ATLANTA — Medrek, arguably the most popular opposition party in Ethiopia which is striving to bring about democracy and the rule of law in the country, vows to get rid of the dark-side legacy of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.
Addressing a gathering in Atlanta on Sunday, September 23, 2012, Ato Temesgen Zewde, a former parlamentarian and one of the top leaders of Medrek, said Ethiopians vividly remember the legacy of Meles as leader of the most brutal and oppressive regime, characterized by massive human rights violations, arbitrary arrests of opposition members, suppression of free press, exorbitant cost of living and flagrant rigging of election results. He referred to the late prime minister as a ruler of the most oppressive system and one who strongly believed in ethnic division.
Recalling the pledge of allegiance by the newly elected Prime Minister Haile-Mariam Desalegen, who promised to continue the legacy of Meles Zenawi, the Medrek official noted that “similarly” Medrek would do everything in its power to stop the continuation of the unholy legacy of the late prime minister.
However, said Temesgen, he sees Hailemariam Desalegn with guarded optimism. But on the other hand, if Meles’ legacy continues as it stands now, Ethiopia could fall into far more difficult situation, Temesgen warned.
He urged the new leadership to call for an all-inclusive national dialogue on the rule of law, free press, free and fair elections in the country.
If these measures are duly considered, they would enable the nation to move forward and herald the news that Ethiopia has indeed embarked upon a new political era.
Quoting a statement President Obama made in Accra in 2009: “Africa doesn’t need strong men; it needs strong institutions” Medrek official reiterated that the recent “election” held in Ethiopia is not at all to replace one dictator by another.
Earlier Ato Gebru Asrat, founding member of Arena-Tigray and vice chairman of Medrek, briefed the meeting about the political structure, objective and vital differences that Medrek has vis-a-vis the ruling party.
Referring to the current situation of Medrek, Ato Gebru said his party,which became a front this June is currently “in the verge of forming one single party.” At present Medrek is a coalition of six different political parties which according to him all denounce secessionism and strongly adhere to the territorial integrity of Ethiopia. He further expressed that all parties have agreed to revoke the Algiers accord that reached final and binding decision regarding delimitation of borders with Eritrea. Medrek also unanimously endorses that land belongs to the people of Ethiopia as opposed to the ruling party that claims land to be property of the government, Ato Gebru emphasized adding that Medrek hasn’t yet reached a decision on the nature and modality of land sales in Ethiopia.
Ato Gebru denounced the ruling party for suppressing the various democratic institutions and said one cannot speak of democracy while dismantling and stifling democratic organizations.
Ato Girmaye Gizaw, chairman of the Atlanta Andinet party support group, addressing the gathering said the government’s illegal action to close Feteh and Finote Nesanet papers indicates that peaceful means is still the only viable way of waging the struggle for equality and justice in Ethiopia.
Girmaye who called the meeting to order by observing a moment of silence with a short poetry at the background dedicated to those Ethiopians who paid the ultimate sacrifice, praised members of the delegation for their selfless sacrifice and dedication. Both Medrek officials not only expelled by the ruling party from the university where they had been teaching but they are also forbidden to get a descent job in the country, Girmaye added.
A number of issues were raised during a question and answer session including Medrek’s indifferent stance with respect to the most historical and ancient monastery, Waldiba, in northern part of Ethiopia. The response by Medrek official who confessed that the Front is in the process of studying the case of Waldiba and as such has done nothing to date, while forces of the ruling party harass, Ppersecute and arrest hundreds of monks, clergymen and local inhabitants has caused disappointments and anger among some participants. Many have expressed doubts about the readiness and ability of the apposition parities to mobilize the people and march them through victory avenue.
A framed photo of medium size of Andualem Arage, deputy chairman of Andinet Party, currently in prison for life, was auctioned on the occasion and fetched more than $ 1300, the immaculate Wibeshet Nigatu, moderator for the day, announced.