As we all expected, most of the democratic opposition forces have now come to a common understanding of the need for a coordinated effort to bring democracy and freedom in Ethiopia. Eleven major political and civil organizations have come to an agreement to form a coordinating or an organizing committee to collaborate the Ethiopian democratic opposition forces. The coordinating committee will include members from this eleven organizations so far. It is possible more will come on board in the future as the struggle continues and starts to take shape. It can turn into a front and eventually into a complete union.
This declaration by the democratic opposition is a great first step that has the potential to fulfil the dreams of Ethiopians world wide. There is no doubt that the news will be received with relief and great excitement here in the Diaspora as well as at home. Of course, there will be challenges along the way. And one of the most critical ones will be how to get along with each other in the face of disagreements. We strongly believe that the infamous slogan of losers, “my way or the high way”, will never come up again among the members.
This slogan is the main criminal and the enemy that destroyed all attempted collaborations before among the opposition in the last twenty years. Members should be able to bow to a majority decision even if they don’t agree with it. That is the way democracy works. No one gets what he or she exactly wants. There is a always a need to compromise. This is true even between a husband and his wife. Can you imagine how much tolerance and compromise is needed among these different organizations with various political trends?
The west has been behind dictator Zenawi for so long funding dictatorship and corruption in Ethiopia. One of its excuses is the absence of a united and formidable opposition in Ethiopia. Well, now they have it. And this united opposition declared today is by far the most representative and inclusive in the history of the opposition. It will no doubt attract the attention of Western donors who until now have been stuck with TPLF and dictator Zenawi as its ring leader. With Zenawi gone and the formation of such an inclusive opposition coalition, there is a fair chance that the United States and other western countries may make some efforts to put the country back on a democratic track. If not, the united opposition may have to bring freedom and democracy by its own bootstraps by hook or by crook.
Let us all applaud this historical and critical first move by rallying behind them. We can also urge and put pressure on other major political and civil organizations to join this collaboration who may still be on the fence.
Unity is not an option. It is a necessity you have to have, in order to win. No unity, no victory. Period.