Stop Appeasing Ethiopia’s Planned Fraudulent Election
26 February 2010
The consequences of the 2005 national elections in Ethiopia, particularly its aftermath are still fresh in the minds of the Ethiopian people. Hundreds of Ethiopians were killed; tens of thousands were imprisoned, including journalists of the independent press and the entire leadership of the opposition that defeated Zenawi’s party. Nearly five years after the election, the whereabouts of hundreds of Ethiopians still remains unknown. In spite of testimonies of widespread irregularities and fraud by election observers, reactions from donor countries have either been muted or non- existent directly resulting in emboldening the dictatorship to continue with its unmitigated violation of human rights in Ethiopia. The deafening silence of donor nations and the double standards they followed relative to similar cases in Africa is a disgrace of historic proportion.
Yet again, Zenawi’s regime is preparing for another farcical election. This time the regime has learnt its lessons, and has determined to stifle any political movement that remotely resembles the democratic process of the 2005 electron. In the last five years, the regime has heavily relied on donor support to build and legalize a system that condemns any kind of democratic process that threatens its power. The TPLF regime has gone to the extent of politicizing food aid to the advantage of the ruling party. Between 2005 2010, Zenawi’s regime has enacted three draconian laws to make sure that there will be no political space for opposition parties. The Charities and Societies law that literally kills civic societies in Ethiopia, the Anti-Terrorism Law that sends dissenters to jail and the Media Law that stifles the free expression of ideas are three of the laws that closed the once narrowly opened democratic process. Moreover, recently, in its last minute clean up effort; the regime has even made laws on how international election observers should behave and report the election.
Ginbot 7, Movement for Justice, Freedom and Democracy believes that, currently, even rudimentary grounds for a free and fair election do not exist in Ethiopia. The planned election is nothing, but a serious mockery of democracy and an insult to anyone who understands the basics of a democratic election. The Election Board, the security forces, the police and the national army have fallen under the exclusive leadership of Meles Zenawi’s ethnic group. As a result, opposition groups in the country are walking on the precipice every day. Their candidates are harassed and imprisoned; and they are not allowed to hold public meetings, demonstrations, or address their constituents.
Zenawi’s regime is in the election business only for the blessing of the international community and its continued financial support. By now, it is clear that the only reason the regime refused to invite the two credible election observation organizations from the United States [the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (RNI)], is an indication that the regime is looking for accomplices that would whitewash its fraudulent actions.
Ginbot 7 Movement for Justice, Freedom and Democracy believes that this unmitigated support by the donors to Meles Zenawi is a recipe for growing instability in Ethiopia and in the region at large. More and more Ethiopians are feeling marginalized and resenting the barbarism of the regime and deciding to secure their freedom by all means necessary.
As a movement of justice, Freedom and democracy in Ethiopia, we urge supporters of the regime, particularly, donor countries and democratic institutions around the world to review political conditions in Ethiopia and make an informed decision whether Ethiopia is ready to hold democratic election that deserves international observation. We strongly believe that the decision of the Carter Center not to send election observers is based on this understanding. The European Union whose Election Observation Mission was degraded ridiculed by Zenawi’s regime for simply stating the truth of the 2005 election. Ginbot 7 believes that it would be a huge and humiliating mistake if EU decides to involve itself in observing the current election where the fraud has already progressed beyond repair before any votes are cast. All in all, providing a cover and legitimacy for this farcical election in any form is tantamount to supporting the on going human rights abuse and ethnic discrimination in Ethiopia.
Once more, we appeal to all community of nations, donor countries and international institutions who stand for peace, freedom and democracy to speak out and denounce the crimes being committed against the Ethiopian people and stop supporting a criminal regime that, if not stopped, will be a major source of instability and human suffering not only in Ethiopia but also in the larger Horn of Africa Region.
Ginbot 7 Movement for Justice, Freedom and Democracy
Tel +44 208 133 5670
Tel +44 203 286 9661