West Rubber Stamps Ethiopia’s 99% Election
By Thomas C. Mountain
25 July, 2010
Ethiopia held another “election” in late May, 2010 and the sort of “democracy” the powers that be in the West support with annual “aid” and “loans” to the tune of billions of dollars was the only winner. Western aid dependent Ethiopia, population 80 million, is one of the poorest, most underdeveloped countries in the world. In Ethiopia providing clean drinking water for your children is often times impossible and electrifying your home is a distant dream for over two thirds of the country. Malaria, AIDS, Tuberculosis, even Polio are endemic. Famine stalks the land and ethnic insurgencies are being waged in most of the country. In the midst of all this the west deemed it necessary that Ethiopia have another election, to reaffirm its commitment to “democracy”.
In neighboring Sudan, which has less than half of Ethiopia’s population, an election was conducted earlier in 2010. While it took Sudan a week to collect and count the votes, Ethiopia managed to finish voting one evening and declare the “winner” the next morning, with early reports showing the Meles Zenawi Mafia awarding itself and its supporters 99.6% of the seats in Parliament.
With a major clampdown in place in the capital Addis Ababa no major outbreaks of protest were allowed, at least not where the western press was permitted.
A sigh of relief issued from the western capitals for after the last Ethiopian election in 2005, hundreds of thousands poured into the streets in protest after similar results were announced. In 2005, the Meles Zenawi regime was forced to unleash its elite attack squads and some 500 people were beaten or shot to death with over 50,000 arrested and thrown into concentration camps. Unknown thousands simply “disappeared”.
In the 2005 election thousands of foreign election observers were allowed to monitor some 300 out of 33,000 voting sites in Ethiopia. Almost all the sites monitored by the observers voted overwhelmingly for the opposition. In all the rest the Ethiopian regime declared itself the winner.
In 2005 Jimmy Carter and his Carter Center observers were there to monitor the voting and early the next morning after the polls closed Jimmy Carter held a press conference and announced his stamp of approval for the election and quickly boarded a plane and left the country. His departure was timely for within hours Addis Ababa exploded, the hard core loyalist battalions moved in and protesters blood ran in the streets.
This election just a few observers were allowed and other than a few mild statements of concern by the EU observers and some short lived consternation by HRW the election was quickly swept under the carpet and another example of the sort of “African Democracy” preferred by the west was duly reappointed.
Shortly thereafter Meles Zenawi would be welcomed on the stage of the G-20 Summit of world leaders in Toronto, Canada and the demonstrations in protest of this on the streets of Toronto would be another casualty of western media whiteout.
If an “election” is held in Africa that is not accompanied by violence and bloodshed it is considered a “victory for democracy”. The reality is most “elections” in Africa only make life worse for the people. Colonialism in Africa installed mainly ethnic minority regimes upon departure and today Africans across the continent are paying the price. Uganda, Kenya, Cote D’Ivoire...the list is long with so much bloodshed, so much suffering, and so many corrupt, coopted leaders, one can only wonder why so many in the west continue to insist upon the process.
Worse yet, as is the case here in Eritrea, genuinely popular leaders are condemned when they refuse to allow the west to determine how our country will be run. Eritreans have seen to many examples of “western democracy” leaving death and destruction in its wake to desire such. When the west can rubber stamp “democracy” on a regime run by a genocidal killer like Meles Zenawi in Ethiopia, it seems like being declared a “dictatorship” by the west is a requirement for determining if real democracy is being practiced on the ground in today's Africa.
Implementing real “democracy”, actually meeting the needs of the people as in providing such essential human rights like clean drinking water, food, shelter and medical care, is a continual struggle which has little to do with “democratic elections” western style. As a matter of fact, elections in Africa are actually detrimental to meeting the peoples needs for they are essential in implementing the system of neocolonialism and its western style “democracy” that allow for the ongoing theft and engorgement of Africa’s wealth by the west.
Many Eritreans ask what is the point of even engaging in the “democratic process”, voting, for when the people do manage to “elect” truly popular leaders, the west, as in the case of the Hamas victory in Gaza, declares the peoples choice to be “terrorist” and refuses to recognize the results.
So when you hear about an election in Africa remember Ethiopia’s 99% election and don't be fooled into thinking that anything is getting any better for Africa’s people, quite the contrary.
Thomas C. Mountain
thomascmountain at yahoo dot com
In a previous life Thomas C. Mountain was the publisher of the Ambedkar Journal and a founding member of the Phoolan Devi International Defense Committee