The President of Ethiopian Democratic Party, Lidetu Ayalew, disclosed the perpetuators of the attempt to disrupt his meeting in London. It is to be recalled that a group of Ethiopians attempted to disrupt an assembly of members of EDP and its supporters in London last month. The assembly had Lidetu Ayalew, who was on a working to U.K., as a speaker. The organizers had to call the London city police force to restore order in the meeting hall.
In a Video interview broadcasted by diretube.com, Lidetu Ayalew disclosed the identity of the disturbance makers. According to Lidetu Ayalew, the leader of the group was the younger brother of Andargachew Tsige, who is the Secretariat general of Ginbot 7.
Moreover, most of the individuals were either from Ginbot 7 or Andinet/MEDREK(UDJP) party, according to Lidetu. Responding to a question what he felt on the incident, Lidetu claimed he said he found it both funny and saddening. He explained the funny part is the silly chanting of the group which included elders, while the saddens is from seeing such mentally impaired Ethiopians in the middle of London. According to Lidetu, the meeting resumed, soon after the police restored order, for two hours and was concluded successfully.
It is unclear how the outlaw Ginbot 7 and the supposedly peaceful party Andinet/MEDREK could establish a working relationship in London. It is unseemly that Lidetu Ayalew made it up or mistaken the identity of the individuals. So far, neither Andinet(UDJP) nor MEDREK made a statement regarding the matter. Predictably, Andinet/MEDREK will claim to have no knowledge of its members(London Support Group) affiliation with Ginbot 7.
In a related development, a delegation led by Robert Woodthorpe Browne, Chairman of the Liberal Democrats International Relations Committee and Vice-President of Liberal International held a meeting with Lidetu Ayalew in London. Ethiopian Democratic Party reported that it has joined the African Liberal Network(ALN) last month.
Here is a news release by the African Liberals Network concerning the meeting.
Lidetu Ayalew, leader of the Ethiopian Democratic Party, was welcomed to London by a delegation led by Robert Woodthorpe Browne, Chairman of the Liberal Democrats International Relations Committee and Vice-President of Liberal International.
Meeting at the National Liberal Club, Ato Lidetu provided a brief summary of the political situation in Ethiopia following the elections earlier this year in which the ruling EPRDF (Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front) secured all but two of the seats in the parliament, wiping out independent opposition parties. The group discussed the findings of a recent Human Rights Watch report on how donor aid contributes to political repression in Ethiopia, an issue which the Liberal Democrats are keen to take up with the UK Government.
Finally, the participants debated ways for the Africa Liberal Network to support the EDP, perhaps through organising a regional meeting in Addis Ababa, and how the Liberal Democrats might be able to use their Westminster Foundation for Democracy programme to contribute to the development of the party.
The African Liberals Network describes itself as follows:
The Africa Liberal Network is made up of 27 parties from 21 African countries, and is an associated organization of Liberal International, the political family to which liberal democratic parties belong.
The ALN aims to promote liberal democratic objectives and principles throughout the African continent. The parties involved in the network are bound by a policy stating that they exist to ensure the freedom and dignity of all people through establishing political and civil rights, ensuring basic freedoms, the rule of law, democratic government based on free and fair elections with peaceful transition, ensuring religious, gender, and minority rights, fighting corruption, and establishing free market economies.
The ALN developed from what was originally the Organization of African Liberal Parties. It was established during an initial meeting of parties in Mombassa in July 2001, then was formally launched at a subsequent meeting in Johannesburg in June 2003. This meeting adopted the Johannesburg Declaration, committing the parties to core liberal democratic principles. The ALN is now run from the Liberal Democrats headquarters in London, with the aim to have more regional based representation of the Network in Africa in the future. At present, the focus is on laying the foundation for the network and ensuring that it is sustainable before such a move is contemplated.
The Westminster Foundation for Democracy is the main source of support for the ALN. However, to ensure its sustainability, the ALN has maintained a mutually beneficial relationship with other partners, and is continuously seeking to diversity and broaden its support and partnership base to include other institutions.