EINEPS is pleased to introduce to the Ethiopian public a “Citizens’ Charter for Ethiopian Democracy” which articulates this pan-Ethiopian vision. The Citizens’ Charter embodies what binds all Ethiopians and thereby affirms the primacy of Ethiopian identity in a manner which makes it possible to embrace diverse cultural identities.
The Citizens’ Charter is a nonpartisan declaration of founding principles that seeks to articulate a shared vision for a postsocialist, postethnic polity that defines a cosmopolitan Ethiopia.
It serves as a platform and national conscience for an alliance of engaged citizens, civic organizations and political parties to bring to fruition the fervent desire for national unity, territorial integrity and self-governing local communities in a democratic Ethiopia.
It relies on the power of reason and conscience to launch a worldwide civic and political movement that is dedicated to the respect and protection, by government and citizens alike, of the universally accepted human, civil, cultural and political rights of all Ethiopians.
It upholds the fundamental values of dignity of and respect for the individual, service to community and appreciation of cultural diversity—all of which are among the hallmarks of the Ethiopian spirit and Ethiopian civilization that the present generation can build on.
We seek to elevate civic activism as the most reliable guarantor of freedom from autocratic politicians and a predatory State. In so doing, it rings the wake-up call for Ethiopian citizens to take up the common cause of fighting for the full realization of individual liberty as their birthright, and honoring with conviction the duties that are inherently bundled with such rights.
It issues a clarion call to all self-respecting Ethiopians to discard for good the outmoded political culture of master and servant (Gezhi’na Tegezhi.)and usher in a new culture of rights and responsibilities (Mebitna Gideta). This inevitably means that our political discourse shall henceforth be honest and citizen-centered, and our leaders shall be judged by their demonstrated commitment to public service and accountability.
This Citizens’ Charter is, therefore, intended as an inspiration for Ethiopians of all walks of life to assert the sovereignty of the citizen through tenacious collective action for an inclusive democratic government (Hul-aqef Hizbawi Mengist). It is in this spirit that we ask all democratic Ethiopian political parties and civic organizations to publicly endorse and incorporate the basic tenets outlined in this Charter in their manifestos and programs.