...Elections are political tools, and like any tool, every election could become a tool for democracy if we “hold it right”, which means that if we hold the 2010 election right, it could become a powerful weapon for effectively de-legitimating the TPLF/EPDRF regime....Oh, how I wish this could be the case! Unfortunately and sadly, the Woyane regime has been preparing diligently for the last five years to make sure that there is very little chance of this scenario unfolding during the upcoming election. Besides, opposition groups of all hues had participated in elections in 1992, 1995, 2000 and 2005, and all of them have already proven that the ruling regime is not interested in being a partner for building a democracy in Ethiopia. Been there, done that. This is not to suggest that the weaknesses among the opposition has not contributed to democracy not taking root in Ethiopia under Woyane rule, but the blame rests squarely on Woyane's shoulders, no question.
...Using the COC [Code of Conduct] as a political boomerang that comes back to its originating context and knocks it open to expose what it tries to hide—the anti-democratic and exploitative nature of the TPLF/EPDRF regime—is an action that those who signed and did not sign the COC, and those who participate and do not participate in the election, could take....
...But this is possible only if the members of the Ethiopian democratic family abide by a democratic code of conduct, implicit or explicit, based on mutual respect and tolerance.
So, what is the point of participating in another election, especially one that is highly scripted, which will not provide Ethiopians with any hope for representative government they desire and deserve? It is pointless.
It is not that I disagree with the notion that "every election could become a tool for democracy if we 'hold it right'”; it's just that I think Ethiopia, 18 years into Woyane rule, has reached the point where participation in yet another sham election will cause an irreparable harm to the larger task of laying the foundations for a democratic order in Ethiopia. Therefore, in my humble opinion, the best tool to use to advance the cause of democracy in Ethiopia at this point in time is through BOYCOTT, not participation in yet another sham elections.
I do not reach this conclusion lightly. As any long time reader of this blog can easily surmise, I have a lot of respect to those politicians who take tremendous risks to their own safety to fight the Woyane dictatorship on the ground in Ethiopia by using all peaceful means at their disposal. The supply of such politicians is limited and I see no need to waste precious resources and energy in the upcoming election. What is the logic behind sacrificing these kinds of politicians for a meaningless objective? I can't justify.
Isn't the sacrifice of Birtukan Mideksa and the thousands of others who are currently and have previously been incarcerated and the hundreds who have already given their precious lives for the cause of democracy not sufficient enough to prove the Woyane regime is an illegitimate one? I think it is! I would rather see the Mideksa type of Ethiopian politicians wise up and live to fight another day.
My view is that even if the parties that are currently registered to run in the elections, especially those with the Medrek coalition, end up taking part in the election, the political forces that are left out of the process are way too significant to consider the election a useful tool for democracy. I say: Why not boycott the 2010 election and let the chips fall where they may?