Audio clip : VOA Amharic
In an interview with the Voice of America, opposition figures in Ethiopia and former members of parliament offered advice for the regime in power that government need to consider political solution in relation to the arrest of Merera Gudina.
Dr. Chanie Kebede, Ethiopian Democratic Party chairman and former member of parliament, believes that the arrest of Dr. Merera Gudina will have a negative implication on peaceful struggle at home. It may prove to be an impediment for government for its planned dialogue with opposition parties. Chanie added that Dr. Merera immensely contributed for what he called “democratic system” in Ethiopia. Noting the point that Dr. Merera is a respected figure and symbol among the Oromos, Chanie added that Merera’s arrest begs skepticism whether the government indeed has plans to have dialogue with the opposition parties in the country.
All Ethiopian Unity Party president, Dr Bezabih Demissie, said that he has known Dr. Merera for a long time now and known him as a person who believes in peaceful struggle and strongly opposes “terrorism.” He reminded the ruling party that Merera attended the European Parliament meeting at the invitation of European parliament not at the invitation of entities that the government of Ethiopia considers as “terrorists.”
“Government need to take into consideration that Merera is someone who believes in peaceful struggle, I think government knows this, should respond to his situation and respect the freedom of Dr. Merera,” Dr. Bezabih advised the government.
Former Ethiopian Member of parliament and Pan-African parliament vice-president, Dr. Ashebir Woldegiorgis, said that Dr. Merera is well respected among Ethiopians, and by government, and believes in peaceful struggle. He stressed the need to work hard on securing a political solution.
But the question that will arise among many Ethiopians is that Dr. Merera was not arrested in a situation where due process of law was observed. After arrest, Dr. Merera is reportedly severely beaten while under the custody of security forces of the regime.
Dr. Merera is leader of Oromo Federalist Congress party – one of the major legally registered opposition parties in the country. In terms of political conviction, he believes in ethnic federalism and opposes radical secessionist etho-nationalism – apparently on grounds that it is not pragmatic in view of many factors – geographical,social,cultural and economic- among others. Unlike the radical groups, he does not dwell much on historical revision – that serve a radical ethno-natioalist agenda and does not believe in historical determinism.