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Ethiopians choose to vote in the middle of the conflict and indifference | Election Issues

After thinking about it, Shimelis Yohannes * decided to register to vote in the late Ethiopia all elections scheduled for Monday.

“I took the voting card because it’s better than ignoring the election,” said Addis Ababa, a central government official. But, he added, adding that he had no idea about the votes covered by the conflict in the northern Tigray region, the other instability and the general disregard for the people.

“I don’t think my vote will change anything or choose the way forward for Ethiopia, but I can tell myself that I have tried my best,” said Yohannes, who supports the opposition party.

Bruk Gemechu, a resident of Shashemene, who lives in Shashemene, about 250 miles southeast of Addis Ababa, is said to be among the 38 million registered voters to cast his ballot around the world.

A private expert says his Oromia constituency, the largest in Ethiopia, has no opposition parties to the Prime Minister’s Prismerity Party (PP) after two prominent Oromo parties – the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) – elected boycott of elections. Opposition parties have stated they will not run in the by-elections, but will not run in the by-elections.

“PP officials were forcing people at risk to get their voter registration cards and now they are threatening to punish them if they vote for the few candidates,” Gemechu said.

Staff at the National Electoral Board have told people how to vote in the upcoming elections [Amanuel Sileshi/AFP]

Young people from the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia Oromos, who make up 35% of the estimated 110 million people across the country, were ahead of a two-and-a-half-year anti-government coup that brought Abiy to power in April 2018.

However, Abiy began to oppose many of the Oromo youth leaders. A number of OFC senior members, including Jawar Mohammed and Bekele Gerba, have been remanded in custody pending criminal charges in connection with the recent killings of Oromo singer and activist Hachalu Hundessa.

The PP, however, insists the election will be free and fair – a history in Ethiopia. Monday’s poll will be the sixth since the fall of the Communist government Haeng Mariam in 1991. The last five competitions – all won by the four-party Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front – were marred by false and misleading allegations.

“The ruling party is ready for democracy … and the people are very interested,” said Bikila Wolde of the PP. “While these opportunities exist, the consequences are obvious, because Ethiopia has a long-standing political system, known for dictatorial regimes. Politics and development are not available in this country.”

While the ruling party is voting for a vote – originally scheduled for 2020 but changed first due to the coronavirus epidemic and then the current crisis – as an opportunity to reduce political heat, some fear it may affect it.

An Addis Ababa investigator, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the election would take place in the wake of the serious COVID-19 crimes and locusts, as well as “the economic crisis and conflict in the Tigray region has left the region dependent on human resources”.

The seven-month war in Tigray is said to have killed thousands, if not more, and displaced some two million people, with the United Nations warning this week that 350,000 are suffering from hunger.

“Ethiopian troops who were supposed to be provided with the weapons to carry out the election were arrested during the Tigray conflict and in fighting insurgents in various parts of the Oromia and Benishangul-Gumuz provinces,” the expert said. “I see it as an amazing PP party that is approved for voting right now.”

Recognizing the security and logistical challenges facing various constituencies in Ethiopia, the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) announced earlier this month that voting does not take place in approximately one-fifth of 547 per cent of Ethiopia.

NEBE says voting in non-participating areas next week will take place on September 6, but Tigray – with 38 seats – has been removed so far.

“I see only one section represented; those are the people of the town and the Amhara region, “he said.

With the PP leading the way in a landslide victory, it is expected to face a major election crisis in Addis Ababa and the Amhara region, Ethiopia’s second-largest country.

Meanwhile, a number of protesters have publicly stated that their support is based on fairness.

In 2005, armed militiamen who took to the streets of Addis Ababa to protest against the election left nearly 200 protesters dead, as well as six police officers.

Both Yohannes and the observer shared concerns over possible post-election violence in two constituencies, but Abiy at his last meeting on Wednesday predicted that the election would be peaceful.

“The whole world says we will fight but we will show them differently,” Abiy told his supporters in Jimma town. “I speak to all Ethiopians [engaged] in the fight for a peaceful, democratic and prosperous country in Ethiopia, “added the Prime Minister, who earlier in June had denounced” terrorists “and” foreigners “for trying to destroy Ethiopia.

Police in Addis Ababa wearing military uniforms take part in demonstrations to show off their new uniforms [Baz Ratner/Reuters]

On Saturday, just 48 hours before the polls opened, police in central Addis Ababa took part in a rally in which officials show off their new police uniforms.

To the observer, although fears of post-election violence are unlikely, the near future of Ethiopia after the election will not be optimistic.

“I do not see a decision to change the security system that is being destroyed and not to be pressured by other countries,” the expert said.

“I see the Tigray military tensions between the rebels and the Ethiopian army – with the help of Eritrea and neighboring Amhara regions – continue as aid continues, and it is frustrating for Oromo youth to continue joining the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA). rebel group, ”he added.

“Terrorists deployed in the West (related to the Tigray war) need to be increased, which could affect the economy before it reaches the authorities.”

* Names have been changed to protect their name

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