Ethiopian democracy


The Guardian, 16.11.2006

I am obliged to respond to your unfounded allegations directed against the people and government of Ethiopia by individuals who, for whatever reason, wish to remain in Europe (Ethiopian judge tells of regime’s massacres, November 9). The most surprising aspect of this case is that the allegations come from a person who claimed, until recently, that there have been encouraging results in the major policy programme concerning Ethiopia’s judiciary. On November 3, Judge Teshale Aberra briefed the Ethiopian community in the UK about a comprehensive judicial reform programme. He enumerated the wide-ranging achievements made at federal and at the Oromia region level, where he used to serve as the president of the supreme court. It is against this backdrop that one should question the credibility of his contradictory statements.

We in Ethiopia have openly declared that the realisation of democracy and the fight against poverty are of prime importance. At the same time, we are aware that the road to democracy is not a smooth one. Yet in the past 15 years, Ethiopia has registered resounding achievements in building democratic institutions, ensuring press freedom, building an independent judicial system and upholding the supremacy of the law. To deny the progress made in the democratisation of Ethiopia and to attempt to draw a parallel between the current government and the military dictatorship of the previous regime is a distortion of the facts.

Berhanu Kebede
Ambassador of Ethiopia