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UDJ delegation visits Norway

By UDJ Support Group | December 4, 2008

Leaders of the UDJ opposition party and their local hosts while presiding over a meeting in Oslo, Norway. Ethiopia has been under a one-party dictatorship since 1991.
Ethiopian residents in Norway attend political briefings by leaders of UDJ, an opposition party which enjoys significant Ethiopian Diaspora support.

A delegation of the opposition Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) Party, led by its chairperson, Birtukan Medeksa, arrived at Oslo international airport on the 26th of November, 2008, midnight. Members of the Kinijit Support and Development Organization in Norway (KSDON) and other Ethiopians warmly welcomed the delegation at the airport, regardless of the late arrival. After a brief welcome talk by the leader of the reception committee, Birhanu Dinku, the delegates were taken to their hotel.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

KSDON exceutives and the reception committee briefed the delegation about the programmes during their stay.

The official working visit started with discussion with the Norwegian ‘LandInfo’ officials. The deligation breifly explained the whole picture of UDJ party, the current position of EPDRF towards muilt-party system, media, and civic society. During the discussion, it has been raised the challenges high level party officials, ordinary members and supporters face while working to reorganize the party in the country. Members of KSDON, accompanying the delegation, explained the officials the problem of contiunouse survillance by loyal agents of the ruling party on activists, supporting the opposition in the diaspora.

In the afternoon, Ms. Britukan Mideksa was invited by a group of inspired women for a round coffee table discussion. The women (more than 25 in number) living in Norway extended their appriciation to her and expressed thier proudness by her tremendous political activities and her election as a female political party leader in the history of the country.

Friday November 28, 2008

The deligation went to Norwegian Labour Organization (LO) in the morning. Officials of the organization received the delegation, their deliberations commenced after a brief introductory speech. They conducted fruitful discussions about labour organizations in general and the issue of the Confederation of the Ethiopian Trade union (CETU) in particular. The deligation explained bottle necks of organization issues in the country.

The next meeting was at the Royal Norwegian Foreign Ministry which began at 12:00 a.m. Chairwoman Britukan and Ato Akilu Girgire, the Executive Committee Member and Head of Planning and Strategy of UDJP, explained the social, political and economical reality of Ethiopia. In addition, the officials stressed the need for free press and peacfull democratic change in the political arena. The officials of the ministry appreciated the deeds of UDJ party and promised to do their best for the development of democratization process in Ethiopia.

In the after noon they discussed with Mr. Bondevik, ex-Prime minister of Norway and the current leader for Oslo centre for peace and human right, about the political and human right situation in Ethiopia.

In the evening, they have met members of KSDON members. Dr.Mulualem Adam, Chairman of KSDON, opened the meeting by welcoming the delegates. The Chairwoman Ms. Birtukan Medeksa briefed the audience about the achievement of her party in Ethiopia so far. Mr. Akilu Girgire with his convincing speech discussed in detail the future direction and strategy of the party in achieving its objectives. A lot of questions were raised by the participants especially in relation to the split with in kinijit. The members raised their concern on how to avoid the same frustration in the future. Both delegates gave emphasis on the importance of implementing democratic process with in the party. Ms. Birtukan informed the audience that UDJ has inherited kinijit and has learnt from its mistakes. She said the torch of kinijit’s spirit is in UDJP and she stated to the audience that UDJ’s avowed aim is to become the biggest competitive party in Ethiopia in 2009. She asserts that UDJ worth all Ethiopians support. The participants promised to discuss the issue and will let UDJ officials know thier decision in the near future.

Saturday November 29, 2008

The last day of the visit was set-aside for the delegates to meet with Ethipian community in Oslo and suberb. The day was cold, fogy and rainy. But it didn’t deter the Ethiopians to the meeting place. The large auditorium of the school of veterinary science was packed with residents of Oslo. The meeting was started with a minute of silence for victims of the November 2005 massacre.

Ms. Britukan Mideksa gave very impressive speech about her party and Mr. Akilu Girgire gave detailed presentation on the party’s short, medium and long term strategic plan. The delegates emphasized that UDJP’s participation in the 2010 election deponds on a number of issues. The prevalence of wider space for free and fair election in the country is a guiding principle for UDJP’s election participation.

Dr.Admasu Gebeyehu, former kinijit executive member briefed the audience and replied to questions raised vis á vis the former kinijit. The audience participated enthusiastically.

A lively discussion were held in response to questions such as the feasibility of peaceful struggle whereby the political space has narrowed more than ever, the terms of agreement between kinijit leaders and the government of Melse during the release of kinijit leaders, the issue of participation in the coming 2010 election, the party’s position on the land given to Sudan and sending Ethiopian military in Somali, and the possibility of access to the sea in the future.

The delegation members replied to the aforementioned questions by assertaining that they would exert pressure on the ruling party to respect its own constitution and the deligates totally agreed the fact that the political situation on the ground gives them a narrow space that allow peaceful political struggle in Ethiopia. And the two delegate members, W/t Birtukan and Ato Akilu explained peaceful struggle is very demanding and not easy way out but the only durable way of bringing desired type of stability and democracy in Ethiopia. And they mentioned the party’s determination to do with at most capacity in the realization of the dreams of Ethiopian people to come true.

At the end of the meeting, KSDON expressed its happiness hosting the UDJP delegation and extended its heart felt gratitude to all who have contributed and cooperated for the successful stay of the delegation. Ethiopians were packed in the community center to have a dinner and an informal discussion with the delegation untill almost mid night the day before their departure.

Sunday November 30, 2008

The delegation concluded their working visit successfully and left Norway early in the morning.

Kinijit Support and Development Organization in Norway

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