ASMARA, Eritrea -- Ethiopia held another �election� in late
May, 2010 and the sort of �democracy� the powers that be in the West support
with annual �aid� and �loans� to the tune of billions of dollars was the only
Western aid dependent Ethiopia, population 80 million, is
one of the poorest, most underdeveloped countries in the world. In Ethiopia,
providing clean drinking water for your children is often times impossible and
electrifying your home is a distant dream for over two-thirds of the country.
Malaria, AIDS, tuberculosis, even polio are endemic. Famine stalks the land and
ethnic insurgencies are being waged in most of the country. In the midst of all
this the West deemed it necessary that Ethiopia have another election, to
reaffirm its commitment to �democracy.�
In neighboring Sudan, which has less than half of Ethiopia�s
population, an election was conducted earlier in 2010. While it took Sudan a
week to collect and count the votes, Ethiopia managed to finish voting one
evening and declare the �winner� the next morning, with early reports showing
the Meles Zenawi Mafia awarding itself and its supporters 99.6 percent of the
seats in Parliament.
With a major clampdown in place in the capital, Addis Ababa,
no major outbreaks of protest were allowed, at least not where the Western
press was permitted.
A sigh of relief issued from the Western capitals for after
the last Ethiopian election in 2005, hundreds of thousands poured into the
streets in protest after similar results were announced. In 2005, the Meles
Zenawi regime was forced to unleash its elite attack squads and some 500 people
were beaten or shot to death with over 50,000 arrested and thrown into
concentration camps. Unknown thousands simply �disappeared.�
In the 2005 election, thousands of foreign election
observers were allowed to monitor some 300 out of 33,000 voting sites in
Ethiopia. Almost all the sites monitored by the observers voted overwhelmingly
for the opposition. In all the rest, the Ethiopian regime declared itself the
In 2005, Jimmy Carter and his Carter Center observers were
there to monitor the voting and early the next morning, after the polls closed,
Jimmy Carter held a press conference and announced his stamp of approval for
the election and quickly boarded a plane and left the country. His departure
was timely for within hours Addis Ababa exploded, the hard-core loyalist
battalions moved in and protesters� blood ran in the streets.
This election just a few observers were allowed and other
than a few mild statements of concern by the EU observers and some short-lived
consternation by HRW, the election was quickly swept under the carpet and
another example of the sort of �African Democracy� preferred by the West was
Shortly thereafter, Meles Zenawi would be welcomed on the
stage of the G-20 Summit of world leaders in Toronto, Canada, and the
demonstrations in protest of this on the streets of Toronto would be another
casualty of Western media whiteout.
If an �election� is held in Africa that is not accompanied
by violence and bloodshed, it is considered a �victory for democracy.� The
reality is most �elections� in Africa only make life worse for the people.
Colonialism in Africa installed mainly ethnic minority regimes upon departure
and today Africans across the continent are paying the price. Uganda, Kenya,
Cote D�Ivoire . . . the list is long with so much bloodshed, so much suffering,
and so many corrupt, co-opted leaders, one can only wonder why so many in the West
continue to insist upon the process.
Worse yet, as is the case here in Eritrea, genuinely popular
leaders are condemned when they refuse to allow the West to determine how our
country will be run. Eritreans have seen too many examples of �Western
democracy� leaving death and destruction in its wake to desire such. When the West
can rubber-stamp �democracy� on a regime run by a genocidal killer like Meles
Zenawi in Ethiopia, it seems like being declared a �dictatorship� by the West
is a requirement for determining if real democracy is being practiced on the
ground in today�s Africa.
Implementing real �democracy,� actually meeting the needs of
the people as in providing such essential human rights like clean drinking
water, food, shelter and medical care, is a continual struggle which has little
to do with �democratic elections� Western-style. As a matter of fact, elections
in Africa are actually detrimental to meeting the people�s needs, for they are
essential in implementing the system of neocolonialism and its Western-style
�democracy� that allow for the ongoing theft and engorgement of Africa�s wealth
by the West.
Many Eritreans ask what is the point of even engaging in the
�democratic process,� voting, for when the people do manage to �elect� truly
popular leaders, the West, as in the case of the Hamas victory in Gaza,
declares the people�s choice to be �terrorist� and refuses to recognize the
So when you hear about an election in Africa remember
Ethiopia�s 99 percent election and don�t be fooled into thinking that anything
is getting any better for Africa�s people, quite the contrary.
Stay tuned to the Online Journal for news from Africa that
the so-called free press in the West refuses to cover.
Thomas C. Mountain was, in a former life, an
educator, activist and alternative medicine practitioner in the USA. Email
thomascmountain at yahoo.com.