Thursday, June 25, 2015

Obama's plan to visit Ethiopia criticised as 'gift' for repressive government | World news | The Guardian

 Barack Obama during a to Wajir in Kenya, close to the Ethiopian border, before he was elected US president in 2008.Barack Obama during a to Wajir in Kenya, close to the Ethiopian border, before he was elected US president in 2008. Photograph: Stringer/AFP/Getty Images
Barack Obama’s decision to visit Ethiopia has shocked human rights activists, who say the visit sends the wrong message to a repressive government widely accused of clamping down on dissent.
A White House statement said Obama will visit the east African country for meetings with government officials as part of his last African trip as president. As well as meeting the leadership of the African Union, the visit will form part of US efforts to strengthen economic growth, democratic institutions and improve security in the region.
But as activists and social media users have been making clear, Ethiopia’s track record on human rights and democracy is deeply troubling.
In its 2014 report, Human Rights Watch noted that Ethiopia increasingly clamps down on the freedoms of its citizens “using repressive laws to constrain civil society and independent media, and target individuals with politically motivated prosecutions”.
Last month, Ethiopians voted in parliamentary elections which were widely denounced as unfair. Though the African Union declared that the vote was peaceful, they fell short of using the words “free and fair”.
While the US state department has expressed concerns about restrictions on civil society, media, opposition parties, and independent voices, Ethiopia remains a significant recipient of foreign aid money and security support.
On Twitter Hannah McNeish, a freelance journalist , juxtaposed last month’s suspicious elections results with the White House’s decision to honour Ethiopia with an official visit:

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Ethiopia election: EPRDF wins every seat in parliament - BBC News

A woman looks at the election paper before voting in Addis Ababa.
Ethiopia's electoral commission says there was a high voter turnout

Ethiopia's ruling party, the EPRDF, and its allies have won every single parliamentary seat in May's elections, according to official results.
This includes the one seat held by an opposition politician following the 2010 poll.
Election commission chairman Merga Bekana made the announcement saying the elections were credible and free and fair.
Opposition parties have said that the process was rigged.
African Union observers described the 24 May vote as "calm, peaceful and credible" and that "it provided an opportunity for the Ethiopian people to express their choices at the polls".

The opposition have complained the poll was rigged but the AU says the process was credible

Beyane Petros, the leader of Medrek, one of the main opposition coalitions, said last month that there was no election to speak of as it was not conducted in a fair way, according to the Horn Affairs website.
Medrek has said that hundreds of its members and supporters have been arrested and beaten in recent months, according to an opposition website.
The EPRDF has been in power since the overthrow of the military government in 1991.
In 2005 official results said the opposition won more than 150 seats, but the opposition claimed the figure was much higher.
More than 190 people were killed as protesters clashed with police in the wake of the announcement of those results, an independent report found.
The government says the number was much lower.
In the two elections since then the EPRDF has dominated the parliamen

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ethiopian Opposition Party: Candidate's Murder Was Politically Motivated


An Ethiopian opposition party said on Wednesday that one of its candidates, who took part in last month's elections, was beaten to death in a "brazen attack" it believes was politically motivated.
A government spokesman denied that Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn's government was involved in any way.
The Horn of Africa country has won plaudits for delivering growth for much of the past decade, but rights groups often accuse the government, which has won every seat announced so far in the May election, of clamping down on dissent.
Samuel Awoke, a Semayawi Party candidate in the north-central Amhara Region at the May 24 vote, was attacked on Monday evening in Debre Markos, less than 300 km (190 miles) north of the capital Addis Ababa, party chairman Yilekal Getinet said.
"His attackers approached him at 7:30 in the evening and beat him to death, right in the middle of the street on his way home," Yilekal told Reuters.
"It was a brazen attack carried out on an individual who was critical of the government and who was a victim of a previous assault on election day. This was not some petty crime - it must have been politically motivated," he said.
A second government official confirmed the incident but rejected claims of political foulplay, saying Samuel - a lawyer - was attacked by a client aggrieved over his handling in court of a dispute over land.
"The attacker is in custody while another individual is being investigated," the government spokesman, Shimeles Kemal, told Reuters. "There was nothing political about it."
The ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front coalition swept all 442 seats announced so far, out of a total 547. The opposition held a sole seat during the last term.
Critics and the opposition say the government has quashed dissent, jailed bloggers and journalists for their views and may have rigged elections. The government denies the charges, saying it guarantees free speech and conducts fair elections.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Ethiopian opposition rejects the results of parliamentary elections | Diplomat News Network

Ethiopian Electoral Board employees work at a polling station in Addis Ababa on May 24,2015

Ethiopian Electoral Board employees work at a polling station in Addis Ababa on May 24,2015
Addis Ababa (Sudantribune + DIPLOMAT.SO) – One of Ethiopia’s main opposition, Semeyawi (Blue) party rejected both the election process and the preliminary results issued on Wednesday from Sunday’s parliamentary election.
“The Blue Party does not accept the process as free and fair and does not accept the outcome of unhealthy and undemocratic elections,” the opposition party said in a statement it issued on Friday.
Partial results announced by the country’s National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) showed that the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) party and its allied regional political organizations have so far won 442 seats declared out of the 547-seat parliament.
“This 100 percent win by the regime is a message of disgrace,” stressed the statement, adding that the sweeping victory was an indication that a “multi-party system is over in Ethiopia”.
The youngest Ethiopian political force which participated at national elections for the first time, accused the ruling party of using authoritarian tactics to guarantee victory.
The Blue Party’s spokesperson, Yonatan Tesfaye said that candidates were denied for registration and some others were illegally cancelled by the Election Board after they were registered.
Tesfaye claimed that some 200 party candidates were denied the right to stand for parliament and 52 party members and many other supporters were arrested in the run-up to the polls.
“The security forces and cadres of EPRDF continued in harassing, beating, arresting and some cases killing candidates and potential observers of opposition parties without any valid reasons and the order of courts,” he said.
“We don’t think there is an independent justice system to deal with our complaints. We’ll continue our peaceful struggle,” the spokesperson concluded.