It has been a while since my last post but we have not seen much change in the political situation. The government continues its prosecution and persecution of opposition party leaders and citizens alike. Injustice is called justice. Those who unfairly have put people behind bars promise to the world that the trial will be 'fair'. What a disgrace? There should be no trial in the first place as it is not a crime to oppose the EPRDF government peacefully. The only fair thing to do is to release all political prisoners without condition and work toward national reconciliation based on respect to the people's choice and voice.
The Ethiopian constitution delcares various rights of citizens. As I have said in the past, the constitution has its share of good articles. But what good is a constitution if the government routinely disregards its provisions to achieve its political objectives. I even wonder if the people whose constitution it is understand and know that they do have inviolable rights under the constitution.
Inviolable is defined as secure from violation or assault. So, the Ethiopian people have rights that no government can take away. But of course, what are they going to do about it even if they do know their rights with a government that shows no respect for its people and its constitution.
Our history has shown us that constitutions come and go with every government and you can not count on your rights staying the same from one regime to the next. Even if your rights seem to stay the same on paper, you can not be confident that the government honors its own constitution. People may not even believe what is in the constitution applies to them anymore. This is understandable but should not be acceptable.
Most of the time, those in power ride the blood of others to the palace and prepare a constitution that serves them instead of the people. Since they did not get to power with the support of the people, they would not hesitate to spill more blood to continue in power as they have done in the beginning. So, how do we remove this pattern of coming to power or maintaining power once and for all?
I believe that Ethiopia's longterm survival depends on peaceful transition of power through elections. Moreover, there needs to be a clear definition of the role of the military and the police in a democratic society. The military should only be used to safeguard the sovereignity of the nation not to club citizens that oppose the policy of whoever happened to be in power. The sovereignty of a nation is not threatened when citizens exercise their democratic and constitutional rights. Should there be a disturbance; the police need to be ready to diffuse the situation while allowing the citizens to exercise their rights. The military and the police as institutions need to stay out of politics. They are to serve the constitution and not the interests of one person or one party.
This can only happen when those in power understand that they are in that position to serve the interests of the people that they represent and to uphold the constitution. If the people decide to choose someone else or another party, they should gracefully relinquish power wishing the newcomers well (without sabotaging the incoming administration's effectiveness via new policies and rules). We also need to learn to disagree on issues respectfully without making the disagreement personal. No one person or party has a right to stay in power perpetually without the consent of the governed. We need to continue the peaceful struggle until the political culture is changed and the people's voice and rights respected by those who wish to govern them.