Foreword

The reality in Ethiopia

The future of Ethiopia

 


Part III: FUNDAMENTAL BELIEFS AND OBJECTIVES

3.1 POLITICAL ISSUES

MEDHIN's basic principles and objectives are stated as follows:

3.1.1 Human and Democratic Rights

The government has the prior obligation of safeguarding, and protecting Citizens' human and democratic rights. Among these rights are natural rights of individuals that governments cannot proscribe. Torture, physical and mental abuses are forbidden and illegal. Imprisonment without charges, search without court warrant, illegal use of force, and abuse of power are strictly prohibited. Ethiopia will be a country where an individual's equal rights, freedom, and dignity will prevail. Freedom of speech, expression, assembly, and organization will be assured. The government shall have the obligation of protecting the freedoms and the equality of its citizens in the eyes of the law. The government will enforce customary as well as due process of law. The government will play the role of guardian and servant of the people. UN and OAU. human rights declarations will have primacy and applicability over other similar laws. MEDHIN will give special attention to the implementation and priority of these declarations. MEDHIN believes that without due respect for each individual's human and democratic rights, the rights of the people at large could not be considered to have been protected.

3.1.2 Multi-party Democracy

Federal Democratic Ethiopia will be home of multi-party democracy. The political System will ensure the supremacy of the Ethiopian people. The people will elect the government after periodic and open competition among all political parties. Moreover, the system will allow leading political parties to participate freely and to build, enhance, and preserve a democratic tradition in the country. The rights will be protected by law. Since power emanates from the people, MEDHIN believes that the government must be accountable to and in the service of the people. Civil servants will be protected from any form of governmental and political party pressures, and their rights of freedom and political neutrality will be established by law.

3.1.3 Justice and Equity

MEDHIN believes in a strong and fair judicial system. The Ethiopian people, who have long suffered under tyrannical rulers, will enjoy equal and fair treatment in the face of the law. The judicial system will be free from government supervision and influence. Special effort will be made to assure that individuals will not be illegally arrested, imprisoned, punished, tortured or their rights violated. MEDHIN will strive to guarantee the supremacy of the law, and build a country where justice, equality, and freedom prevail.

 3.1.4 Freedom of the Press

A free and conscientious press acts as a guarantor of a democratic system. The freedom of the press to present the truth without fear, and to criticize government actions and the leadership of the political system will be safeguarded. The press can expose the government and make it accountable to the public. Moreover, the existence of a free and active press will help the government to correct its mistakes on time and serve the public diligently. Therefore, MEDHIN will assure that the mass media will be free of government control and influence, and will be given the freedom to be organized as a true, alert, and dedicated public service.

3.1.5 Equality of Ethnic Groups

Ethiopia is a mosaic of many ethnic groups. Equality of all ethnic groups will be upheld. Ethnic equality can be assured only when the culture, language, and identity of each ethnic group are legally recognized, protected, and allowed to develop and flourish. Ethnic equality is also assured when each ethnic group is part of the political process and when a sense of equality is reflected in the political and economic system. In this respect, the establishment of self-governing regions within a federal democratic structure will make a major contribution in advancing the cause of ethnic equality, and the realization of the principle of the right to self-administration. Together with political equality, economic equality will be assured when each autonomous region has control over its own resources. MEDHIN will give special consideration and priority to the problems of ethnic groups.

3.1.6 Ethiopian Territorial Integrity

The cornerstone of Ethiopia's unity is the equality of its ethnic groups. A unity based on equality, mutuality, and commonality of interests will be enduring. The international boundaries of Ethiopia, its seaports and maritime boundaries will be preserved and protected. MEDHIN believes that the fragmentation of the country into ethnic units is not the demand of the people but rather the wish of the so-called leaders of some political organizations. MEDHIN firmly believes that a federal democratic system affords a reliable assurance of Ethiopia's territorial integrity. So long as there is devolution of power between the central and regional governments and the rights of the people are protected, the people will make any necessary sacrifice in the defence of the national unity and territorial integrity of Ethiopia. It is for these reasons that MEDHIN advocates with a strong conviction that Ethiopian national unity and territorial integrity must be preserved.

3.1.7 Self-determination

MEDHIN believes in the basic democratic ideal of self-determination. This ideal, which is part of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is meant for people who suffered under the yoke of colonial rule. In conflict with the UN basic charter, which upholds the territorial integrity of its member nations, some groups conveniently misinterpret the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to promote the dismemberment of Ethiopia. MEDHIN rejects this vicious misinterpretation. The UN principle strengthens the call for the establishment of regional self-governments where the basic human and democratic rights of the people are protected and their cultural life enriched. This principle also guarantees a fair share of the national wealth to all groups and their full participation in the political process. The basic principle of self-determination should not by any means be used as an instrument to dismember the country and endanger the unity of its people.

3.1.8 Working Languages: MEDHIN's language policy has two parts.

3.1.8.1 National Working Language

The representatives of the national assembly will choose democratically, based on scientific studies and research, among the languages of regional groups, one language, which will be the federal government's official working language and which will be taught as one subject in the country's schools. That language will be used, as necessary, as an instructional language.

3.1.8.2 Regional Working Language

The representatives of each region, based on objective studies and research, will choose one language among the regional group of languages to be a working language of the regional government. The language selected will be the instructional medium for primary and middle schools. Other minority languages and cultures within the region will be protected and nurtured. The national working language will be the instrument of communication between the federal and the regional governments.

3.1.9 Ethiopian Citizenship

All Ethiopians born or residing within all self-governing regions, or those born abroad to Ethiopian parents will have Ethiopian citizenship. Every Ethiopian citizen will have the right as an Ethiopian to live, travel, work, and own property as well as engage in any lawful activities in any part of the country. Unless criminally charged, any person can leave and return to the country at his or her will without a visa. Since citizenship is the inalienable natural right of every Ethiopian, neither the federal nor the regional governments have the power to deny this right. Ethiopians holding citizenship of and living in a foreign country, or children of Ethiopians born abroad will be entitled to dual citizenship. The government will assure the protection of their human and democratic rights. Their rights to participate in the economic, social, and cultural life of Ethiopia will be protected. Their participation in the political process will be determined by law.

3.1.I0 Freedom and Equality of Religions

The right to worship or the freedom of belief will be protected and there will be no suffering, isolation, pressure or discrimination on anyone based on his or her religious belief. Since "religion is personal and country is communal" the government will assume a neutral position and shall treat all religions on the basis of equality.

3.1.11 Equal Rights For Women

Ethiopian women will have their equal rights to advance like all men and share the amenities of modern living. They will hold their rightful place in society without discrimination or pressure because of their gender.

3.1.12 Reconciliation and Peace

Every effort will be made to solve the problems and internal conflicts of the country by Peaceful means. Because the uniting factors of Ethiopian national groups outweigh their differences, all efforts will be exerted to solve problems through understanding, accommodation, dialogue, tolerance, and conciliation. Consultative bodies will be established at the federal and regional levels to advise on peaceful conflict resolution.

3.1.13 National Defence

A professional national defence force that Ethiopia's economy can afford will be established. It will be non-political and will have the capacity to maintain Ethiopia's national unity and territorial integrity. The defence forces comprising of the army, the air force, and the navy will be under the control of the federal government. Efforts will be made to make the composition of the defence forces reflect the ethnic groups of the country. MEDHIN shall reorganize the new national defence force by carefully identifying, recruiting and incorporating from among others, those members of the now dismantled defence establishment that are competent and committed to the defence of the country and command the confidence of its people.

3.1.14 Regional Security

The regional government can establish for maintenance of peace and order of the region, a police and a modest size territorial security forces required. The forces will be recruited as much as possible from among all the inhabitants of the region.

3.1.15 Foreign Relations

Ethiopia's foreign policy will be a reflection of her domestic policy. Her relationship with other governments and countries will be based on equality, mutual interest, noninterference in another country's internal affairs and mutual respect. Her tarnished international image will be improved and her historic place and role in the international arena, especially in the rest of Africa and the Third World, will be restored. Ethiopia will have specially close and constructive relations with her neighbors and promote mutual benefits. Efforts will be made to join with the people of the surrounding countries in a march towards peace and development. MEDHIN respects the UN and O.A.U. charters and supports their application. Ethiopia's foreign policy will be used as a vehicle to advance her economic, social, cultural, and technological progress and her overall national interest.

3.2 ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS

MEDHIN's economic policy is based on the following indicative guidelines.

3.2.1 The direction of the national economic growth will be determined by the interaction of supply and demand mechanisms of the free market place.

3.2.2 Every Ethiopian shall have the right to employ productive resources and engage in production or exchange, either as an individual or in partnership. No limitation will be put on this right. The government will extend supportive measures to facilitate private economic participation.

3.2.3 The function of government will be to lay the basic infrastructure and needed social services in accordance with the development needs in the marketplace. Other than that, government will not participate directly or in large scale in any economic activity either as producer or distributor in competition with its citizens. However, to avoid and discourage market distortions and unfair trade practices and to strengthen the free market mechanism and benefit the majority of the people, government will take corrective measures and play a supportive role.

3.2.4 While protecting the national interest of the country, foreign investors will be invited to participate in various economic sectors so that, by making profit for themselves, they can also benefit the people economically and through the transfer of technology enhance productivity in Ethiopia. Appropriate incentives to this end will be extended to foreign investors.

3.2.5 Self-sufficiency In Food

3.2.5.1 The priority of the economic sector will be to ensure self-sufficiency in food production.

Among the prerequisites to reaching this objective are: to make the farmer the owner of the farm; to facilitate a free market where the buyer and the seller set prices without government intervention; and to assure the free flow of goods - especially food - from grain surplus areas to grain deficit areas. Since the country is at the lowest rudiments of development, the government will actively participate where necessary in the transfer of technology, training and development of human resources, and counseling services.

3.2.5.2 Large farms and prime lands formerly owned by the government will be sold to Ethiopians who can productively manage and operate world-class farms. If necessary, state farms will be contracted in concessions to foreign investors.

3.2.6;Properties For Sale

Properties under lawful government holdings, such as factories, transport equipment, and other income generating assets will be properly appraised and. then transferred to private investors. To enhance workers' property ownership, some portion of the industrial shares will be set-aside for workers to purchase. Conditions will be created whereby banks will extend the necessary credit for such purposes. The government will take appropriate measures to ensure occupational health and safety, and workers' wages to be adequate and fair.

3.2.7 Other Areas

3.2.7.1 Patents and copyrights will be protected by law. The government will play a major role in creating an environment where creative abilities will flourish and help the country build a strong economy.

3.2.7.2 Areas where the ecosystem (forests, rivers, soils, etc.) has been upset to crises levels, will be rehabilitated and protected. Foreign aid and technology will be mobilized to accomplish this objective.

3.2.8 Research And Development

The government will utilize new findings and results of research and scientific endeavors

to promote productivity and advance industrial and agricultural production, and improve the quality of goods and services for sale in the world market. Scientific research and study will play a decisive role in the economic growth and overall development of the country. The government will give special priority and needed support for scientific studies and research.

3.2.9 Ownership of Agricultural Land

Agricultural lands will basically be privately owned and farmed privately, in partnership, or in corporation. To make agricultural products compete in the world market, the government will assist in advanced research and expert advice. The land-owning citizens will be duty bound to farm their plot productively, using modem and improved means of production.

3.2.10 Urban Lands and Buildings

Any Ethiopian will have the right to own urban land to build housing for his or her own use or for rental purposes. He or she has also the right to sell, exchange these properties, or to use them for any legal purpose.

3.2.11 Other Natural Resources

Other lands with minerals, natural gas, precious stones and other natural resources are basically common property of the people. The federal and regional governments in cooperation with the people may utilize them jointly; and capital expenditures and other costs will be shared between them. The search for mineral resources will be given utmost priority in depth and expanse; and the assistance of foreign investors and their technical expertise will be extensively used.

3.2.12 Education and Training

Education and training will be given the highest priority. Ethiopia's development and prosperity depends on the strength and dedication of the educated and trained citizens. Ethiopian children will be encouraged by the government and industry to advance in academic education, especially in mathematics, science, and technology. MEDHIN will strive to expand educational facilities, improve their quality and make sure they are accessible to all. Educational opportunities for advanced studies abroad will be facilitated. Illiteracy will be eliminated. The government will make efforts to expand professional, vocational, and graduate schools in the country. Sports will be encouraged to flourish in schools and expand into every community.

3.2.13 Health Care

Efforts will be made to ensure complete health care services to the Ethiopian people. The government will do its utmost to build clinics, hospitals, and other health care services. The government will strive to make medicine and medical equipment available, and educate citizens about nutrition and hygiene to increase their resistance to some common diseases. MEDHIN will take appropriate measures to ensure a healthy environment for the people and expand health services.

3.2.14;Progress in Art and Literature

Action will be taken to preserve and develop the music, literature, and songs, etc. of all national groups. The government will help authors, poets, actors, singers, and other artists to enrich their profession. Art will be encouraged to expand and reach the populace. When possible, schools will be used to advance and expand art and literature. The government will give wide and tangible assistance in the development of literature, poetry, music, the theater, other related trades and professions.

3.2.15;Rehabilitation

Special effort will be exerted to rehabilitate Ethiopians who, through natural or man-made disaster, were adversely affected, and forced to abandon their families, homes, and their country to another land. MEDHIN will design a special program for a normal and peaceful transition to those affected by war, villagization, drought, and famine. The transition program will also be extended to those displaced by the policies of the Workers Party of Ethiopia and EPRDF. Priority will be given to voluntarily repatriate Ethiopians who live abroad in poverty and an uncertain future. The assistance of international donor organizations will be sought in this rehabilitation effort.

3.2.16 Utilizing Expert Services

Experts retired due to age, health or political friction, and who have important academic and technical knowledge will be invited and encouraged to contribute to national reconstruction and development.

3.2.17 Creation of Job Opportunities

The government will continuously try to increase job creation opportunities in areas of trade, tourism, agriculture, industry, and in other areas. It will facilitate conditions for job expansion. Foreign companies will be encouraged to invest and create job opportunities. Ethiopians who prefer to work abroad are free to do so. Their remittances will be beneficial to the country in foreign exchange earnings. Special effort will be made to decrease unemployment and do away with hunger. To enhance efficiency in the business sector and open new areas of employment the government will eliminate all forms of obstacles to the expansion of business.

3.2-18 Development of Workers Skills

To increase efficiency and labor productivity, the government has the responsibility of training workers and raising their level of education through vocational and on-the-job training. Incentives will be introduced to increase healthy competition and morale among workers. Steps will be taken to assure occupational health and safety. The right of workers to form new or join existing unions, and the right to elect and to be elected for union offices is protected by law. The right of workers, individually or through their organization, to assemble, bargain, and strike is protected. The laws of the International Labor Organization will be upheld and workers' rights will be protected.

3.2.19 Encouraging Private Initiative

All Ethiopians can take individual initiatives and can participate in all sectors of the economy including agriculture, industry, trade, transport and in prospecting of mineral resources. They can also participate in social services, education, and health care fields, such as, clinics, hospitals, pharmacies, and other related services. Since nationalization is one of the causes that hinders private initiative, it will be prohibited by law. The state will provide incentives to enhance private participation in industry. The rise of a property owning democracy will be enhanced and protected by law.

3.2.20 Right to Bear Arms

Any Ethiopian, unless criminally charged or mentally incompetent, can own and carry Firearms for self-protection.

save Ethiopia and promote its enduring progress by supporting the policies, participating in its program and most importantly by joining the

Ethiopian Medhin Democratic Party (MEDHIN)