Speech made at UNPO conference at the European Parliament in Brussels on 11 July 2018 by Tatek Ethio

Honourable Members of European Parliament

Ladies and Gentlemen,

First and Foremost I would like to thank UNPO for inviting me to express the views of Tatek Ethiopia. Tatek Ethiopia is an organisation that stands for freedom, democracy and unity for Ethiopia.

These are times of incredible changes in the world. This has also been so for Ethiopia in the person of Dr. Abiye Ahmed. How he came to power is a complex process but the changes he and his team are bringing are simple and almost incredible.

We have come to believe after some doubts that he is a change driving force.

Tatek Ethiopia does not mind who brings the change as long as the change is positive and benefits the people and the country. But, it does matter to us, how the change would continue to be fundamental and not reformist and how it would maintain or remain sustainable.

There are three directions that the change could be heading to:

  1. Develop into a fully fundamental change

  2. Maintain or retract to reformist change or

  3. Reverse the already made changes to the old ways

Ofcourse , what Tatek Ethiopia and the Ethiopian people want is fundamental change. Dr. Abiye, and his group are in a process of ascertaining power and they are being resisted by reactionary forces. We should not stand aside and watch with impartiality.

Thus, we have taken a stand to support Dr. Abyie ‘s group unconditionally, irrespective of differences we may have with some of his measures. This is a time of unity for a new wave of change. Otherwise what has already been done could be reversed and in the worst case scenario result in the disintegration of our country.

However, we should not only support Dr. Abiye but help him drive further for fundamental change, where there would be a national convention of total inclusivity, establishment of democratic institutions, removal of all repressive laws, have independent electoral commission, independent security and armed forces, and the freedom of the media.

In this process of change we cannot pass lightly the importance of the National Convention of all opposition forces and also parties already in power (the EPRDF). Ethiopia needs a fresh start into democracy by being inclusive.

A national convention is crucial for legitimacy whether we all agree for the incumbent government to continue until election time i.e for a year and a half, or agree on having a transitional arrangement that may include a transitional government.

However, relaying on one person or team would be undemocratic and unsustainable. As a point of caveat, I would like to raise the example of Tanzania where a newly elected and incumbent president Dr. John MAGUFULI was almost seen as an angel and at times compared to Jesus Christ , became an autocrat only four months later.

Thus, we conclude by stressing the fact that calling a national convention is crucial for guaranteeing the sustainability of the change in progress in Ethiopia.

Thank you