The political process that evolved since 1991, although interspersed with its own set of challenges, opened a new chapter in Ethiopia’s history where people could freely express themselves. Particularly the recent 2005 election has earned itself a place in Ethiopia’s political history.
As part of pre-election activities, contending parties participated in numerous debates with a view to popularising their programmes and buying citizens’ confidence. These highly popular debates, afforded us a flavour of what real democracy would be like. In this respect, we believe the government, contending parties and civic organisations have played crucial roles to nurture and build the fledgling democracy in our country and need to be congratulated for it.
All pre-election activities culminated in the May 15 election, a day that Ethiopia will forever be proud of. On equal standing with the robust democracies of the world, approximately 90% of registered voters cast their ballots for representatives they believed should lead them, standing for hours in long queues. This day, in addition to having taught us valuable lessons in democracy, earned us international acclaim and helped us stand tall and proud.
On the other hand, subsequent events after the May 15 elections have dampened the elevated spirits (hopes) for a promising future and are fast disheartening a population that had started out with such rejuvenated spirits and promise of a bright future.
The discord among the contending parties, as it relates to the election results and the delay in announcing final results have contributed to the critical situation that our country faces. Particularly, the tension that reigned since May 15 is fast degenerating into a dangerous situation. The incidence that was responsible for the death of one civilian the first day, by the third day had claimed the lives of more than twenty compatriots, injured more than 100 and resulted in the imprisonment of numerous youth, students and other citizens. Generally, the current situation has deeply saddened and distressed our people.
In the past, our country Ethiopia has lost numerous valued citizens as a result of intolerance and inability to listen to each other. We do not want a recurrence of that tragic past. In particular, we do not wish the ray of democracy that was ushered in by the May 15 election to be eclipsed and the return to an even bleaker future. And unless the current situation is rectified immediately, it is anybody’s guess that it will have perilous consequences.
We, citizens of Ethiopia that have listed our names herein below, are saddened and are apprehensive of this highly precarious situation and are thus putting a Call for Peace. It is not our intent to take sides, blame, or denounce any group. Our objective is to earnestly appeal to all and put maximum effort in resolving problems through a spirit of tolerance and peaceful dialogue.
Therefore, we put our Call for Peace to the government, contending parties, the Ethiopian population and the international community at large as follows:
1. As the main responsible organ charged with ensuring the protection of its citizens and maintain peace and stability in the country, the government should desist from the use of any excessive force that endangers lives;
2. As per their previous agreement, contending parties should attempt to resolve all disagreements related to the election results only through peaceful and legal means;
3. The government should facilitate the means for citizens to air/voice their grievances and appeals/concerns using all peaceful and legal mechanisms;
4. The government and all contending parties should urgently hold discussions on how to diffuse the current tension and avert imminent danger;
5. The general population should also contribute to the peaceful resolution of the prevailing situation by maintaining the unparalleled patience and resilience that it exhibited during the elections
In conclusion, we concerned citizens, have and are holding discussions on the peaceful resolution of the current situation and appeal to all concerned to positively consider this Call for Peace and our subsequent efforts and play your parts in averting further danger. We avail ourselves to facilitate the process for peaceful resolution of the current situation.
Ethiopians from all walks of life representing various sectors have spearheaded this initiative for a Call for Peace and all those interested in getting further information on subsequent efforts and clarifications may contact the following individuals.
1. Ambassador Berhane Gebray Tel: 09-20-18-97
2. Ato Tamrat Kebede Tel: 09-40-26-72
3. Dr. Ing. Daniel Kitaw Tel: 09-22-98-80
4. Wzo. Zemy Yenus Tel: 09-21-05-35
June 10, 2005
Voice for Peace
1. Amb. Berehane Gebray
2. Wz. Zemi Yunus
3. Ato Aregawi Hagos
4. Ato Tamrat Kebede
5. Amb. Hailu W. Amanuel
6. Ato Berhane Deressa
7. Prof. Shibru Tedla
8. Ato Fasil W. Mariam
9. Ato Mulugeta Gebru
10. Ato Shiferaw Jammo
11. Ato Wubshet Ayele
12. Dr. Dawit Zewde
13. Prof. Bahru Zewde
14. Wz. Bizuwork Ketete
15. Wz. Netsanet Mengistu
16. Wz. Aster Birke
17. Dr. Ing. Daniel Kitaw
18. Ato Walelegn Emiru
19. Ato Yoseph G. Egziabher
20. Wz. Saba K. Mariam
21. Dr. Tamre Teka
22. Dr. Yayerhad Kitaw
23. Ato Teshome Kebede
24. Wz. Haregewoin Cherenet
25. Dr. Costantinos Berhe-Tesfu
26. Wz. Originale W. Giorgis
27. Ato Sahelu Haile
28. Dr. Fisseha Meketa
29. Dr. Dereje G/Medhin
30. Dr. Abebe Kidane
31. Ato Mengiste Ayele
32. Ato Tedla G/Mariam
33. Ato Amakelew Cherkosie
34. Ato Abdul Mohammed
35. Wz. Fekerte Belete
36. Ato Ayalew Aweke
37. Wz. Sintayehu Guluma
38. Wz. Sinidu Fekade
39. Ato Mulugeta Kebede
40. Ato Mekonnen Tefera
41. Dr. Konjit Fekade
42. Wzo. Bittu Abebe
43. Eng. Tadesse Haile Selassie
44. Wz. Tigist Alemu
An Ethiopian boy rests in front of a closed shop in the Merkato district of Addis Ababa. Ethiopia's government and opposition signed a non-violence pact after clashes that killed at least 27 people in the capital. (AFP/Marco Longari)