An election that is not fair and not inclusive cannot deliver democracy.
A statement from The Oromo Federalist Congress on the Ethiopian ‘Elections’
For over the past three years, the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) has been expressing its position and concerns regarding the political direction of Ethiopia and has been working tirelessly in advising for the creation of a favorable condition for the realization of the right political environment for a successful democratic transition. Our party repeatedly underlined the fact that only a broader understanding among the political forces of the country through a meaningful political dialogue can take the country out of the existing political dead-end.
However, the ruling party that believes in a domination of one group and determined to rule in perpetuity at all costs repeatedly has frustrated our quests for political dialogue by turning them into a ‘dialogue of the deaf, which in turn have led the country to wallow under an endless political quagmire.
The on-going political theater under the name of “national election” we have witnessed yesterday was the direct consequence of the rigid stand taken from the side of the ruling party. And as we feared all along – the election from which our party has been forced out was proved to be a fixed game and orchestrated by the ruling party – a very fact that finally being understood by those parties stayed in the election as it can be read from the complaints they are making.
As it is to be recalled, the election was not able to seriously attract the attention of our citizens as a result of which voters registration deadlines had been postponed at least three times. Far worse, as even the Election Board admitted – there were seventy-nine election stations that the board itself did not know while no elections were taken place in hundreds of constituencies across the country because of security reasons.
And in regions like Oromia, because of the absence of those who could help the ruling party’s political drama in several places, there were only nominal presence of a very few opposition parties while in hundreds of constituencies the ruling party cadres had to compete by themselves unopposed. What also should be noted is that as the Tigray Administrative Region was in the middle of a war, the entire region was out of this election. In a nutshell, about 50% of the population of the country was out of this election process. To be sure, the outcome of such a political drama and what it meant to the future of our country is not difficult to predict.
As even our own political rivals understood it, the fact that the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and our party, the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) not be able to take part in this election would not spell well for anyone. Above all, in the eyes of the Oromo youth who have paid the ultimate sacrifices to bring about this three-year-old political change that was expected to transit the country to stability and democratic governance, missing the two Oromo parties they overwhelmingly support in the election definitely leaves a black spot in the history of the Oromo people’s struggle for freedom and democracy. To say it in the clearest language possible, this can be taken as a second betrayal to the struggle of our people for their democratic rights and self-rule.
Finally, we repeat again and again that there will be no miraculous shortcut to fulfill the three greatest needs of our country: lasting peace and stability, birth of democratic Ethiopia that equally house all its citizens and a prosperous country that provides better opportunities to the millions of its citizens – without a genuine all-inclusive political dialogue based on a common road map.
Therefore, from our end, we are suggesting the following as a way forward to all the political forces of the country to take them seriously:
1. To start an immediate talk for the establishment of all-inclusive Government of Salvation that can undertake the aborted reform of governmental institutions;
2. To start an immediate all-inclusive and honest political dialogue to sort out the country’s our standing political problems;
3. Based on an agreed common road map, to hold an all-inclusive ‘free and fair’ election within one year that can be acceptable to and respected by all of the peoples of Ethiopia.
At the end, at this very decisive moment in the history of our country promising to play our share of the game genuinely and positively, we call upon the peoples of Ethiopia and the international community to stand with us in our endeavor to create lasting peace and true democratic transition.
Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC)
Addis Ababa: June 23, 2021