Monday, September 17, 2007

Is Kinijit the Way?

By Fikru Helebo

The last time I attended a meeting at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia was in January 1994. That was when delegates from the Council of Alternative Forces for Peace and Democracy in Ethiopia (CAFPDE), which was led by Beyene Petros, had a public meeting there. Yesterday, I attended another public meeting in the very same hall where CAFPDE had its meeting. This time around the meeting was called by the recently-released-from-prison leaders of the CUD (Kinijit). It seemed this meeting was attended by twice as many people as the meeting I attended in 1994.

In a previous post I had expressed my hope and wish that the released Kinijit leaders will "remain united and continue to lead by example" and so this meeting was my first opportunity to observe these leaders up close and find out if they have what it takes to "remain united and continue to lead by example." I am not sure if they will remain united (I have no better insight about the apparent rift within Kinijit), but I came out of the meeting yesterday reassured that Berhanu Nega and the other four colleagues of his who spoke at the meeting are well aware that they must lead by example if their hard work is to bear fruit. Don't take my words about them, just find out for yourselves by listening to their speeches here.

The majority of the audience at this meeting was probably composed of Kinijit members and supporters. But I am sure a sizable portion of the audience was also made up of interested folks who support other opposition groups and non-partisans such as my self. All the speeches were substantive, but the speech that electrified the audience was the keynote speech by Berhanu Nega. I believe every Ethiopian should get a chance to hear or read Berhanu's
speech. Berhanu and the other speakers could have chosen to dwell on their prison ordeal or on many of the evils of the EPRDF regime. In stead, their speeches were filled with exhortations about the need to focus on the future and the importance of practicing what they preach.

I think I can confidently say that yesterday was the most optimistic I felt about the future of Ethiopia since the hijacked elections of 2005. A banner posted behind the podium at the meeting yesterday declared, in a Biblical tone, that "Kinijit is the way!". Well, I am not so sure that it is. But, of all the Ethiopian opposition groups out there, Kinijit seems to have the better chance to lead Ethiopians towards democratic pluralism and I sincerely wish these Kinijit leaders best of luck on the arduous immediate and long term tasks they face.

20 comments:

tobian said...

I also attended a talk by Berhanu Nega in NY on Sept 6. His talk is available here. . I also walked away being amazed by how upbeat and positive his outlook is, despite time spent in prison.

Anonymous said...

It is YES or NO

Well given the current level of politically matured organizations, CUD is comparatively a default choice to lead Ethiopia into the next level of good governance. They can only achieve this if they manage to translate all the popular support and fame into a mighty political force that can bring about a change. A change to the ordinary life of this retched nation condemned to misery by the past and present rulers and dictators. If they build on their present popularity and get united, yes they are here to make a change.

But are we sure about their unity, integrity and competent as an accomplished political force? I have some reservation in particular about their unity. Rumours are flying around about the existence of tension within the leadership. Moreover they need to have clear and pragmatic policy in all major aspect of political, economic and social walk of life. They need to differentiate their strategic goal and the immediate action if it happens to that they get elected to lead this nation. I don’t see any ware such a policy document.

There is an election manifesto document posted on CUD official web sight. This may serve as short term commitment guide limited to the last election.

They need a well thought and well structured policy document based on professional research. I am fully confident there are intellectually able and extensive expertise and professionals which can contribute to this policy document.

Politics filled with emotions, populism and rhetoric is like a bubble. It can not stand against the pressure around it. A simple imbalance will make it to burst beyond repair.

Putting all this considerations into the equation, I would say they are yet to crack into the illusive question of "when our country enjoy freedom of democratic society?"

Anonymous said...

You coming from Enset eating part of Ethiopia may have slight bias for Berhanu Nega. I found the speech to be nothing but rhetoric.

Gooch said...

The irony in the last comment is just too much!

enset said...

I am not sure what bias the last anonymous commentator is talking about. But, if he is talking about bias towards Berhau Nega as opposed to Hailu Shawel, my bias is not just slight, it is huge.

My bias has very little to do with my affinity for folks whose roots are from "Enset eating part of Ethiopia", although I have to admit that plays a minor role. The reason I am biased towards Berhanu is because of Berhanu's demonstrated ability to inspire and articulate the hopes of Ethiopians. I appreciate the sacrifice that Hailu Shawel has made, but his ability to inspire and articulate leaves much to be desired.

Fikru

Anonymous said...
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enset said...

Hi there,

I will not tolerate incendiary comments like the one above on Enset blog. If you care to make the case as to why Berhanu is a con artist, as you allege, or the speech he gave is just rhetoric and no substance, then you need to do it in a courteous manner and give the reader a substantive argument for your position. I am giving you until midnight Toronto time to do this.

Fikru

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
enset said...

Come on man! Yes, you, the guy from Toronto. You can't fool me. You can't pretend to be another person now and praise Berhanu. You first said Berhanu's speech is just rhetoric, then you said he is a con artist, now you turn around and praise him. What is wrong with you. This is precisely why I hate writing anonymously. Since I now know that you are returning to this blog more often, I will only give you until 6 PM Toronto time to explain why you said what you said about Berhanu. If not, I will remove all of your comments, except the first one.

Fikru

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Anonymous said...
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Ephrem Madebo said...

Mr. Anonymous, what has eating enset has to do with appreciating the speech of Dr. Berhanu? I grew up in a typical urban center eating “enjera bewet”, but that did not stop me from appreciating Dr. Berhanu’s one hour and ten minutes all inclusive and sensational speech. His speech was strategic, indicative, artistic, humorous, and illustrative. One might not like Dr. Berhanu, or disagree with him, but the speech he made is an eye opening speech for our country. There are very few Ethiopians who can prepare and make a speech like Dr. Berhanu did on Sunday. If you are honest, please give us at least three areas of his speech that you didn’t like, explicitly stating why?

Ephrem Madebo said...

The center of Knjit must not be the Berhanu Hailu personality contest. Kinjit goes where its collective leadership takes it. Kinjt as a party should not implement whatever its chairman decides, rather, its chairman executes what Kinjit as a party decides. If I see the future well- being of my country in Hailu's vision, I fully support him and stand with him for the realization of his vision. The same is true with Berhanu. I'm not a member of CUDP, but CUDP has never been far from my mind. My intimacy to Kinjit is glued by none, but the charismatic Berhanu with whom I share many ideas. This doesn't mean that I have a problem with Hailu, he is a man of value too, but we just don't share much of the same vison. When I think of Hailu,I always remember his determination and decisiveness when he flew from DC to Addis and went to jail knowing that he would! That is unparalleled!

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Anonymous said...

Hello there,

I like how you eloquently put your ideas. I often visit your blog and enjoy the well written, well documented, quite interesting articles. I also like how you openly speak of your mind. Very few people have the courage to question things like the current situation of Kinjit. I admire you for that.I believe we need more people like you. I am a young man who has a lot to learn in life. If you ask me, I can't even define politics properly. So I won't say much on the article. I think you asked the kind of questions I wanted to ask with my little understanding of the current situation. Meanwhile, I just wanted to suggest few things regarding the individual who is trying to get your attention. As an IRC OP, I have seen lot of kids who got nothing else to do but distract, annoy and seek attention on a daily basis. Some actually join chat rooms, blogs or forums deliberately for the above purposes.So I think on blogs like this one, comments should be reviewed before they appear on the site.
I have also found that sometimes, it is good to ignore kids like him. Otherwise, once he gets your full attention, he will be cheering like it is his birthday.

Keep up the good work. There are lot of young folks out there including myself who need good examples

Thank you

Anonymous said...

To Enset editors,

It is shame that you are practicing the Chinese communists’ type cut this, block that censorship mania. Free idea advocates of power full minds never loose their cool. They are always ready to accommodate ideas what ever they are. If they think it should be met with their type of idea they will come up with one. If they do think the idea doesn’t worth attention they don’t west time on thinking about it. They don’t cut it out and ban either because they are advocates of free ideas. Their sense of tolerance is so strong. They know that sinner’s idea is out of the commonly accepted code of conduct. But they are still free to wave their idea.

You don’t have to react/reply to “bad” comments. Ignore it and move on. Don’t loose your cool.

Anonymous said...

I am an Ethiopian living in London England personally I belive this talk of democracy and multiparty politics does not work for Ethiopia .What we need is a strong central government that will unite the country but not devide it in the name of election and multiparty politics.I am not saying that because i am against peoples liberties but I am against party politics .In a country like Ethiopia where there are over 80 nathionlitys it will only bring more divisions and parties who don't mind creating tensions between people to get what they need.I will write down what I belive that we need in brief.
1.A strong leader that will represent the unity of the country and constitution which will be the head of the army and the law.
2.a SHENGO (assembly of the people)elected from every AWRAJA(province)I suppose there are about 92 or 93 AWRAJA's in ethiopia.
3.and SHENGOS for every AWRAJA which representativ's are elected from every community city and villege in the AWRAJA.
Thank you for Reading
F.T

samuel said...
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samuel said...

Even if it is too let to comment in this post, their is an amharic proverb that describes CUD perfectly.

Yemekenajo Beree Simeshi Wedeyebetu Yigebal.