Monday, June 05, 2006

AFD, and other matters

Dagmawi did what he does best. In Chimpanzee Politics and the Alliance for Dismemberment he came up with a typically powerful argument against AFD. His previous two were unlike him. Ethiopundit also has his own reality check on the issue. My two greatest bloggers in Ethiopia's blogosphere are, however, still unable to convince me that the AFD was a mistake. May be I am an incorrigible alliance lover. Yet to answer these powerful critics, I know I should do better than cutting and pasting the alliance's draft objective. See you soon.
Now to other matters. A reader from here wrote to me about Kinijit's weak media campaign at the moment. is getting so feeble that the government hasn't even bothered to block access to the site in Ethiopia. Tensae radio is out of steam. And where is Yekinijit Dimits these days? People aren't getting enough information as to what is going on. The one media campaign that always works well for kinjit is TPLF's most ridiculous propaganda which always back fires. News and truth are blacked out in Ethiopia. A year from now, the fate of Myanmar beckons us unless the media battle is getting the attention it deserves.
Ersasu's lucid arguments and facts on the government's action against bloggers and web journalists remind me of the unpredictable life I have chosen to be in. when I call contacts and receive calls from them and wonder around to collect news and information, I always feel the hot breath of TPLF in my neck. It is dangerous to be a blogger in Ethiopia; especially if you push boundaries to get news. And unlike Ego portal's speculation, there is no way the government will put us in jail with Berhanu Nega and Begekadu Degfe. Haven't you heard of the torture cells at Maekelawi? It is, however, impossible to be unmoved by what is happening in the country just as it is impossible, the ancient Chinese philosopher Menicus pointed out, for us to be unmoved in the presence of a drowning child, even with the threat of Maekelawi. I for one will not take the destruction of my country, my hope and my freedom lying down.
Prison sources informed me that the jailed leaders of kinijit will remember the Sene 1 atrocities. I was also told that they had asked Ethiopians to remember them at thir workplaces, schools, churches(wherever they are on Thursday)


Anonymous said...


Maybe this "grand unholy alliance" is doomed. It is bad karma when people can't even get the acronym (AFD) right.

Gooch said...

What good argument? I just read it again, and I don't see it. Dagmawi's just set up a strawman and burnt it.

His basic point is that OLF/CUD cooperation will result in an OLF/EPRDF coalition. That's as hypothetical as one can get. It makes presumptions about the nature of OLF/CUD cooperation, the downfall of the EPRDF, and the subsequent alignment of powers. Speculation is speculation and should be admitted as being such.

Anyway, if we think dismemberment is lurking around every corner, then we should not even oppose the EPRDF. Think about it.

As for his last four points:

1. 1 contradicts 3 - how can an alliance that is mostly symoblic (that has no program) marginalize anybody
2. 2 all depends on how you sell it.
3. 4 again is speculation

The worst one can say about the AFD is that it could turn out to be exclusionary, it could coopt all members into violent struggle, it could deteriorate into simply an arrangment to attack a common enemy. If this happens, none of us will support it anyway, for heaven's sake.

But, CURRENTLY, the AFD is simply a long overdue symbolic gesture of empathetic understanding between various antagonistic group.

I would expect Dagmawi to write a piece that expresses the benefits of the AFD as it stands, what road it should take and what road it should not. Now that would be a good article.

Anonymous said...

During the election debate last year, CUD appealed to too many, so did other opposition to EPRDF. And I don't think EPRDF will ever let that happen again. TPLF was played out. OLF is aware of this fact. That is why OLF turned Meles down after the historical first free election. OLF might or might not be thinking of a united Ethiopia but it sure wants the many Oromo intelectuals to be on it's side for the first time in three decades before CUD gets them to be on its side. TPLF made heroes out of CUD leaders and CUD gained even more momentum in public opinion. As far as most Ethiopians are concerened, CUD has won the election and TPLF hasn't won anywhere except in Tigray, with UEDF coming second. And Tigray is only five percent of Ethiopia.

I don't think OLF missed the fact that CUD is right on track. In many ways. And CUD is aware that it can win against TPLF even in Tigray, let alone in the southern part of Ethiopia at every election for generations to come. CUD's popularity has now surpassed the popularity of EPRP in the 70s. Just like EPRP, CUD is genuinely multi ethnic, but unlike the 1970s EPRP, CUD is not only a party of the young and the very young.

Anonymous said...


I am really surprised you found Dagmawi’s argument powerful. Although I am happy the alliance was formed, I have my own reservation. Still I was disappointed. His argument (if you call it that) isn’t convincing at all. It is just speculation with no facts at all. I think this the weakest analysis Dagmawi ever made. I didn’t expect this from him.

It looks like for whatever reason he has a problem with the alliance, and couldn’t find a way to present a fact-based and logical argument against it. Instead, he chose the route of Woynae’s pseudo politicians who start with quotations from popular books to imply that they are well educated, and know better than anybody else about issues they are dealing with. Almost 90% of his writing was about behavior chimpanzees and there is no explicit or implicit relevance to his topic.

In the end, his argument is so weak even his widely admired reputation can’t save it.

Anonymous said...

Though I don't totally agree with the arguments of Dagmawi, I fell that the agreement allowed secessionist groups to maintain their core principles while CUDP gave up nearly all its core values and had gained nothing in return.

The alliance agreement binds the signatory parties to uphold the ethnic federalist constitution drafted and put in place by TPLF and OLF, the then armed groups.

If the CUD accepts ethnic federalism , one should ask

- how is ethnic federalism AFD style, any different from the TPLF- ethnic federalism? And how the existing problems related/due to ethnic federation can be resolved?

- Why were all those sacrifices made in the last 15 years if, in the final analysis, ethnic federalism is perceived to be acceptable

Gooch said...

last anonymous,

CUD agreed to uphold the current constitution before the May 2005 elections. What's in this agreement is nothing new.

CUD (along with the UEDF and OFDM) wants to change the constitution, but will do so according to the consitution's provisions.

Thus, all the opposition parties in these past elections have agreed to begin within the 'framework of the present Ethiopian constitution.'

Why did CUD do this in the first place? It sensed that the reality in Ethiopia is that in today's political climate, there can be no consensus among political elites to change Article 39. This consensus is needed for democratic change. So first get the consensus, then get democracy, and then see what you can do about the constitution. If, in a democratic context, the constitution proves impossible to amend, then it must mean that that's how the people want it.

How is ethnic federalism AFD-style different from EPRDF-style?

First, the EPRDF is a de facto party, not a coalition, whereas the AFD is a very loose alliance which, on paper, takes no position on almost all issues, including ethnic federalism. It has simply agreed to work within the current constitution - it has not endorsed it - the reason being the current constitution is seen as a compromise that will allow work to proceed.

Second, the problem today is not ethnic federalism, but the absence of human rights and democracy! It's a dictatorship! That's why the TPLF wields most of the power. That's why Meles wields most of the power! Needless to say, a real democracy under the current constitution would be infinitely better than what we have now.

The sacrifices were and are being made to get democracy - one man one vote.

gonTe said...

I don't see why most of you dismiss Dagmawi's analysis. I thought his arguments were dead on. As ET-Wonkette said, ephemeral alliances created for convinience are eventually useless. Say, EPRDF was removed from Ethiopia. OLF's stated goal has not changed a bit. Therefore we are back to square one where we will be fighting the same fight except now instead of TPLF, it will be OLF. CUD and OLF have fundamental differences. One is for the supermacy of individual rights and the other is for group rights. I agree discussions need to take place on these differences and the differences should be resolved before an alliance is created. The way things have been done, it seems, CUD has given up its core princples with out getting much in return. They might as well have joined TPLF's parlament and spared all the lives lost this past year.

The other major point is that CUD was for peaceful struggle. That is a HUGE shift in Ethiopian politics. In allying itself with armed groups, CUD is taking a big hit in its crediblity and the whole political discourse falls back to the old days.

Thirdly, Eritrea's meddling is a big issue. Their last gift to us was a major war where more people died than in the whole of the 30 year war. Their gift to us before that was TPLF and a hundered year homework. To think that they have our best interest is delusional! A meeting stage managed by shabia, regardless of OLF's goal, should be rejected right out of hand.

Chimpanzee Politics, indeed. We are in the 21st century people. Let's think like human beings.

gonTe gonetatlew

Gooch said...


Speculation, speculation, speculation.

Dagmawi's and your analysis, and I say this with the utmost respect, ought to be dismissed out of hand because you both make assumptions about what will happen and argue against that. This analysis is grossly unfair and not at all constructive.

Certainly, if CUD (diaspora CUD) gives up its core principles, if the OLF does not change, if CUD embraces armed struggle, if the PFDJ is the puppeteer, then we have a problem. This you can say. But you can't just assume that's the case when there's no evidence.

What would be much more constructive is to say that these things must be guarded against, and that if they indeed come to pass, the AFD cannot be seen as a good thing.

And even more constructive would be too suggest modalities that would steer the AFD in what you think would be the right direction.

See for such a balanced and constructive view of the AFD.