In civilized and democratic nations around the globe, political opposition is not luxury. Maintaining and forwarding positions and views that are different from those of the ruling party and presenting alternative policy options but in the most civilized and convincing manners are what actually make the political opposition in the USA, Europe and other countries that are known for their abundant democracy superior and most yearned by the people of those countries (like Ethiopia) that are congested by many political opponents that appallingly lack a reasonable knowledge on the very concept and significance of political opposition.
Political opposition, which was considered peccadillo under the defunct derg regime, has become a fundamental human right of the people of Ethiopia since the time EPRDF came to power. Unfortunately, for the past 23 years now, we Ethiopians are not able to see a single political opposition party that is competent enough to challenge the ruling EPRDF on several policy issues and present better policy options to the people. The unceasing failure in the Ethiopian political opposition block chiefly emanates from the following:
I. Opposition Block’s Anatomy
We know that there are many countries in the world, which are known for having fewer number of political opposition parties, that have managed to build their democracy in rock-solid foundations whereby the transition of state power from a ruling party to an opposition political party is being undertaken peacefully and only through elections. Though Ethiopia has about 90 different political opposition parties, some of which are fictitiously and ostensibly united, a single political opposition party was not able to assume state power for the past 23 years now. As for me, it is not the number (quantity) of the political opposition parties that really matters. It rather is the quality of the political opposition parties that actually counts. The various political opposition parties in Ethiopia are not able to conquer the brains and hearts of the majority simply because they all are of substandard quality: a destructive quality that stems from their inherently frail anatomy as presented hereunder:
1. Former members of the Ruling EPRDF
Here in this group are former members of the ruling EPRDF that were dismissed from or had willingly abandoned EPRDF for one reason or another. Nagaaso Gidadaa, Gabru Asrat and Siye Abraha are but few examples.
2. Former freedom fighters from EPRDF’s member parties
Here in this group are former freedom fighters from EPRDF’s member parties (such as TPLF, EHIDEN and OPDO) that were dismissed from or had willingly abandoned the parties that they used to belong to and hence the armed struggle against the Derg regime before EPRDF had controlled the entire country. Former EHIDEN’s leader (I forgot his name but this bald-headed man currently lives in the USA as I read in one Ethiopian Magazine published by the private press), Aragaawii Barhaa and Gideey Zeraatsion are but few examples.
3. Former freedom fighters from other parties
Here in this group are former freedom fighters from other parties such as EHAPA and EDU that were smashed by TPLF simply because their long-term policies and strategies were pernicious to Ethiopia. Dr. Birhanu Nega and his irresponsible cronies in G-7 are best examples.
4. Former members of the Derg Regime
Here in this group are former members of the Derg Regime, which were entitled to special benefits and privileges, that was deposed owing-to EPRDF’s bitter and vigorous armed struggle for 17 solid years.
5. Former members of the Emperor Regime
Here in this group are former members of the Emperor Regime, which were entitled to special benefits and privileges, that was deposed in a coup by the brutal derg regime.
6. I-Do; All-You-Do Group
Here in this group are individuals that oppose the ruling party merely to please their family member/s, relative/s, friend/s and so on that also is/are opposing the ruling party. Individuals in this group don’t have a firm political position of their own and hence describing them any further is not worth the time, effort and other resources required to do so.
7. Individuals dismissed from their jobs
Here in this group are individuals that oppose the ruling party simply because they were dismissed from their former jobs in government offices for such reasons as inefficiency, misconduct such as suspected corruption, disagreement with management, wrong management decisions, government’s labor-force reform program and so on.
8. Punished business owners
Here in this group are business owners that oppose the ruling party simply because they were punished (financial penalty and/or closure of their businesses, just to mention) by concerned government bodies for such reasons as tax evasion, unreasonably higher price charges on essential commodities sold to customers, hording essential commodities, involvement in unlicensed business activities and the like.
9. Individuals having religion-based and other demands
Here in this group are individuals that oppose the ruling party simply because their religious and/or political leaders and/or the journalists they appreciate and love are being imprisoned.
Those opponents in groups “1” through “3” above would never refrain from expressing their illogical and uncivilized opposition against everything that the ruling EPRDF might do until the time when they quench their thirst for state power. Their first and last motto is “State Power By Any Means, Legal or Illegal.” Those opponents in groups “4” and “5” above would never refrain from expressing their illogical and uncivilized opposition against everything that the ruling EPRDF might do until the time when they materialize their impossible dreams of installing (in Ethiopia) defunct regimes that are already buried and buried deeply once-and-for-all. Their first and last motto is “Reinstate Defunct Regimes By Any Means, Legal or Illegal.” Those opponents in group “6” above don’t even know what and why they really oppose and hence their complaints against the ruling party are fuzzy to themselves to the extent of becoming inconsequential from the standpoint of the very objectives of political opposition. Those opponents in this group would certainly continue expressing their opposition against the ruling EPRDF as long as somebody whom they eagerly wanted to please is also expressing her/his opposition in a similar fashion. Their first and last motto is “Pleasing Somebody and Maintaining Excellent Personal Rapport.” Those opponents in groups “7” and “8” above would never refrain from expressing their illogical and uncivilized opposition against everything that the ruling EPRDF might do until the time when they are placed back into their former jobs or the government stops punishing illegal business engagements. Their first and last motto is “Reinstatement To Former Jobs or No Punishment For Illegal Business Activities and Dealings.” Those opponents in group “9” above would never refrain from expressing their illogical and uncivilized opposition against everything that the ruling EPRDF might do until the time when their loved ones are quickly and unconditionally released from prison no matter how destructive the crimes they had committed were to the nation. Their first and last motto is “Our Loved Ones are Innocent; The Government Is Guilty.”
To sum up, except for the opponents in group “6” that don’t even have clear and self-imposed objectives while opposing the ruling EPRDF, the opponents in all other eight groups oppose the ruling EPRDF merely to meet their egotistical objectives that certainly are not in-favor-of the overall national objectives. This would mean that the Ethiopian Opposition Block is untiringly but vainly working to see a country where national objectives become subordinates to the personal objectives of politicians. This is the most envisioned end-result of an Opposition Block whose inner makeup is of substandard quality.
II. Opposition Block’s Distinguishing Characteristics
As every one of you would agree, the Ethiopian Opposition Block is devoid-of the required minimum degree of civility, rationality and credibility; which is normally expected from opposition politicians that swank to have better policy options than those of the ruling party and hence contend in national elections with the aim to assume state power. This flaw on the part of the Ethiopian Opposition Block emanates from its substandard quality inner makeup. Instead of diligently working to sell their alternative policies to the general public via public gatherings and discussions and electronic and printed media, the various Ethiopian political opposition parties have hitherto been busily involving themselves in numerous fruitless and nonsense activities. Just to be succinct, the following are among the distinguishing characteristics of the Ethiopian Opposition Block:
1. Promoting and praising Racism
The Ethiopian opposition block is known for advancing and praising views that are racist in nature with the aim to create rift and conflict among various ethnic groups. It, more specifically, is utterly against the Tigrians and hence it promotes and praises all views that are against the people of Tigray.
2. Promoting and praising Extremism
The Ethiopian opposition block is known for advancing and praising views that might lead to religious and political extremism with the aim to infuse religious and political intolerance in the brains of the people.
3. Promoting and praising Anarchism
For the Ethiopian opposition block, democracy is tantamount to lawlessness. Consequently, the various Ethiopian political opposition parties continually advance and praise views that might lead to anarchism at national level.
4. Promoting and praising Egoism
For the Ethiopian opposition block, Ethiopia is doomed to disintegrate if state power is not transferred from EPRDF to an opposition political party. The various Ethiopian political opposition parties advance and praise this view merely to deceive the general public, conquer the brains and hearts of majority and take state power from the ruling EPRDF.
5. Opposing diversity
The Ethiopian opposition block doesn’t recognize the fact that Ethiopia is a mosaic of cultures, languages, religions and so on. As a result, it is against the many rights that the various nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia have been entitled to for the past 23 years now.
6. Enviously expressing disappointment over Ethiopia’s international recognition
To the dismay of all Ethiopians, the Ethiopian opposition block doesn’t want to hear commendable remarks and international recognition over EPRDF’s superb performances. The recent appreciation by the Obama administration with regard to the Ethiopian government’s wide-ranging performances and achievements and the way some politically deaf and blind Ethiopians in the USA had enviously expressed their disappointment over it is best example. Those confused Ethiopians in the USA must have realized by now that disturbing the Ethiopian embassy out there would never change Obama’s positive remarks on Ethiopia.
7. Fault finding
The Ethiopian opposition block is known for unduly involving itself in searching for and magnifying minor mistakes, which the ruling EPRDF might commit, with the aim to score political advantages out of them.
8. Opposing and discrediting Ethiopia’s developmental activities
The Ethiopian opposition block is known for aggressively opposing and discrediting the comprehensive developmental activities underway in the country simply because it believes that democracy must come before development of any kind. What is surprising here is that, as I said earlier, democracy and lawlessness mean the same thing to the various political opposition parties in Ethiopia. The democracy prevailing in Ethiopia, no doubt, has either been abused by some (political opponents and many in the private press) or unnoticed by few.
III. Opposition Block’s Strategies
Given its inherently frail anatomy as well as its fruitless and nationally harmful distinguishing characteristics, it is naïve to expect the Ethiopian opposition block to come up with plausible and effective strategies that might live-up-to the demands of the 21st Century and enable it convince the general public that it indeed is superior to the ruling party. Consequently, in its endeavor to hold state power, the Ethiopian opposition block has been employing the following strategies that had proven to be everything but a complete failure for the past 23 years now:
1. Fabrication and dissemination of destructive information
2. Defamation and baseless accusation of government officials
3. Magnification of real mistakes and weaknesses
4. Opposing loans and aids to Ethiopia
5. Persuading people not to buy Ethiopia’s goods and services
6. Conspiring with Ethiopia’s historical enemies
7. Sponsoring anti-peace elements
The anti-peace elements are those who promote racism and one-tribe ascendancy, political and religious intolerance, anarchism and the like camouflaging themselves with “Political Opposition”, “Private Press” and/or “Bloggers”.
8. Killing government officials and destroying public properties
9. Misinforming international bodies and governments on issues pertaining to Ethiopia
Now the question is: Does anyone expect anything good from the Ethiopian Opposition Block? How long do we Ethiopians have to wait until we get political opposition parties of the types that exist in the USA, Europe, India and other democratic countries?