Addressing the immediate challenges:Ayal-Sew Dessye
Now is the time for the legal opposition to address the challenges it faces, exploit the political opportunities, and isolate the hazards that need to be shunned. Sadly, so far, avoiding the hazards seems to loom larger than addressing the challenges and exploiting the opportunities. And perhaps the role of the Shimagles (elders) -- who are shuttling between Meles and opposition leaders -- is influencing the course of events. But this may be a fatal error for an opposition facing an existential threat. Certainly, imprisonment must not be avoided at the expense of relegation to permanent irrelevance.
The ball once again is in the opposition's court:Alemayehu G. Mariam
As egregious as the conduct of the elections and as unacceptable as the results are, this undeclared calculated risk by the Meles regime could be, I believe, an opportunity for the opposition. Election 2010 has disrobed this regime's leaders and shown their naked self to the whole world. They can no longer continue to pretend to be, as they say, "building democracy" or claim that the country is an "emerging democracy", etc. The results announced by the regime have clearly shown to what illegitimate and shameful extent EPRDF leaders could go to stay in power. Only under totalitarian regimes of the bygone era could there be such an outrageous and indefensible outcome in any election.
Nonetheless, I believe that there is no better environment and a better time than now for the opposition to reinvent itself and make a badly needed paradigm shift. But this is not a time to rush things through and engage in self-serving and short-sighted endeavors. It would be prudent to take enough time to reflect on the whole, self examine, reassess the situation, regroup and reorganize as a national (country-wide) force, chart a new course with comprehensive and clear strategy, and embark on a united and decisive struggle to do away with tyranny once and for all. Priority should be given to encourage and help those inside the country. They need to be assisted to stay afloat and function as much as they could.
Give Young People a Chance to Lead:
The older generation in the opposition needs to learn to get out of the way. Let's give the younger generation a chance to lead. After all, it is their future. We can be most useful if we help them learn from our mistakes and guide them to greater heights. Zenawi thinks he can mold the young people in his image so that he can establish a Reich that will last a thousand years. He will never succeed. If there is one thing universally true about young people, it is that they love freedom more than anything else. Let the older generation be water carriers for the young people who will be building the "future country of Ethiopia," as Birtukan would say.
Think Like Winners, Not Victims:
Victory is not what it seems for the victors, and defeat is not what it feels for the vanquished. There is defeat in victory and victory in defeat. Both victory and defeat are first and foremost states of mind. Those who won the election by a margin of 99.6 percent project an image of being victorious. But we know they have an empty victory secured by force and fraud. The real question is whether the opposition sees itself as winners or losers. Winners think and act as winners, likewise for losers.