Unity for Democracy and Justice

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The Unity for Democracy and Justice is an Ethiopian political party established on 20 June 2008 to contest the 2010 elections. It is mostly based on the parties which constituted the Coalition for Unity and Democracy.[1] The party's leader is Birtukan Midekssa. It is a major component in the eight-party Medrek coalition, which was the largest opposition in the 2010 election.[2]

Description[edit]

The Unity for Democracy and Justice Party (UDJP), commonly known as Andenet, (Amharic for Unity) is an Ethiopian national opposition political party established by former leaders and members of CUD (Coalition for Unity and Democracy) Party. Andenet is a short form of UDJP's Amharic name (Andenet ledemocracy ena lefitih).[3] Having been formed by a significant number of former CUD leaders and members as well as adopting CUD's manifesto and bylaws, UDJP is arguably considered as a direct descendant of CUD. With its broad official presence[4] in Ethiopia and abroad, UDJP is arguably considered to be the strongest political opposition party that can challenge the incumbent EPRDF party if there is to be free and fair Ethiopian election in the upcoming 2010. UDJP is chaired by Birtukan Midekssa. Dr. Yakob Hailemariam is its vice chairman who were both the prominent CUD leaders who have been detained and sentenced life in prison and later controversially "pardoned" by the Ethiopian government. Birtukan Midekssa is now imprisoned for the reason that she publicly challenged the conditions and terms of their release from prison, which "she trespassed the law (as per Ethiopian prime minister Meles Zenawi)".[5] These move by Ethiopian government was considered by many and Ethiopian political opposition parties as a way forward to block fair and free election and democratic process by Ethiopian government.

Current performances[edit]

UDJP was formed with 42 parliament members and the representatives of former CUD leaders and members on June 17, 2008. Support organizations abroad as well as members representing woredas in Ethiopia were also in attendance. This meeting was supposed to be held at imperial hotel on June 13, 2008 had it not been postponed due to government permit problems. The meeting was later held in the compound of the party in a tent. Out of 105 nominated representatives, 60 permanent and 15 temporary central committee members were elected after 6 hours of discussion. The same meeting elected the party's executives (18 out of which 6 are top executives) as

  1. chairwoman- Birtukan Midekssa. The first Ethiopian woman to lead a political party is not Ms. Birtukan Midekssa,at all, but Ms.Yeharerwerk Gashaw, the founder of Ethiopian Women For Peace And Democracy in 1986 and is now the president of Ethiopian National Government In Exile based in the United States.[6]

The UDJP was formed on June 17, 2008 therefor, Ms. Midekssa is not the first Ethiopian woman political party leader. At its meeting held on 15 December 2009, the newly strengthened National Executive Committee of UDJ made the following assignments and reassignments of duties within itself:

  1. Judge Wzt. Birtukan Mideksa – Chairperson
  2. Engineer Gizachew Shiferaw – Deputy Chairperson (formerly Deputy Chairperson and Head of Organizational Affairs
  3. Dr. Hailu Araaya – Deputy Chairperson and Head of Study and Research
  4. Dr. Negaso Gidada – Deputy Chairperson and Head of Foreign Affairs

5. Ato Siyye Abraha – Deputy Chairperson and Head of Public Relations
6. Ato Asrat Tasie – Head of Organizational Affairs
7. Ato Andualem Aragie – General Secretary
8. Ato Haileyesus Mekonnen – Deputy Head of Organizational Affairs
9. Ato Shimelis Habte – Deputy Head of Public Relations

On the same day, the bylaws and manifesto of the party adopted from its predecessor, CUD, was reviewed and adopted. Following this meeting, the required supporters’ signatures (four to 5 times more than the 1500 requirement), byways, logo, program and the name of the party among with other documents were submitted to national electoral board of Ethiopia (NEBE) for permit and registration. After three reviews by NEBE and the corresponding amendments and explanation by UDJP, among the points raised were party's name and logo, the chairwoman has obtained the registration certificate of the party.[7]

UDJP has support organisations in all continents. It has opened 34 offices in Ethiopian regions of Amhara, Oromia, Southern state, Afar, Harari and Addis Ababa.

UDJP held its first public meeting on electric meeting hall, Mexico, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with more than 5000 people in attendance. on. It has declared in its plan of opening 117 offices and recruiting 60,000 full members in Ethiopia. It has claimed that it will have more than two million supporters running at annual budget of more than 900,000 dollars in year 2008–2009.[8]

Current Ideology[edit]

Constitutional reform -constitution of a long-term validity with which consecutive governments need not tamper.

-The right for self-determination up to secession is in the interest of Revolutionary Democracy and not in favour of citizens who would wish to see all their interests and attitudes fully accommodated. The Article shall be amended in which citizens shall see their rights respected as individuals or groups. -to provide for private, public and communal ownership and for the sale and purchase of land. -federal regions shall be set up on criteria accommodating the various interest, wishes attitudes of the people. The federal regions shall therefore be organized on a criterion which takes into account the people’s will historical and cultural links, language, settlement pattern, geographical location, developmental viability and administrative efficiency. -the city council of Addis Ababa shall be clearly accountable to the House of the Federation. -Legislative power shall be applied in ways which help accommodate the interests, heeds and attitudes of the people and shall be effective enough to ensure non-incursion by the executive power as well as ensure that the media, Electoral Broad and the Civil Service Commission are accountable to Parliament. -the principle of the vote of confidence to guard against the abuse of power by the executive. - the house of federation would have the same legislative powers as does the House of Peoples’ Representatives. If the House of the federation has legislative power, it cannot have the power to interpret the Constitution because, if there is no other means of control and defence system, it is possible that it could legislate laws that could be against the Constitution.

-the President would have the power to serve as the symbol of the unity of the people resolve conflicts and coordinate humanitarian activities with neutrality. - there will be a provision limiting the term of office of the Prime Minister to two terms. -the duties and responsibilities of the Council of Ministers will be improved so that they will not infringe upon the powers of the legislative and judiciary bodies. The Council of Ministers will be improved to enable it to have the power to call a vote of confidence on the Prime Minister. -guarantee the powers of the legislative body and to prevent the executive bodies from infringing in the affairs of the judicial bodies. - the activities of defence forces and police will be improved in such a way that when the provision is implemented, human and democratic rights of citizens are not violated. - The provisions on the establishment National Electoral Board and the appointment of its members will be improved to guarantee the neutrality and independence of The Board.

Bringing Economic Rehabilitation

-private, community a government land ownership -interrelated agricultural and industrial developments -12 years of elementary and high school education - Infrastructural development - Preventive health care with focus on HIV/AIDS

Foreign relations

- Reinstating Ethiopia's right to port - building a mutual beneficial use of international rivers and boundary demarcation

Governance

-bicameral parliament with directly elected president -federal government comprising regional states formed on geography, culture and identity -freedom of religion, speech and respect of human right -free media, election board and public service [9]

References[edit]