It is with deep regret that the Crown Council has learnt of the deaths of 27 people and the many injured, during the last few days following the May 15th elections in Ethiopia. We extend our heart felt condolences to the families of all those who have lost their lives in pursuit of their ideal. The violence and deaths have shocked and diminished us all.
Like all Ethiopian citizens, we members of the Crown Council have the moral obligation to express our deep concern regarding the situation that is daily getting out of hand as we face a major crossroad in our nation’s history. May 15th was truly exemplary of a nation’s disciplined action. The lessons that we had learnt from history, our pride and resolve were all expressed with patience and dignity.
However, our hope for a major stride to honor each citizen’s inalienable rights to have the freedom of choice, the effort to ensure the acceleration of socio-economic development based on true equality, and the optimism that we could all jointly address our nation’s basic problems, are now in grave danger of fleeting away as an unfulfilled dream. The tragedy is that all this is unfolding at a time when millions of our people are once again faced with food shortage, and the international community is determined to adopt a comprehensive strategy to enable us to free ourselves from the vicious cycle.
As each and every one of us is a stake holder in the well being of our nation, we should refrain from sabotaging ourselves when we are at the brink of a breakthrough to institute democratic institutions and to find committed assistance that will help us overcome our basic problems to clear the way for a brighter future. Surely, we Ethiopians who have had long established culture of co existence of many ethnic and religious groups can seek and find a way to live with those who have different political views from us.
Thus we urge both the Government and the Opposition Parties to exercise utmost patience, flexibility and restraint in their dealings with each other and with the public at large. They both cannot afford to risk losing the measure of trust placed on them by their respective constituencies. While we keep in mind that democracy is one of our nation’s most noble goals, we must at the same time realize that democracy is not born overnight, or without some measure of compromise. As one life lost through impatience and inflexibility is one life too many, all Ethiopians should place precedence in the rule of law and fundamentally accepted standards of human rights.
Most of all, we plead to all political groups to refrain from igniting ethnic and other differences to secure short term political gains. If these divisive actions are practiced, they will add fuel to the fire that will consume our people, and make us all major losers. The media and the general public also have moral obligation to be cautious not to spread distrust and fear. If we manage to pull ourselves back from the brink of deep despair that is hovering over our nation, and find a method of working together, the next five years can usher in a new era of democratic growth and build the base for stability in Ethiopia.