By Tedla Asfaw
Hailemariam Desalegn on Al Jazeera with Martine Dennis said his passion is to lift the people of Ethiopia from poverty. That he said has been the case in the last decade double digit growth where mostly farmers and some city residents change their life for the better. In the next 15 years poverty will be history in Ethiopia according to Haileamiam Desalegn on Al Jazeera English interview aired on May 22, 2015.
He also “corrected” Martine Dennis the host that Ethiopia is not a “Developmental State” it is a “Democratic Developmental State”. He is saying he is not China, Saudi Arabia, Eritrea etc. Every five years there is an election. Oppositions are contesting election he said.
The EPRDF led by TPLF is contesting 501 seats, Medrek 270 seats and the Blue Party 139 seats. The total number of seats to be “won” is 547 seats. EPRDF allies in Somali, Afar, Gambella, Beni Shanguel Region/Kilil are expected to “win” the 46 seats.
The Al Jazeera footage showed the Blue Party sort of rally on a car with very few people attending in Addis. The young man told Martin Dennis that opposition are harassed out of Addis. A youth was complaining for the lack of job promised by EPRDF.
Hailemariam Desalegn however said that the oppositions are participating in the election process and denied any harassment of opposition members. That is evolving democracy in Ethiopia which is getting better every five years according to Wendy Sherman of States Department. Hailemariam and Wendy Sherman are saying the same thing.
Whatever human rights organizations and others are saying about Ethiopia should not be a measurement of Ethiopia’s democracy according to Haliemariam. The Ethiopian people vote of 99.6 percent for EPRDF/TPLF in 2010 should be the measuring yardstick on democracy in Ethiopia.
Hailemariam Desalegn has a heated exchange with Martin Dennis. She brought the case of the Zone 9 Bloggers and how the judiciary is working for the regime. Hailemariam took this as insult to independent judiciary.
The two main oppositions, Medrek and Blue Party did not stage a successful rally in Addis. Addis Ababa does not look like a city that is going to stage election except seeing huge sign saying “The Future is Bright with EPRDF” with tiny signs of oppositions.
In Southern Ethiopia Medrek organized huge rallies tens of thousands mostly youth participated. Bekele Gerba recently released Medrek high official was beaten up and his phone and other documents were taken by security while campaigning in the Oromo Kilil as was reported on VOA Amharic and ESAT yesterday. Dr. Merara Gudina the most popular opposition figure said on VOA Amharic that the only way EPRDF can win in Oromo Kilil is by robbing the vote as it did in 2005.
The opposition claims participation in the “election” is to use the opportunity every five years to reach to their constituencies. The five or six minutes airtime on the debate is taken as “Democracy lotto” coming every five years to expose the ruling regime.
The question now is most of the oppositions might be allowed to have seats to give some legitimacy for the election. EPRDF/TPLF will give away the 9.6 percent of the seat it took on the 2010 election and declare the 90 percent win of the total vote in 2015.
Here comes Wendy Sherman. I told you the election in Ethiopia is getting better and better every five years. The oppositions have now won 9.6 percent of the seat. What Will getting few seats will achieve for the oppositions ?
Those who got a seat in the parliament will have a chance to say few words on the parliament. Personalities like Merara Gudina, Beyene petros and Gebru Asrat will not ge a seat to avoid embarrassment in any parliamentary discussion. Professor Merara who destroyed Teodros Adhanoem and Getachew Reda in less than six minutes debate is very dangerous for EPRDF as member of parliament.
According to Hailemariam EPRDF mandate is to eliminate poverty from Ethiopia by 2030 and until then the opposition number in parliament will grow slowly. I agree with Hailemariam Desalegn who secured his job on his tough response on the interview that the Ethiopian people the 36.8 millions who are eligible to vote are the ultimate judges.
Addis Ababeans lack of interest on the Election Drama might tell us the big picture in the rest of Ethiopia that the people are tired of the Show coming every five years. How about boycotting the show until 2030 where Ethiopians are expected to eat three times a day, live in a nice apartment, clean water, sewage and electricity/Internet 24/7. Fifteen more years for EPRDF/TPLF to fight Poverty, See You in 2030 !!!