Ethiopia is preparing to hold its postponed election due to the pandemic from tomorrow, June 21st, until September, despite conflict and a lack of interest among some voters for various reasons. This comes as Ethiopians celebrate St. Michael’s Day by praying for peaceful elections in their country.
What did Shimelis Yohannes say?
Shimelis Yohannes is a civil servant in Ethiopia’s capital. He decided to register for tomorrow’s election after some deep consideration since he saw no reason as to why he should not participate in the general elections.
“I do not think my vote will change anything or decide the future direction of Ethiopia, but at least I can tell myself I tried my best.”
What does Bruk Gemechu say?
Bruk is a private sector professional and, unlike Shimeli Yohannes, Gemechu will abstain from the process. According to private-sector professionals, the Oromia region, Ethiopia’s largest, lacks credible opposition parties to compete with PM Abiy Ahmed’s Prosperity Party (PP), following the boycott of the elections by the two most popular ethnic Oromo political parties, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC). The parties claim that the elections are illegitimate because they are unable to compete while high-profile leaders and party members are in prison and other members suffer physical violence.
What does the analyst say about the election?
According to an analyst in Addis Ababa who didn’t want to be identified due to the tense political environment, the elections will take place amid rising COVID-19 cases and locust invasions, as well as an economy in shambles and conflict in the Tigray region, which has left the region completely humanitarian-aid dependent.
The analyst said:
“The Ethiopian military, which was supposed to be tasked with moving electoral materials, is held up in the Tigray conflict and in fighting simmering insurgencies in various regions of the Oromia and Benishangul-Gumuz regional states. I see it as inconceivable PP gaining electoral legitimacy from the elections at this moment.”
Recognizing the security and logistical challenges that various parts of Ethiopia face, the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) announced earlier this month that voting won’t take place in nearly one-fifth of the country’s five hundred and forty-seven polling constituencies.
The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia has stated that voting in constituencies that aren’t participating next week will take place on September 6th but has currently excluded Tigray, which has more than 30 seats, indefinitely.
According to the analyst, only one constituency is represented in the elections: the Amhara region and the urban elites.
What is the Prime Minister saying?
“The whole world is saying we will combat. However, we will demonstrate otherwise. ” Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, told his supporters in the town of Jimma.
Abiy Ahmed further says that:
“I say to all Ethiopians engaged in the struggle to ensure a democratic, peaceful and prosperous Ethiopia,” added Abiy Ahmed, who earlier in June had accused traitors and outsiders of working to undermine the state.