Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Time to Act is Now

June 8, 2005

Dear fellow Ethiopians around the world: the time to act is now!!!

Call Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at 202 647 4000
Call and Write to The White House
Call and Write to your local media
Call and Write to your Congressman
Call and Write to your Senator

Alert Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia worldwide:
Please call Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice now and demand that the U.S. govt take action against the Meles regime. The phone is: 202 647 4000

You can use the following sample letter:

Dear Sir or Madame,

Ninety percent of registered citizens in Ethiopia turned out to cast their vote on May 15, 2005. The preliminary results of those elections issued by the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) are heavily contested by the two major opposition coalition groups, the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) and United Ethiopian Democratic Front (UEDF).

At the heart of the controversy are election irregularities in at least 235 constituencies with grossly manipulated votes. Aiming to exhaust available legal means to address the serious elections fraud, both the CUD and the UEDF have called on NEBE to investigate allegations of fraud. Furthermore, the two major opposition parties appealed to the NEBE to postpone the final elections results until all disputes are resolved. Threatened by a possible boycotting of elections, the NEBE reluctantly agreed to postpone releasing final vote counts by one month.

It is noteworthy that the opposition groups unsuccessfully demanded a change in the NEBE's composition before the May 2005 elections. Had that come to pass, the opposition groups could have averted the current wrangling with the NEBE. Even casual observers of the Ethiopian elections in Ethiopia have observed that the ruling EPRDF party is in sync with the NEBE. For pointing out that obvious fact and for questioning the NEBE's ability to carry out its duty objectively, the election board has threatened to sue both the CUD and the UEDF for defamation. Strongly worded warnings to both coalition opposition groups have been issued by high ranking EPRDF officials like Bereket Simeon, the Minister of Information, and Addisu Legesse, the Deputy Prime Minister.

The political situation in Ethiopia is reaching its peak. The EPRDF Marxist-Revolutionary party, hitherto cloaked in mock democracy, is showing its true colors now. Yesterday, on June 6, 2005, hundreds of students at universities and technical colleges around Ethiopia staged sit-in demonstrations against the rigged parliamentary elections of last month. To clamp down on the peaceful demonstrations, the EPRDF regime deployed its security forces armed with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades. So far, there is one confirmed death, a number of injuries and hundreds of arrests. The country, particularly the city of Addis Ababa, is under siege. The opposition groups have no access to the media to call for calm since the state-run media is under the complete control of the ruling party.

The EPRDF regime has blamed the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) for the continual civil disturbance in Ethiopia. The following nine high ranking members of the Coalition have been briefly arrested by the EPRDF regime and tortured severely - Wondwosen Teshome( UEDP_Meddhin central committee member), Ketema Belachw, Mesfin Negash, Dr. Bantigegn Tamirat, Behailu Bekele, Yonas Asfaw, Teshome Chala, Tesfamikael Sisay and Ermias Balew.

The current political turmoil in Ethiopia is just a brief sketch of what could happen if the EPRDF regime refuses to accept the opposition demand for a recount of votes in all 235 constituencies.

We urge the United States government to use its position of global supremacy to exert pressure on the EPRDF regime either to allow a recount of votes or to hold fresh elections in the 235 disputed constituencies. Unless this extremely volatile situation is dealt with deftly, it could deteriorate even further and could destabilize the entire region.

Clearly, a democratic Ethiopia is in the best interests of the United States.

CC: State Department
White House
US Congress


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