements could be effected.
184.108.40.206 Treaties and agreements, especially the Algiers Agreement, that surrender the nation’s vital interests and rights to other parties must be renegotiated.
220.127.116.11 A situation must be created where the religious freedom of citizens, the right to free expression, the right to organize and oppose, as well as respect for human and democratic rights would be protected by law.
To this end:
18.104.22.168 A system must be established whereby the government media would be non-partisan institution and would serve all legitimate political parties in an equitable manner.
22.214.171.124 A system must be created whereby the electronics media would be open to the private sector.
126.96.36.199 The harassment and the banning campaign waged against the private press and the acts of repression on other media, which serve as sources of information, must be stopped immediately and the constitutional right of the people to obtain information must be respected.
188.8.131.52 Legal, institutional and administrative conditions that serve as obstacles to the realization of free, democratic and fair elections must be removed. The election execution structure ranging from the Election Board down to the lowest level must be improved in a manner that would guarantee the institution’s independence; laws that need improvement must be amended; citizens must be free from the harassment and repression of T’ernafis (1-to-5 Bonders) and enabled to cast their votes in a free atmosphere; independent domestic, as well as international election observers must be allowed to observe elections freely.
184.108.40.206 The repressive and stunting measures being taken against genuine opposition parties must be stopped.
220.127.116.11 EPRDF membership and membership of EPRDF-organized youth and women’s associations as well as “1-to-5 bonding” (Ternafi) structures that have been set as pre-conditions that prevents citizens from enjoying their rights as free citizens must be lifted immediately. Government positions and services must be equally open to all citizens based only on merit and without political partisanship.
18.104.22.168 Government practices that repress human, democratic and constitutional rights in particular, and that are obstacles to the establishment of a multi-party democratic system, and that narrow the political space must be stopped.
22.214.171.124 Civic organizations’ being able to organize freely is an essential pre-condition for the building of genuine democracy. The practice of restricting the people to organizing only under civic structures that serve as EPRDF’s tools of repression and do not work for the respect of the rights of the people must be stopped.
126.96.36.199 Problems pertaining to religions, nations, nationalities and peoples that are prevalent in our country today, must be handled only in a manner that ensures the government’s neutrality and according to the provisions of the Constitution. Caution must prevail, for forceful intervention would only exacerbate the problems.
188.8.131.52 The current political space in our country is very repressive and debilitating. Conditions must be created wherein EPRDF would be willing to sit at a roundtable with all genuine political parties for a dialogue and negotiations aimed at widening the political space through rescinding or improving the electoral law, political party registration law, etc. When it comes to repressive laws, proclamations like the anti-terrorism law, the civic society law, the press law, the dangerous vagrancy law would be given special attention.
184.108.40.206 To fully restore the political space, namely: the right to organize and promote one’s views freely, the right to good governance on the basis of equality, the right to free assembly, the right to petition and to conduct peaceful opposition, the right of workers to negotiate freely with management on the basis of equality the constitutional, human and democratic rights of political parties and of the whole population of Ethiopia must be guaranteed.
220.127.116.11 To make it possible to conduct a free and fair election that would empower the Ethiopian people, a condition must be created in which the government and political parties can sit together to discuss and negotiate a non-fragmented, but, holistic Code of Conduct that they would observe in the process of executing elections.
18.104.22.168 The illegal manner in which government budget allocated in the name of supporting a multi-party system in our country and being distributed by EPRDF as charity, in collusion with the election Board, must stop immediately. A way must be found in which the said resource would be distributed in an equitable manner that would meaningfully support opposition parties in carrying out their activities.
22.214.171.124 A system must be put in place wherein the supremacy of the constitution and the rule of law would prevail rather than authoritarianism; and all those who violate this, be they government officials or political parties, would be held accountable.
126.96.36.199 A favorable condition must be created wherein political forces that, for various reasons, pursue a means of struggle other than a peaceful one, should be invited and encouraged to come closer and to be engaged in a discussion aimed at convincing them that they could further their objectives in a legal and peaceful manner.
188.8.131.52 We, genuine opposition parties, must be able to discuss openly and freely among ourselves how, together, we can create the proper multi-party system in our county, defend ourselves against the illegal pressures of the ruling party and create and enhance the spirit of readiness in everyone of us to contribute our share.
184.108.40.206 To resolve the current political problems in our country, a condition of trust and a spirit of working together must be created among genuine political parties. Democratic political culture must be created through tolerating differences and accepting the fact that cooperation is indeed possible in the context of differences.
220.127.116.11 All political parties (the ruling party and opposition parties) must be ready to carry out their struggle through peaceful and democratic means and to resolve the political, economic and social problems in our country through the alternative programs that they present to the people. They must also be ready to respect the internationally recognized human and democratic rights included in the Constitution and commit themselves to bringing about possible amendments in the constitution through the democratic process that involves active participation of the whole population.
18.104.22.168 All genuine opposition political parties must demonstrate, in practice that they are capable of conducting civilized politics on matters which they all agree upon. This would include, depending on their ideological closeness, forming a coalition, a front, etc, and even going further into merger.
3.2.2 On Economic Matters
22.214.171.124 There is no concrete evidence that our people have been able to extricate themselves from the agonies of poverty and become the beneficiaries of the alleged economic development without being subjected to political partisanship. Therefore, the economic development would be pursued in such a manner that would make citizens beneficiaries without any political partisanship, lessen their burden brought about upon them by the high cost of living and practically change their life.
126.96.36.199 The industrial and agricultural sectors, that are the major producers of material goods, must be lead by a balanced economic development scheme that would enable them to be mutually supportive of each other. The main objective of producing the material goods must focus on reducing the high cost of living, on making food items and other basic consumption goods readily available to the people, as well as on increasing the country’s capacity to produce goods in variety, quantity and quality for foreign markets.
3.2..2.3 The economic development policy must be made to focus on creating employment opportunities for citizens and a condition must be created that is conducive to enabling citizens that train in various professions to use their knowledge for the development of their country without any political partisanship.
188.8.131.52 Rapid and concrete measures must be taken to arrest corruption that is rampant in the country and that is threatening the quality, sustainability and success of development activities in the country.
184.108.40.206 The finance policy that has gripped the financial sector and obstructed the activities of banks and insurance institutions must be replaced by a system that is conducive for the expansion of market economy.
220.127.116.11 The right of farmers and urban residents to own the land that they use for residence and for development purposes must be respected and their illegal and forceful displacement from their land possessions must cease immediately. Furthermore, the current trend of covering the city space with buildings alone must be checked and public parks and other green areas must be expanded in urban as well as in rural areas.
18.104.22.168 A systematic process must be formulated, through dialogue with relevant bodies, by which EPRDF’s investment enterprises (EFFORT, T’iret, Tumsa, Wondo and others) that have been the cause of serious imbalance in the life of the country’s economy, in violation of the country’s Constitution, would be made part of the market economy
3.2.3 On Social Matters
22.214.171.124 In order to save the youth, and particularly the young women of our country, who are migrating in search of work and who, as a result, are exposed to grave dangers and suffering, our economic activities must be made to focus on the creation of job opportunities.
126.96.36.199 The opportunity to be employed and job to creation opportunities must be equally accessible to all citizens in a manner that is based on merit and without political partisanship or bias.
188.8.131.52 All possible efforts must be made to formulate and implement the education policy with emphasis on quality that would enable it to generate competent, creative and productive citizens and to create an environment in which the educated people could put their knowledge to useful purpose.
184.108.40.206 A situation must be created wherein access to education and opportunities for training would be open to all citizens without bias and the political partisanship that is currently prevalent in our country would be immediately stopped.
220.127.116.11 In the area of training health professionals and the expansion of health institutions, instead of the campaign to inflate numbers, much emphasis must be given to quality and to ways of providing the public with basic services based on sound professional ethics.
18.104.22.168 The urban dwelling citizen must be ensured of owning or renting a home within his/her means. A condition must particularly be created in which urban dwelling citizens could, individually or in groups, obtain land freely or in an affordable way on which to build homes in accordance with their means.
22.214.171.124 Appropriate plans must be drawn by which members of the society that need special attention, namely women, youths, persons living with disability, the elderly, etc could practically be assisted so that they could live a life with dignity.
Part 4: A call from the Federal Democratic Unity Forum (MEDREK)
4.1 MEDREK hereby issues a call to all concerned genuine opposition political parties to forge good relations and cooperate among themselves to make concrete efforts towards resolving the major political, economic and social problems currently plaguing our country, and it will contribute its share to achieving such goal. Furthermore, it calls upon those forces that have chosen alternative modes of struggle outside the peaceful path to join the camp of peaceful alternative. Equally, it calls upon the Government of EPRDF to discharge its responsibility of creating a favorable condition to encourage and enable these organizations to embrace the peaceful alternative.
4.2 MEDREK reaffirms its readiness to sit down with the ruling party for a dialogue and negotiations aimed at expanding the political space and making it accessible to all democratic forces and to the people as a whole.
4.3 MEDREK hereby expresses to all, its belief that in an environment where the political space is broadened through the active participation of all patriotic and democratic forces and is accessible to all parties, and whereby an election that is fair, free and equitable is conducted, Government of National Unity must be formed either by winning a clear majority or through negotiations with other political parties.
4.4 MEDREK wishes to point out to all genuine political parties that the principal task of the Government of National Unity would be, in addition to extricating the country from the prevailing chaotic living condition of the people, to create an environment in the country where a multi-party democracy would be firmly rooted and where the people would be able to use their sovereign power to decide for themselves on major national issues, including the right to an outlet to the sea. It must be stressed that accomplishing this task demands active engagement of the people in the affairs of their nation.
4.5 Donor governments and international financial institutions must realize that, for the last 21 years, EPRDF has been feeding them with contradictory and confusing information, claiming to be what it is not and declaring a vision that it does not have, etc, thus performing a public relations stunt before their eyes. They must also realize that there has been no policy change as a result of the passing away of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and that there will not be one in the future as long as EPRDF is in power. Fundamental changes will come in our country only when free, fair and credible elections are possible. Therefore, we call upon the International Community to appreciate this reality and to provide its diplomatic support to the peaceful and democratic struggle being waged by MEDRED and other genuine opposition parties in the country.
4.6 You, the People, recall that, for the last 21 years, EPRDF has been promising that it would respect elections, democracy, the equality of nations, nationalities and peoples, etc. This drama, repressive and devoid of honesty as it is, was staged in order to help it stay in power. All those who dared to stand for their constitutional rights were punished by severe measures that included death. Now you are being told that, even after the death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, repression will follow the same course. You know full well that you can change this anti-people and anti-country system of EPRDF through the struggle that you have been waging in a peaceful manner. You know this truth not only from your own past experience of struggle for freedom, equality, justice and democracy, but also from the similarly just struggles of other peoples in the world and from the victories they have scored.
Therefore, MEDREK wishes to state that it is ready to stand on your side and to lead your noble struggle that would enable you to reclaim your sovereign power that you have been denied for so long. We call upon you with full respect and full confidence that we have upon you to take up this call and give MEDREK your unreserved support
Ethiopian Federal Democratic Unity Forum (MEDREK)
March _, 2013