The lengthy December meeting (17 days long) of Ethiopia’s EPRDF produced a very long statement, which is summarised here. It pulled few punches, saying there is poor leadership, and a chronic lack of democracy, which leads to violence.
Source: Horn Affairs
The EPRDF ExeCom Statement in 15 points
The executive committee of EPRDF (Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front) held one of its highly anticipated meetings in recent years from Dec. 12 to Dec. 29.
The marathon meeting was concluded with about 2500 words long statement, released 24 hours after the conclusion of the meeting.
According to a HornAffairs source in the meeting, the first draft of the statement was read in the meeting. It was further edited the next day to incorporate the feedbacks and circulated among the chairpersons of each member party before its release to the media on Saturday around 9 pm.
HornAffairs summarized and translated the statement in 15 points as follows, maintaining the original spirit as much as possible:
1) The prevalence of parasitic decadence in the leadership led to the shrinkage of intra-party democracy, which in turn led to the lack of quality and unity of opinion and action.
2) Lack of intra-party democracy and prevalence of chameleon-ship led to the spread of unprincipled relations aimed at advancing narrow group interests. This weakens the front as a whole and the parties individually and is contrary to the discipline and unity expected of a developmental government.
3) The federal democratic system of the past 25 years is designed in a way that ensures equality among ethno-national groups. The equality is also realized in practice. Any tendency to alter this situation and impose a supremacy will not be sustainable rather will bring about discord. Such attempts, under any cover, to weaken this system of equality shall be thwarted. At the same time, all member parties have agreed to crackdown, without hesitation, in their respective regions, elements which disguise themselves as champions of one ethno-national group or another to further their parasitic interests.
4) The weakening of intra-party democracy have also resulted in a tendency of narrowing the democratic space. That contributed to a situation in which differences are resolved through violence. The increase of conflicts within and among regions led to high human and economic cost and posed a national existential threat and external vulnerability. Therefore, the executive committee decided not only to faithfully implement the constitutional democracy but also to scale it up to meet current challenges and also decided to address the causes of conflicts and restore peace shortly.
5) The constitutional democracy is based on diverse demands and interests and it has been practicing multiparty democracy for 25 years. However, the exercise of “diversity of opinions” have been weakened in recent years and the executive committee failed to take legal measures to redress the situation and expand democratic space.
6) Efforts to improve the media landscape didn’t bear as much results as anticipated. Moreover, some public media services, operating at federal and regional levels, have been working contrary to law and engaged in fanning conflict among peoples.
7) The active participation of the civil society is critical to the democratic system. However, the civil society’s participation have been weak. The executive committee should work on addressing the limitations on the active participation of the civil society.
8) Poor leadership have undermined the efforts to maintain and scale up achievements in terms of good governance. High public discontent have been caused due service delivery. There has been weakness in terms of taking quick measures on corruptions and other faults. Poor performance and ethical problems as well as populist tendencies in the implementation of mega projects have been observed.
9) There have been several shortcomings in facilitating people to people relations building activities – both in terms of overlooking such works and, when undertook, they were misguided and mismanaged. The party have also failed to work adequately in terms of nurturing ethno-national identity and Ethiopian unity side by side.
10) The aforestated shortcomings are the faults of the top leadership. The executive committee failed in terms of identifying, analyzing and setting directions for the challenges, since its leadership capacity didn’t grow in tandem with the complex challenges of the time. The executive committee apologizes and takes full responsibility for the harms resulted due to its failure to address the problems in time. It regrets for exposing the system to a serious danger and pledges it will not happen again.
11) The executive committee have decided the government shall put to halt any activity of road blocking and any individual or group activities that disturb the daily activities and freedom of movement of citizens. Any clashes due to border or other disputes shall be fully stopped. The death and displacement of citizens in Oromia and Somali border areas shall be halted and the displaced people shall be returned to their normal lives. Illegal trade activities which have been causes of conflicts in those areas shall be stopped and adequate protection and support shall be provided for the economic activities of farmers and pastoralists. The executive committee express its gratitude to the military and security personnel who lost their lives while keeping peace.
13) Each member party shall exhaustively mobilize its resources to alleviate poverty and ensure development. Multifaceted activities to strengthen national unity shall be implemented.
14) A series of activities shall be undertaken to speed up reform works in governmental structures, to enhance the participation of youth in democracy and development and to tackle the shortcomings of the multiparty democracy building process and enhance the space for the participation of the educated class and civic societies.
15) Tendencies of violating the human and democratic rights shall be thwarted and additional steps shall be taken to ensure respect for these rights.
16) Concerted measures shall be taken to correct private and government media outlets engaged in disseminating contents that create discord among people. In particular, the dissemination of incitefull contents on regional and federal media – contrary to political, legal and constitutional norms – shall be stopped.