Archives for;

Shadow Puppet

Birtukan Mideksa embattled Ethiopian Party Leader “Forced Exile ” ?

 

ThumbnailETV Visit to Kalite Federal Prison – Meet Birtukan Mideksa

The Ethiopian opposition leader Birtukan Mideksa who was imprisoned for life  two times in post election riot   of 2005, and liberated two times with with so called   “dictatorial amnesty”  after recognizing the so called  ” crime committed “against the irredentist regime.

She was recently pushed to step down from the leadership of her party, Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) Party. This was done first   in a pretext to take care of her immediate family and now to pursue higher education in the US. We are hopping the truth will finally come to light once in the US. And the whole world will know the veracity about the dictatorial regime of Melese Zenawie behavior. Birtukan is not the only one after   so called «dictatorial pardon» who has been forced to exile.

ThumbnailBirtukan Mideksa Pardoned Again(English news).wmv

Thumbnail

ThumbnailThumbnail

Birtukan was scheduled to leave for the US on Saturday, March 19, 2011, accompanied by her daughter. She is expected to arrive first in San Francisco, California, where she has relatives, sources told Fortune.

Birtukan will head off for Maryland after spending three weeks in San Francisco, where she is expected to spend the next two to three years pursuing higher education there. In a statement she released on Friday, Birtukan asserted that she is not bowing out of politics.

“To believe that Birtukan would abandon her struggle towards building a free democracy is unthinkable,” the statement read. It was also learnt that Yilma Yifru would be mediating between the two factions that emerged within the party during her 21 months in jail.

 

ICC proved double standard & impartial, accused 6 Kenyans let Ethiopian electoral genocidal killers Run free…

Luis Moreno-Ocampo the prosecutor of ICC International Criminal Court  Charges Six Kenyan of murder, forced evictions, rape, torture and persecution. He confirmed that their actions, in more than 1,100 people being killed, 3,500 injured and more than 600,000 being displaced from their homes as far back as December 2006.  This was one year after the Ethiopian election massacre committed by Melese Zenawie’s forces but still not charged, ICC plays double standard when it comes to Ethiopia either in election or in genocide. The Ethiopian dictator has been in power for two decades by dumping votes and killing the innocent. In 2005 election the Ethiopian dictator killed 197 innocent demonstrators and jailed thousands after losing the election. He still reigns with terror and killing. He even started moving over a million inhabitants of three regions of Gambella, Ogaden and Benishengul since the inhabitants did not vote  in the last election in favor of  the dictator. For such Stalinian type mass forced inhuman deportation, the    pretext is  better services and development projects. The same method was used by the totalitarian regime of the fallen communist strong man Mengistue Haile Mariamin 1980’s.  The ecomical reason for today’s mass forced displacement in large scale is to sell their land for the international grabbers.  The Ethiopian electoral killer  Melese Zenawie stand accused of  Annuak genocide by international genocide watch  to this day , but still waiting  international arrest warrant from  Mr. Luis Moreno-Ocampo, who plays a double standard by favoring the Ethiopian killer. The Kenyan and Ethiopians blood is one and the same why to differentiate ? Such a double standard   destroys the image of such a great court of justice. The court has been accused in the past for its double standard when it comes to war crimes , but it is the first time when it comes to electoral killing in the  continent of Africa. Such impartiality made ICC  lose it’s  credibility and power vis a vis the rug dictators of  Africa.

Statement by ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on Kenya

ICC-CPI-20101214-PR614

As you know, tomorrow I will file two applications for summonses to appear for six individuals we believe are the most responsible for the post-election violence.

I believe summonses are sufficient to ensure the appearance of all six suspects. But as ICC Prosecutor, I am requesting that clear conditions be imposed on them, namely:

  • To frequently update the Court on all their personal contact details and whereabouts;
  • Not to make any personal contact with any of the other suspects, unless through their legal counsel to prepare their defence;
  • Not to approach any perceived victims or witnesses of crimes;
  • Not to attempt to influence or interfere with witness testimony;
  • Not to tamper with evidence or hinder the investigation;
  • Not to commit new crimes.

In addition, they must respond to all requests by ICC judges; they must attend all hearings when required, and post bond if the judges so instruct them.

These conditions are strict. They are in accordance with the Rome Statute and ICC rules.

Let me be clear.

If the suspects do not comply with the conditions set by the Chamber, I will request arrest warrants.

If there is any indication of bribes, intimidation or threats, I will request arrest warrants.

I expect the suspects to indicate to the Chamber shortly their intention to surrender voluntarily.

Statement by ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on Kenya

ICC-CPI-20101214-PR614

As you know, tomorrow I will file two applications for summonses to appear for six individuals we believe are the most responsible for the post-election violence.

I believe summonses are sufficient to ensure the appearance of all six suspects. But as ICC Prosecutor, I am requesting that clear conditions be imposed on them, namely:

  • To frequently update the Court on all their personal contact details and whereabouts;
  • Not to make any personal contact with any of the other suspects, unless through their legal counsel to prepare their defence;
  • Not to approach any perceived victims or witnesses of crimes;
  • Not to attempt to influence or interfere with witness testimony;
  • Not to tamper with evidence or hinder the investigation;
  • Not to commit new crimes.

In addition, they must respond to all requests by ICC judges; they must attend all hearings when required, and post bond if the judges so instruct them.

These conditions are strict. They are in accordance with the Rome Statute and ICC rules.

Let me be clear.

If the suspects do not comply with the conditions set by the Chamber, I will request arrest warrants.

If there is any indication of bribes, intimidation or threats, I will request arrest warrants.

I expect the suspects to indicate to the Chamber shortly their intention to surrender voluntarily.

Source: Office of the Prosecutor

Kenya’s post election violence: ICC Prosecutor presents cases against six individuals for crimes against humanity

ICC-OTP-20101215-PR615

ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo today requested the International Criminal Court to issue summonses to appear against six Kenyan citizens to face justice for massive crimes committed during the post-election violence (PEV) in Kenya.

The Prosecutor has concluded there are reasonable grounds to believe crimes against humanity were committed, in the first Prosecution case, by:

1. William Samoei Ruto – currently: Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology (suspended), MP for Eldoret North and during the PEV, MP for Eldoret North. The Prosecution considers that he was one of the principal planners and organizers of crimes against PNU supporters;

2. Henry Kiprono Kosgey – currently: Minister of Industrialization, MP for Tinderet Constituency, ODM Chairman and during the PEV: MP for Tinderet. The Prosecution considers that he was one of the principal planners and organizers of crimes against PNU supporters; and

3. Joshua Arap Sang – currently Head of Operations, KASS FM and during the PEV: Radio broadcaster. The Prosecution considers that he was one of the principal planners and organizers of crimes against PNU supporters.

And in the second Prosecution case, by:

4. Francis Kirimi Muthaura – during the PEV and to date: Head of the Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet and Chairman of the National Security Advisory Committee. The Prosecution considers that he authorized the Police to use excessive force against ODM supporters and to facilitate attacks against ODM supporters.

5. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta – currently: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. The Prosecution considers that during the PEV he helped to mobilize the Mungiki criminal organization to attack ODM supporters; and

6. Mohamed Hussein Ali – currently: Chief Executive of the Postal Corporation of Kenya and during the PEV he was Commissioner of the Kenya Police. The Prosecution considers that during the PEV he authorized the use of excessive force against ODM supporters and facilitated attacks against ODM supporters.

“The post election period of 2007-2008 was one of the most violent periods of the nation’s history,” said the Prosecutor.

The post election attacks left more than 1, 100 people dead, 3,500 injured and up to 600, 000 forcibly displaced. During 60 days of violence, there were hundreds of rapes, possibly more, and over 100, 000 properties were destroyed in six of Kenya’s eight provinces.

“These were not just crimes against innocent Kenyans”, said Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo. “They were crimes against humanity as a whole. By breaking the cycle of impunity for massive crimes, victims and their families can have justice. And Kenyans can pave the way to peaceful elections in 2012.”

The judges of Pre-Trial Chamber II will now review the evidence. If they determine that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the six persons named committed the alleged crimes, they will decide on the most appropriate way to ensure their appearance in Court. The Prosecution has requested Summonses to Appear.

15.12.2010 – Prosecutor’s Application Pursuant to Article 58 as to William Samoei Ruto, Henry Kiprono Kosgey and Joshua Arap Sang

15.12.2010 – Prosecutor’s Application Pursuant to Article 58 as to Francis Kirimi Muthaura, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and Mohammed Hussein Ali

Summary of the Application

1. As early as December 2006, WILLIAM SAMOEI RUTO (“RUTO”) and HENRY KIPRONO KOSGEY (“KOSGEY”), prominent leaders of the Orange Democratic Movement (“ODM”) political party, began preparing a criminal plan to attack those identified as supporters of the Party of National Unity (“PNU”).[1]JOSHUA ARAP SANG (“SANG”), a prominent ODM supporter, was a crucial part of the plan, using his radio program to collect supporters and provide signals to members of the plan on when and where to attack. RUTO, KOSGEY and SANG coordinated a series of actors and institutions to establish a network, using it to implement an organizational policy to commit crimes. Their two goals were: (1) gain power in the Rift Valley Province, (“Rift Valley”) and in Kenya Central Government, (2) punish and expel from the Rift Valley those perceived to support PNU (collectively referred to as “PNU supporters”).

2. Kenyans voted in the presidential election on 27 December 2007. On 30 December 2007, the Electoral Commission of Kenya declared that Mwai Kibaki, presidential candidate for the PNU had won the election. The announcement triggered one of the most violent periods in Kenya’s history. The Prosecution will present some of the incidents, identifying those who are most responsible.

3. Thousands of members of the network (“perpetrators”) cultivated by RUTO, KOSGEY and SANG began to execute their plan by attacking PNU supporters immediately after the announcement of the presidential election results on 30 December 2007. On 30-31 December 2007, they began attacks in target locations including Turbo town, the greater Eldoret area (Huruma, Kimumu, Langas, and Yamumbi), Kapsabet town, and Nandi Hills town. They approached each location from all directions, burning down PNU supporters’ homes and businesses, killing civilians, and systematically driving them from their homes. On 1 January 2008, the church located on the Kiambaa farm cooperative was attacked and burned with more than hundred people inside. At least 17 people died. The brunt of the attacks continued into the first week of January 2008.

4. All identified attacks occurred in a uniform fashion. Perpetrators gathered at designated meeting points outside of locations selected for attack. There, they met Coordinators, who organized the perpetrators into groups with assigned tasks. Perpetrators then attacked target locations. Some perpetrators approached on foot, while others were driven or in trucks, previously arranged. SANG helped coordinate the attacks using coded language disseminated through radio broadcasts.

5. In response to RUTO, KOSGEY and SANG’s planned attacks on PNU supporters, as well as to deal with protests organized by the ODM, prominent PNU members and/or Government of Kenya officials Francis Kirimi MUTHAURA (“MUTHAURA”), Uhuru Muigai KENYATTA (“KENYATTA”), and Mohammed Hussein ALI (“ALI”) developed and executed a plan to attack perceived ODM supporters in order to keep the PNU in power.

6. First, under the authority of the National Security Advisory Committee, of which MUTHAURA and ALI were Chairman and a member, respectively, the Kenya Police in joint operations with the Administration Police (“Kenyan Police Forces”) were deployed into ODM strongholds where they used excessive force against civilian protesters in Kisumu (Kisumu District, Nyanza Province) and in Kibera (Kibera Division, Nairobi Province). As a consequence, between the end of December 2007 and the middle of January 2008, the Kenyan Police Forces indiscriminately shot at and killed more than a hundred ODM supporters in Kisumu and Kibera.

7. Second, MUTHAURA, KENYATTA and ALI also developed a different tactic to retaliate against the attacks on PNU supporters. On or about 3 January 2008, KENYATTA, as the focal point between the PNU and the criminal organization the Mungiki, facilitated a meeting with MUTHAURA, a senior Government of Kenya official, and Mungiki leaders to organize retaliatory attacks against civilian supporters of the ODM. Thereafter, MUTHAURA, in his capacity as Chairman of the National Security Advisory Committee (“NSAC”), telephoned ALI, his subordinate as head of the Kenya Police, and instructed ALI not to interfere with the movement of pro-PNU youth, including the Mungiki. KENYATTA additionally instructed the Mungiki leaders to attend a second meeting on the same day to finalize logistical and financial arrangements for the retaliatory attacks.

8. As a consequence, the Mungiki and pro-PNU youth attacked ODM civilian supporters in Nakuru (Nakuru District, Rift Valley Province) and Naivasha (Naivasha District, Rift Valley Province) during the last week of January 2008. During these attacks, the attackers identified ODM supporters by going from door to door and by setting up road blocks for intercepting vehicles, killing over 150 ODM supporters.

9. The violence resulted in more than 1,100 people dead, 3,500 injured, approximately 600,000 victims of forcible displacement, at least hundreds of victims of rape and sexual violence and more than 100,000 properties destroyed in six out of eight of Kenya’s provinces. Many women and girls perceived as supporting the ODM were raped.


[1] This is a coalition of parties including the Kenya African National Union (KANU), Ford-Kenya, Ford-People, Democratic Party and the National Alliance Party of Kenya.

Source: Office of the Prosecutor

————————

says that Mr Sang used his radio program  to collect supporters and provide signals to members of the plan on when and where to attack.

“Their two goals were:

(1) to gain power in the Rift Valley Province and ultimately in the Republic of Kenya, and

(2) to punish and expel from the Rift Valley those perceived to support the PNU,” Mr Moreno-Ocampo’s application says.

Immediately after President Kibaki was announced as the winner of the 2007 presidential election, Mr Moreno-Ocampo adds, thousands of members of the network put together by the three accused began to execute their plan by attacking PNU supporters.

He states that on December 30 and 31, they attacked several locations including Turbo Town, the greater Eldoret area (Huruma, Kimumu, Langas, and Yamumbi), Kapsabet Town, and Nandi Hills Town.

“They approached each location from all directions, burning down PNU supporters’ homes and businesses, killing civilians, and systematically driving them from their homes,” the application reads.

The three are accused of coordinating the burning of the Kiambaa church where at least 17 people died.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo says in his application that all the attacks occurred in a uniform fashion. The perpetrators gathered at designated meeting points outside of locations selected for attack, he says.

“There, they met coordinators, who organised the perpetrators into groups with assigned tasks. Perpetrators then attacked target locations. Some perpetrators approached on foot, while others were driven in trucks,” the prosecutor says.

He adds that Mr Sang helped coordinate the attacks using coded language disseminated through radio broadcasts.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo says that in response to the attacks by the three “prominent PNU members and/or Government of Kenya officials Francis Kirimi Muthaura, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and Mohammed Hussein Ali developed and executed a plan to attack perceived ODM supporters in order to keep the PNU in power.”

He accuses the National Security Advisory Committee, which was chaired by Mr Muthaura and where Mr Ali was a member, of authorising and deploying the police into ODM strongholds.

During the operation, he adds, the officers used excessive force against civilian protesters in Kisumu and in Kibera, Nairobi.

“As a consequence, between the end of December 2007 and the middle of January 2008, the Kenyan Police Forces indiscriminately shot at and killed more than a hundred ODM supporters in Kisumu and Kibera,” the application reads.

The three are also accused of developing a different tactic to retaliate against the attacks on PNU supporters.

The application says that on or about January 3, 2008 Mr Kenyatta, as the focal point between the PNU and the Mungiki criminal organisation, facilitated a meeting with Mr Muthaura and Mungiki leaders to organise retaliatory attacks against civilian supporters of the ODM.

“Thereafter, Mr Muthaura, in his capacity as Chairman of the National Security Advisory Committee, telephoned Mr Ali, his subordinate as head of the Kenya Police, and instructed Mr Ali not to interfere with the movement of pro-PNU youths, including the Mungiki,” reads the application.

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

“Complicity with a dictator never pays?”:- Critical reading of EU Report on Ethiopian Election

The European Union gave its report on Monday after delaying over 7 months. This slow movement to publish the report is seen as to lull the dictator Melese Zenawie regime and to have all the elements to its side as the proverbs says «One who laughs last laughs the best”. In the end it fire back on the reporter, Mr. Thijs Berman, a member of the European Parliament and head of Ethiopian election observer mission from Belgium.  He recently complained that his team was denied a visa by ‘unhappy’ Ethiopian authorities. The mission was supposed to officially submit its report to Ethiopian Government in Addis Ababa. However, Addis authorities are furious about the report which they have infiltrated to know the content were prouder to humiliate him by denying visa to Ethiopia where he was supposed to declare the report.

Melese Zenawie the outrageous dictator of Ethiopia who controls all power in country and heads the   Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), rugged and won 99.6 per cent in May this year election. He thought he got the European Union observer Mr. Berman under his rug. The final report he succeeded to drag it over 7 months in contradiction to 5 years earlier election EU Reporter Mrs. Ana Gonzales in 2005 did not fall under the charm of Zenawie.    Mr. Thijs Berman did not hit the Iron when it is hot as his collage Gonzales. You never make complicity with a murderous dictator like Zenawie. The Reporter would have made his report like everybody else 7 month ago. Any way late is better than never.

The long waited compromised report of the EU declared that the Ethiopia’s national elections in May were flawed. It says the electoral process was short of international standards concerning transparency, and that state resources were used in the ruling party’s campaign. The late report further affirmed that Opposition candidates also feared the consequences of their political activities.

It is the Human Rights Watch on Monday who gave the courage to  Mr. Thijs Berman  that  the long held report to come out  and  declare that  the    Ethiopia has systematically clamped down on its citizens’ right to cast ballots freely, and the government’s overwhelming victory shows how little Ethiopia allows dissent.

The whole world has seen  the electoral  game  that  the Ethiopian  electoral  field was  balanced in favor of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and allied parties won all but two of the 547 seats in parliament,  but this out right truth   took Mr. Berman to declare over  7 months.

Mr. Berman after reading the Human right watch report recognized that the local administrations that are almost entirely controlled by the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front should in future have a reduced role in elections to make the process fairer if Melese did not control more than 99 percent of local administrations in the country.

Mr. Berman presented his report in Brussels after observers failed to get permission to deliver the report in Addis Ababa, said Thijs Berman, a Dutch member of the European Parliament who led a team to the Horn of Africa country in May. He declared that he had “no idea” why the report wasn’t presented in Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian ruling Party EPRDF used a combination of harassment and arrests and withholding food aid and jobs to thwart the oppositions ahead of the election, Human Rights Watch, a New York- based advocacy group, said in a March 24 report entitled “One Hundred Ways of Putting Pressure.”

The EU reporter saw in front of their eyes that the dictatorial regime’s   ruling party alliance won all but four of the 1,904 seats for the regional state councils in this year’s elections.

The late report was late to recognize  that  the  “Changes to the legal framework and the fragmentation, imprisonment and exile of opposition figures following disputed elections in 2005 have made it difficult for opponents of the ruling party to operate  freely in Ethiopia.”

The EU reporter which did not hit the Iron when it was  hot prefer to harness it seven month later,   declared that “the EPRDF used state resources to fund its campaign and reporting by state media ahead of the vote was biased in favor the ruling party. Freedom of assembly was sometimes not respected for opposition parties, and the volume of complaints of intimidation against the ruling party, local administrations and police was a matter of concern.”

Prof. Muse Tegegne

EU Election Observation Mission to Ethiopia 2010 PDF

Ethiopian Melese “Freely” and “Proudly” manipulated the ballot as new model for African Banana Union members who applaud his election for life …. ” Read the Council of Democrats Decision “

The Double sided dictator of Ethiopia Melese Zenawie lost his credilbity if left any in the eyes the world democrats.

He thought he mastered the arts of duping the whole world, but it was he who was dumped and lost face all around the world.

-He prepared   farse  40’000 ballots, only very fews samples were oberved by African and Europen observores.

-He blocked the US and the rest of the embasies not to live the capital so he could be free to manuplate.

-He killed and beated  the oppostion members.

-He recruted each and every one in the counry side to be the member of his party if  not just to vote only for EPRDF.

– He organized  armed  gangbusters to  force  over 31 million voters to be grouped by a cell of 5 in  each and every community, village, family   in all his ethnic regions … he otherwise  menaced  to starve them  to death  not giving them work for bread program for survival …

He controlled each and every  televised debates taking the majority time for him self…

-He jemmed the international Media VOA, DW, Internet acess…

-He closed private press and throw the journalist to jail..

-He imprisoned the opposition leaders like Brtukan Mediksa and others before election to assure his victory…

– He juged many international oppositions in their absentee to death to intimidate the Diaspora…

-He silenced the univeristy students by intimidating and occupying the university illegally by his security forces… etc, etc..

– He bombed the opposition on the Northern  and esatern part of the country to intimidate  before election…

It is the organization of the African Banana Union which is  his making , who recognized his election as being  fair and free, since  his  ballot rugging  was better than theirs, and his style of mastering the arts of silencing the opposition ,  his mechanism   of completely killing the voice of the people,  his way of brutalizing  and  starving  the population of Ethiopia to death, is a new style of  african democray in order to  become a  leader for live.

Ethiopia elections: Can the EU effectively monitor? | Analysis

The Council of Community of Democrats  confirm the accusation  Melese’s regime of Fraud

Ethiopian Opposition Leaders Sentenced to Life in Prison 18 July 2007

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tiIuJhFsYo

Fraud Accusations Tarnish Ruling Party Victory in Ethiopia
June 9, 2010
By: Benjamin Russell | Printer Friendly

Results show Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s ruling Ethiopian People Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) was the clear winner in Ethiopia’s parliamentary elections last month, despite accusations of fraud and the misuse of state funds, according to BBC News. Ethiopia’s Communications Minister Bereket Simon called the elections “free and fair,” but international observers from the EU and the United States said the contest fell well short of international standards.

Opposition parties, who gained only two of the possible 546 seats, accused the government of manipulating the electoral process in their favor. “The whole thing is a farce,” said Hailu Shawel, chairman of the All Ethiopia Unity Party. “In the countryside our observers are chased away by the militia. Our people are not allowed into the polling stations.”

EPDRF party members dismissed the allegations as an attempt to undermine the party’s rule. “We know the opposition had designed a strategy whereby they tried to tarnish the whole democratic electoral process. The facts on the ground tell everybody that this has been a competitive election…the system accommodated even extra requests by the opposition. So, one can say we have issued [a] free and fair playing ground,” said Communications Minister Bereket Simon.

Though this year’s elections were free from the political violence of previous contests, observers point out that the relative peace was more the result of careful planning by the EPDRF than of democratic progress. In 2005, a dispute over election results led to the death of 193 opposition protestors at the hands of Zenawi’s forces. This time around, the Prime Minister “closed down a number of critical newspapers, jammed Voice of America, blocked critical websites, banned all forms opposition rallies, crippled civil society organizations, and deliberately fomented divisions in the opposition camp,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Over the last 18 months, the “government has taken clear and decisive steps that would ensure that it would garner an electoral victory,” said US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson.

Despite the criticism, Ethiopia is likely to remain an important US ally in the fight against Islamic extremism. According to Nathaniel Myers of Foreign Policy, Ethiopia receives more foreign US aid than any country in sub-Saharan Africa and is an important source of stability in the region. “Wary of alienating Meles, the Obama administration has publicly criticized only the Ethiopian leader’s most blatant assaults on democracy. And indeed, with the failure to permanently reduce aid budgets following the 2005 violence, the West lost its trump card. At the end of the day, Meles knows that the United States and his other foreign friends can’t afford to back out,” said Myers.

Sources:

VOA News – Ethiopia Election Seen as ‘Free and Fair’ by Government Official

NY Times – Ethiopian Party Accused of Intimidation before Election

Foreign Policy – Ethiopia’s Democratic Sham

BBC News – EU Observers Say Ethiopia Election ‘Falls Short’

Wall Street Journal – Ethiopia’s Embarrassing Elections

Community of Democracies

Invigorated by the belief that the time had come in the year 2000 to establish a global network of democratic countries with the principal aim of fortifying democratic governance everywhere, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Bronisław Geremek convened the first Ministerial of the Community of Democracies (CD) in Warsaw. With delegates representing 106 democratic and democratizing countries in attendance, the Community of Democracies was established with the adoption of the Warsaw Declaration, committing CD governments to a multilateral framework of cooperation to advance democratic norms and to work in concert to support and deepen democracy worldwide.

United States House of Representatives Passes Resolution Commending the Community of Democracies

On May 12, 2010, United States Representative Mike Quigley, of Illinois, introduced a resolution to the United States House of Representatives entitled “Commending the Community of Democracies for its achievements since it was founded in 2000.” With 31 cosponsors, the resolution was passed without objection. The gathered representatives commended the CD for its ten years of work in “promoting democratic rules and
strengthening democratic institutions around the world,” as Representative Engel from New York stated in his remarks to the floor. With the High Level Democracy meeting in Krakow to commemorate the CD’s 10th Anniversary approaching in July, the resolution “endorses the Krakow conference” and “extends its best wishes … for the Community’s ongoing efforts to promote democracy worldwide.”

Read the Full Text of the Resolution Here

Guinea-Bissau’s Armed Forces Threaten Stability of Legitimate Government 9 June 2010
Government and Maoists Renew Constituent Assembly in Nepal 9 June 2010
Flag of Thailand Thai PM Says Elections Must Wait 9 June 2010
Fraud Accusations Tarnish Ruling Party Victory in Ethiopia 9 June 2010
flag of kyrgyzstan Interim Kyrgyzstan Government Struggles to Regain Stability 7 June 2010
Great Lakes Policy Forum Discusses the Context and Implications of the Upcoming Rwandan Elections 7 June 2010
Flag of ivory coast Côte d’Ivoire President Says Election Preparations are Underway 3 June 2010
Flag of Cuba Cuba – A Way Forward Highlights Repression and Abuse, and Proposes an End to the Embargo 3 June 2010
Flag of CAR CAR President’s Mandate Extended ‘Indefinitely’27 May 2010
Flag of Thailand Hong Kong Legislators Hold ‘Referendum on Democracy’ 26 May 2010
Flag of Georgia Georgian Lawyers Suspend Protest against Electoral System 26 May 2010
Flag of Somalia George Packer on Democracy Promotion under the Obama Presidency 24 May 2010

Calling New Election a confrontation for Melese’s new coming absolute power? Boycott would have been better than reelection demand …

EPRDF rallyEthiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi



“Addis Ababa, May 25, 2010 Ethiopian People?s Revolutionary Democratic Party (EPRDF) is leading the 4th national elections by winning 499 of the 547 federal parliamentary seats, the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) Chairperson announced here late on Tuesday. In a news conference he gave here today, the Chairperson, Prof. Merga Bekana said partner parties on their part won 35 seats, according to provisional results reaching the Board. He said EPRDF won the election with a majority vote winning 499 seats. According to Prof. Merga, EPRDF won 38 seats in Tigray, 137 in Amhara, 178 in Oromia, 122 in South Ethiopia Peoples State and 22 seats in Addis Ababa. EPRDF partner parties on their part won 8 seats in Afar states, 2 seats in Benishangul Gumuz, 2 seats in Gambella State while winning 21 seats in Somali State, according to the provisional election results reaching the board. He said EPRDF won one seat in each of Harari state and Dire Dawa City Administration while its partners won the rest. Prof. Merga said Forum had won only one seat in Addis Ababa while a private contender won one seat in South Ethiopia Peoples State. He indicated that the Board has not received the result of 1 constituency from Amhara, 7 constituencies from Bensihangul Gumuz, 1 constituency from Gambella and 2 constituencies from Somali states. Prof. Merga thanked the public at large, election contending political parties, religious leaders, governmental and non-governmental organizations for helping make the 4th national elections successful, free, peaceful, fair and credible.”???

——————–

——————–


Ethiopia opposition leaders call for new elections

Will Ross
BBC News, Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s opposition leaders have called for a rerun of Sunday’s elections, saying they were flawed.

Head of the main opposition coalition Merera Gudina said he will not accept the results, which gave Prime Minister Meles Zenawi a landslide victory.

Mr Merera says two party members were killed by security forces, reports say.Supporters of Merera Gudina at an Oromo People's Congress (OPC) rally in Ambo, May 15, 2010Merera Gudina’s supporters were hoping to make gains

The EU and US have both criticised the polls, saying they fell short of international standards. Ethiopian officials have denied fraud.

Mr Merera, chairman of the Medrek coalition of eight main opposition parties, has called for a new election.

Earlier, another opposition leader Hailu Shawel had also called for a rerun of the elections.

The opposition has complained that its election observers had been beaten and driven away from polling stations in several regions.

Meanwhile, Mr Merera has said two members of his party were shot dead by security forces in the Oromiya region in the south of Ethiopia, Reuters news agency reports.

“The government is trying to prevent protests by massively repressing the people,” he said.

But a government spokesperson claims one man was shot when he stormed an office where ballots were being counted and the other was killed in self-defence by a policeman, Reuters says.

At a victory rally on Tuesday in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, Mr Meles warned international observers to respect the election results, saying: “The people’s vote will not be overturned by foreign forces.”

According to the official election results, 499 out of 536 seats declared so far have been awarded to the governing party.

Medrek – which had been seen as the main challenger to Mr Zenawi’s party – has only won a single seat.

Mr Shawel says the results “don’t look real,” reports the AFP news agency.

Ethiopia’s last elections, in 2005, were marred by violent protests over alleged fraud which left about 200 people dead.

At that time, Mr Shawel was leader of the opposition coalition and was jailed, along with several other opposition leaders, for his role in the protests.

Most of those jailed were later pardoned and released, although one opposition leader remains in prison.

The BBC’s Will Ross in Ethiopia says opposition leaders risk being sent to prison if they continue their protests, since in the eyes of the Ethiopian authorities, there is a thin line between rejecting the election results and inciting violence.

Mr Shawel says he will not call on his supporters to protest, reports AFP.

Mr Meles – who has been in power since 1991 – put Sunday’s election win down to an impressive track record, especially when it comes to economic growth.

The government has worked hard to improve infrastructure, especially in the urban areas, and social services such as healthcare have become more accessible.

Hailu Shawel, who heads the All Ethiopia Unity Party, must realise that his request for a rerun of the election is highly unlikely to be granted.

His other option is via the courts.

But he knows he must tread carefully as Ethiopia’s government may not tolerate much criticism.

In the eyes of the Ethiopian authorities, there is a thin line between rejecting the result and inciting violence and so the opposition party leader risks a return to jail.


Melese vis Melese vis Melese ….. won by melese the African famous electoral drama comes to an end in Ethiopia

From the the total 536 seats in Woyane parliament only one is won for an individual  runner the rest with his phantom parties  organized by himself 35 seats

Melese won 499+35=535

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sNy2lJPc_4

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9S83SVAumsQ

EU monitors slam Ethiopia polls

The European Union’s chief election observer in Ethiopia has said that last weekend’s poll was conducted on an “uneven playing field” that favoured the 

Ethiopia election results
BBC News
The opposition say some of their supporters were intimidated during the poll and that the electoral process was flawed. The BBC’s correspondent in Ethiopia

Ethiopia Ruling Party Celebrates Election Win; EU Has Concerns

The European Union says it has concerns about Sunday’s election in Ethiopia, won by the ruling party in a landslide. Ethiopia’s elections board says the 

Opposition might challenge Ethiopian vote count in court

Ethiopians waited in line yesterday to cast their votes in Addis Ababa. The election in Africa’s third most populous nation is being closely watched by 

Ethiopia Election Results: Zenawi’s EPRDF Wins

Incumbent Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi’s Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has won the 2010 general elections, securing leads in 9 

Ethiopia election marred by intimidation, say rights group

Ethiopia: NEBE announces preliminary election results

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — May 24, 2010 (ENA) — The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) announced here Monday a preliminary election results drawn 

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOsoZNzwyNE

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sNy2lJPc_4


Ethiopian ruling party garners 499 seats in elections

DDIS ABABA, May 25 (Xinhua) — The Ethiopian ruling party has gained 499 seats in the 547-member parliament, media reported on Tuesday.

The report quoted the Ethiopian National Electoral Board as saying the outcome emerged when 536 results were announced.

Earlier on Tuesday, the National Electoral Board has announced that the ruling party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), is leading the fourth national elections by winning 477 of the 547 federal parliamentary seats.

Public Relations Head with the Board, Mohammed Abdurahman, said in a statement on Tuesday that the EPRDF won 38 seats in Tigray, 137 in Amhara, 160 in Oromia and eight seats in Afar states, according to the provisional election results.

Hundreds of thousands of members and supporters of the EPRDF on Tuesday celebrated party’s victory after announcement of provisional election results by the National Electoral Board.

Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia’s current Prime Minister and Chairperson of EPRDF, accompanied by senior government officials, joined the huge crowd at Maskal Square, the grand one in Addis Ababa, capital of the nation.

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSmbG8HdWMQ

Human Right Watch

Ethiopia: Government Repression Undermines Poll

MAY 24, 2010

(Nairobi) – Ethiopian government and ruling party officials intimidated voters and unlawfully restricted the media ahead of the May 23, 2010 parliamentary elections, Human Rights Watch said today.

In assessing the polls, international election observers should address the repressive legal and administrative measures that the Ethiopian ruling party used to restrict freedom of expression during the election campaign, Human Rights Watch said.

2010_Ethiopia_Voting-Elections.jpg

Ethiopians vote inside a polling station in the capital Addis Ababa on May 23, 2010. © 2010 Reuters

“Behind an orderly façade, the government pressured, intimidated and threatened Ethiopian voters,” said Rona Peligal, acting Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Whatever the results, the most salient feature of this election was the months of repression preceding it.”

In the weeks leading up to the polls, Human Rights Watch documented new methods used by the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) to intimidate voters in the capital, Addis Ababa, apparently because of government concerns of a low electoral turnout.

During April and May, officials and militia (known as tataqi in Amharic) from the local administration went house to house telling citizens to register to vote and to vote for the ruling party or face reprisals from local party officials such as bureaucratic harassment or even losing their homes or jobs.

The May poll was the first national parliamentary election in Ethiopia since the government violently suppressed post-election protests in 2005; almost 200 people, including several police officers, died after the 2005 poll and tens of thousands of people were arrested, including opposition leaders, journalists and civil society activists.

In a March 2010 report, “‘One Hundred Ways of Putting Pressure’: Violations of Freedom of Expression and Association in Ethiopia,” Human Rights Watch described the complex and multi-faceted way in which the government has sought since 2005 to silence dissent, restrict the media and independent civil society, and leverage government resources such as civil service jobs, loans, food assistance and educational opportunities to encourage citizens to join the ruling party or leave the opposition.

The government’s efforts to ensure the election outcome continued right up to polling day in Addis Ababa, according to Human Rights Watch’s research in different areas of the capital, including in Merkato, Piazza, Wollo Sefer, Meskel Flower, Aya Ulet, Kera, Gotera, Hayat, Kotebe-CMC and Bole neighborhoods.

“Intimidation to register and to vote for the ruling party is everywhere,” a resident of Addis Ababa told Human Rights Watch. “If the local administration is against you, they’ll be after you forever. They can come and round you up at will.”

Residents of Addis Ababa described numerous forms of intimidation in Addis Ababa in recent weeks.

Pressure to Register to Vote
Many people told Human Rights Watch that tataqi, local kebele (or neighborhood) militia members came house-to-house asking to see registration cards and checking if people were members of the ruling EPRDF party.

A couple living in the Meskel Flower area said they were visited on a weekly basis by members of the neighborhood militia who were checking whether they were registered as EPRDF members. The wife told Human Rights Watch:  “One of them approached my husband. ‘We know who you are,’ he told him. ‘If you don’t want to register, no problem, but then don’t come to the sub-kebele and ask for your ID renewal, or for any other legal paper. We won’t help you. It’s up to you, now.” The following day the couple registered.

Pressure to Join the Ruling Party When Registering
Different sources across the capital confirmed to Human Rights Watch that alongside registration, voters were requested to sign a paper, under a heading “Supporter of EPRDF,” that included ID number, age, and address.

An Addis Ababa resident said, “There’s a lot of pressure for you to obey. They have your name, they ask you to sign. If you don’t, it means you’re against them. And they can come back to you whenever they want. At the end of the day, you just have to do what they force you to do.”

Pressure to Vote for the Ruling Party
Pressure to vote for the EPRDF appeared to take a number of different forms. Pressure was particularly acute among civil servants, people living in government-owned housing, and those living in poor neighborhoods.

An elderly resident living in state-owned housing said local government officials visited her house a few weeks before the elections asking to see her registration card. She said they wrote down her house number and told her, “We are going to check. And don’t forget to vote for EPRDF. We provide you the house, we can have it back.” She said that she was frightened by the threat and registered even though she had not intended to vote.

Civil servants are particularly pressured to vote for EPRDF, saying that ruling party officials remind them that it is the EPRDF government that employs them. Patterns of intimidation of teachers and others that were recently documented in Addis Ababa echo the examples previously documented across the country by Human Rights Watch in “‘One Hundred Ways Putting Pressure’.” For example, a teacher in a public school in Addis Ababa said: “A few weeks ago my headmaster called us all. He asked us to show him our registration cards. He wanted to know whom we were going to vote for as well. I refused. He harassed me and said, ‘You better get your card, and vote properly, otherwise after the elections you might lose your job.'”

Residents also described an EPRDF pyramid recruitment strategy called One-for-Five. A coordinator (ternafi) had to identify five recruits or fellow voters (teternafiwoch) among family members, friends, colleagues or neighbors. Coordinators then tried to compel their five signers to go to the polling stations and vote all together.

A woman in Aya Ulet area said, “A neighbor came to me. He said: ‘I know you voted for the opposition last time. Are you going to vote for them again? Do I have to report it to the kebele?’ I am a civil servant; I know that party officials and local administrators are the same thing. For fear of losing my job, the next morning I went to his place and signed.”

Pressure on the Media and Foreign Diplomats
Simultaneous with the increased pressure on voters, in the weeks before the polls the Ethiopian government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi acted to restrict electoral scrutiny by independent media and foreign diplomats.

The government issued several codes of conduct covering media and diplomatic activity. Initial drafts of the media regulation restricted foreign and local journalists from even speaking to anyone involved in the election process, including voters on election day, in violation of the right to freedom of expression. Several journalists in different countries told Human Rights Watch that when they applied for media visas to cover the elections, they were extensively questioned by Ethiopian embassy diplomats.

The government told Embassy staff they needed travel permits for any movement outside of Addis Ababa between May 10 to June 20.

“The government has used a variety of methods to strong-arm voters and try to hide the truth from journalists and diplomats,” said Peligal. “Donor governments need to show that they recognize that these polls were multi-party theater staged by a single-party state.”

Repressive Context of the Elections
Since 2005, Human Rights Watch has documented patterns of serious human rights violations by the Ethiopian government. Members of the security forces and government officials have been implicated in numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity both within Ethiopia and in neighboring Somalia. The pervasive intimidation of voters and restrictions on movement and reporting are serious concerns for the integrity of the electoral process, but represent only one aspect of the Ethiopian ruling party’s long-term effort to consolidate control.

The EPRDF’s main instrument for stamping out potential dissent is the local administrative (kebele) structure, which monitors households and can restrict access to important government programs, including seeds and fertilizer, micro-loans and business permits, all depending on support for the local administration and the ruling party.

Since 2008 the government has also passed new laws to clamp down on independent civil society and the media. The Charities and Societies Proclamation restricts Ethiopian nongovernmental organizations from doing any human rights work, including in the areas of women’s and children’s rights, if they receive more than 10 percent of their funding from foreign sources. Since the law’s adoption in 2009, the leading Ethiopian human rights groups have closed most of their offices, scaled down their staff, and removed human rights advocacy from their mandates. The new regulatory agency established by the Charities and Societies Proclamation froze the bank accounts of the largest independent human rights group, the Ethiopian Human Rights Council. At least six of Ethiopia’s most prominent human rights activists fled the country in 2009.

Another law, the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, has also been used to threaten with prosecution human rights activists and journalists for any acts deemed to be terrorism under the law’s broad and vague definition of the term. Several journalists also fled in 2009, including the editors of a prominent independent Amharic newspaper, and in February 2010 Prime Minister Meles acknowledged that the government was jamming Voice of America radio broadcasts.

Human Rights Watch urged the international election observer teams from the European Union and the African Union to take into account in their public reporting the insidious apparatus of control and the months of repression that frame the 2010 polls.

Ethiopia is heavily dependent on foreign assistance, which accounts for approximately one-third of government spending. The country’s principal foreign donors – the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union, which provide more than US$2 billion annually in humanitarian and development aid, – were timid in their criticisms of Ethiopia’s deteriorating human rights situation ahead of the election.

Human Rights Watch called on the principle donors and other concerned governments to publicly condemn political repression in Ethiopia and to review policy towards Ethiopia in light of its deteriorating human rights record.

“Ethiopia is an authoritarian state in which the government’s commitment to democracy exists only on paper,” said Peligal. “The question is not who won these elections, but how can donors justify business as usual with this increasingly repressive government?”

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGrq00l1CrU

Ethiopian Election 9th Debate to Assure Melese’s land slide Victory supported by Bomb blasts & Intimidation

Election 2010 – 9th Round 1-1st Debate. May 06, 2010
1:25:48
Ethiopian Election 2010 – 9th Round 1-1st Debate. May 06, 2010
youtube.com
Ethiopian Campaign Has Become ‘War’ on Opposition, Leader Says
BusinessWeek
By Jason McLure May 7 (Bloomberg) — Ethiopia’s ruling party has increased harassment of opposition supporters before a May 23 election in the Horn of 

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jes5gpsnQUk

Two killed in Ethiopia bomb attack: official

ADDIS ABABA — Attackers hurled a bomb at a political meeting in Ethiopia, killing two people and wounding 14 others just over two weeks before national elections, a government spokesman said Friday.

The blast happened in Adaba in the Oromya region of southern Ethiopia on Thursday as members of a party from the ruling coalition were hosting a 20th anniversary ceremony, spokesman Shimelis Kemal told AFP.

“The suspects hurled the bomb at a ceremony attended by the region’s deputy administrator Abdulaziz Mohammed. There were two deaths from the blast while 14 sustained heavy and light wounds,” Shimelis said.

Shimelis said the blast did not wound any of the politicians, who were from the Oromo People’s Democratic Organisation, a member of the ruling EPRDF coalition.

“Three suspects have so far been apprehended, one of whom was a former soldier who was discharged for disciplinary reasons,” he said, declining to point to any group for responsibility.

Authorities have in the past blamed the secessionist Oromo Liberation Front for past attacks, and some opposition politicians have been arrested with links to the rebel group.

The blast was the second in the African nation in the space of two weeks, following an explosion in a small town along the border with Eritrea on April 24 which killed five people.

Ethiopia goes to the polls on May 23. The Oromya region has the country’s largest constituencies.

Around 30 million people have registered to vote for Ethiopia’s fourth elections since the Communist regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam was toppled in 1991.

Ethiopia govt, opposition exchange murder accusations

Fri May 7, 2010 5:42pm BST

* Three politicians murdered in two months

* Investors watching closely as election approaches

* Ruling party, opposition trade murder accusations

By Barry Malone

ADDIS ABABA, May 7 (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s ruling party accused the opposition on Friday of killing one of its candidates ahead of this month’s national election, in an allegation denied by the main opposition alliance.

Both sides have stepped up rhetoric ahead of the May 23 election — the first vote in the Horn of Africa country since 2005 when a disputed poll ended with street riots and the jailing of politicians.

Ethiopian government spokesman Shimeles Kemal said one of the ruling party’s candidates had been stabbed to death, in a first murder accusation against Medrek, the country’s main opposition coalition.

“Itana Idossa was stabbed to death by Medrek members a week ago after he left a meeting,” he said. “Police have apprehended suspects — Medrek activists.”

Medrek dismissed the accusation. “The people who killed him have no connection with us,” Merera Gudina, leader of one of the coalition parties, the Oromo Peoples’ Congress, told Reuters.

The ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front is expected to win the election comfortably. Medrek is seen as the biggest political force challenging the 19-year-old government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

At the time of the 2005 vote, the government said the violence was part of a plan to force an unconstitutional change. Security forces killed 193 people on the streets and top opposition leaders were imprisoned. Seven policemen were killed.

The opposition says their candidates and voters are harassed and intimidated. The government, for its part, says the opposition plans to incite street violence and discredit the poll because it has no chance of winning.

The political climate in Ethiopia is watched closely by investors eyeing oil and gas exploration and large-scale farming projects there.

Last month, a senior Medrek official, Bulcha Demeksa, said an opposition activist was bludgeoned to death with a gun butt by ruling party members.

The ruling party responded by saying the man died of cancer and vowed to prosecute Bulcha. On Thursday, the man’s father told Voice of America radio station that his son was beaten to death by government militia men.

Both killings happened in the Oromia region, home to Ethiopia’s biggest ethnic group, the Oromo, who number 27 million out of 80 million people.

In March, a Medrek candidate in the north of the huge country, Aregawi Gebre-Yohannes, was attacked and stabbed to death. The opposition says his killing was a political murder, but the government says he died in a bar fight. A man has been sentenced to 15 years in jail for his murder. (Reporting by Barry Malone, editing by George Obulutsa and Maria Golovnina)

Ethiopian Election 5th phantom Debate :- interventionist, treason, war mongering & proxy foreign policy of Woyane regime

————————–

@1/9@

Election 2010 : UDJ is alarmed and concerned about the medical state of its party leader Birtukan Mideksa
She’s no different than other prisoners, no special considerations: Gov’t

By Haile Mulu

UDJ is alarmed and concerned about the medical state of its party leader Birtukan MideksaUnity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) said that it is alarmed and concerned about the medical state of its party leader Birtukan Mideksa who is in prison. It called for the examination of Birtukan by an independent medical team.
In a statement released yesterday, UDJ said that it was seriously concerned about the health of its leader after learning of her continuing decline from her mother, who is the only person allowed to visit her inside prison aside from her daughter.
UDJ said that the government was transgressing Article 21 of the constitution by refusing Birtukan visitation right from her private doctor, relatives and spiritual counselor in a manner that is unheard of before.

In its statement, UDJ said Birtukan’s health is deteriorating and asked the government to allow an independent medical team to examine her in the presence of the Red Cross and the result be made public.

Andualem Arage, Secretary-General of UDJ, said in a phone interview that Monday marked 15 month since Birtukan was imprisoned again and called on the public, its members and supporters to commemorate the day by going on a hunger strike and holding prayers.

Asked for comments on the statement of UDJ, Shimelis Kemal, Deputy Head of Government Communications Office, said that the government was aware that numerous people have been using the issue of Birtukan as a political agenda. He pointed out that if Birtukan is ailing, she can get treated at the prison’s infirmary and said he was surprised that people were saying that she is in an alarming state knowing that. He added that if she has health concerns that cannot be handled in the infirmary, then she will be referred to other hospitals like every other prisoner.
“Birtukan is entitled to the same rights and treatments as any other prisoner and shouldn’t expect different,” he said. He added that attempts to obstruct any prisoner from serving their sentence are punishable by law.

Birtukan was imprisoned again a little over a year ago on the grounds that she claimed she did not didnot ask for the pardon that was granted to her. Shimelis said that she is just a convict and not a prisoner of conscious as many people make her out to be and any allegation to that effect is baseless and unacceptable.
2@3@4@5@6@7@8@9@

1/8@@2/83/8@4/8@5/8@6/8@@7/88/8@

——————————————————————————————–

Hundreds of Ethiopian opposition party members jailed

By Mardy Shualy

According to opposition parties in Ethiopia, nearly 450 of their members have been jailed, as part of an effort by the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) to secure national elections being held this May. One opposition party reports that seven of its members have been murdered for political reasons during the course of this past year. The allegations fit Ethiopia’s history of violent repression, including arrests and harassment of dissenting students and teachers.

During Ethiopia’s last elections, held in 2005, widespread protests led to violent clashes with police, with about 200 protestors killed and many opposition leaders jailed. The ruling party, led by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, said that the crack-down was simply to maintain law and order, and to stave off widespread ethnic conflict. Members of the opposition said it was a means of denying opposition parties electoral success.

The ruling party’s bid for electoral dominance has certainly been effective — during last year’s local and bi-elections, the EPRDF and affiliated individuals lost only three seats, out of nearly 3.6 million contested seats. This past January, the government took another step towards consolidating its power by essentially outlawing human rights work and curtailing freedom of association. And according to a Reuters news analysis, the EPRDF’s dominance is bolstered by a general sense that the West “would be comfortable with Meles staying on – as long as he remains a loyal ally in the volatile Horn of Africa and liberalises his potentially huge economy.”

Even so, former Ethiopian Minister of Defense Seeye Abraha characterizes his country as a dormant volcano. A recent statement posted by the opposition party Ginbot 7 makes it abundantly clear that tensions remain high:

[One type of nation] is composed of countries that are ruled by corrupt tyrants whose governance is characterized by gross human rights abuse, economic polarization, ethnic conflict and political intolerance…almost all of these dictators have become turn coat democrats and hold sham elections to satisfy the demand of donor nations. The reality, however, is that they never respect election results, or care for democracy. A perfect example of one such government is the illegitimate regime of Meles Zenawi in Ethiopia that deviously preaches democracy, but has ruled the country with an iron fist

Ethiopia Round 4 Election Human Right Abuses increases according Human right Watch …

The government says Human Rights Watch has got it wrong. Really?

INDEPENDENT voices in Ethiopia are finding it ever harder to be heard. Suffocated by an irascible government, the country’s newspapers are now the least informative in east Africa. Journalists deemed critical of the prime minister, Meles Zenawi, are pilloried. And they are not alone.

Foreign aid people and diplomats say a law pushed through parliament last month will curtail the activities of local human-rights workers. The new law means that independent local outfits that get more than 10% of their income from abroad will be classified as foreign. Once designated as such, they will not be allowed to engage in anything to do with democracy, justice or human rights. Real foreigners are already banned from doing so. As few home-grown charities and non-governmental organisations can stand on their own feet in a country as poor as Ethiopia, the government will be able to control domestic dissent more tightly.

The task of raising human-rights issues now increasingly falls to foreigners. A particularly bitter tussle is under way over allegations of atrocities by Ethiopian soldiers in the country’s south-eastern Ogaden region. This area abuts the border with turbulent Somalia and is populated mainly by ethnic Somalis traditionally hostile to the government in Addis Ababa, the capital.

Human Rights Watch, a pressure group, accuses Ethiopia of war crimes and crimes against humanity there. It says that Ethiopian troops burned down villages and killed, raped and tortured civilians in a counter-insurgency campaign against the separatist Ogaden National Liberation Front after its fighters had killed 74 Ethiopian and Chinese oil-exploration workers in 2007. Ethiopia’s government was so incensed by the description of “systematic atrocities” in the Ogaden that it commissioned a report of its own that dismissed Human Rights Watch’s allegations as hearsay and its methods as slapdash.

The government report found “no trace” of serious human-rights violations. People reported to have been killed or tortured were said to have been found alive and well. Villages marked down as torched were said to be unscathed. The sole admitted instance of torture was said to have resulted in a court-martial. According to the Ethiopian report, Human Rights Watch was one-sided, since it failed to document the guerrillas’ thuggery. Perhaps unwittingly, said the Ethiopians, it had made itself a propaganda tool of the separatists.

The Ethiopian investigation did not, however, examine all of Human Rights Watch’s accusations. Some executions listed by the group go unchallenged or are blamed unconvincingly on the guerrillas. The report skims over the Ogaden’s humanitarian emergency, which Médecins Sans Frontières, a French-based charity, lists as one of the world’s ten worst. The Ethiopian report flatly denies that the government blockaded separatist strongholds during a famine, thus starving civilians. The Ethiopians also lambast Human Rights Watch for not visiting the Ogaden, knowing that it was they who blocked the visit. They claim that the Ogaden has been open to anyone, yet most independent journalists have been banned from travelling there freely. Several aid organisations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, have been kicked out. Aid workers there speak only anonymously, for fear of expulsion.

The government has a general election to win next year. A wave of arrests of political dissenters, including a prominent opposition leader, Birtukan Mideksa, suggests the government wants to keep all its opponents in check.

A simple way for it to win confirmation of its claim that Human Rights Watch’s accusations are false would be to let independent journalists, both foreign and Ethiopian, visit the Ogaden and see for themselves.

———-Debate 4 ———–
1@@@@@@

@@@@@@@1@@2@@3@@4@@5@@6@@7@@@@1@@2@@3@@4@@5@@6@@7@@

Fear over Ethiopia poll media law

2010-03-23 22:15

Addis Ababa – A new media code that sets guidelines for coverage of Ethiopia’s elections in May has drawn fire from embattled media staff, who face fines and jail time if found guilty of violations.

The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia approved the framework two weeks ago, ahead of the May 23 polls, but journalists are already voicing their disapproval and fears over its restrictions.

The code bans journalists from carrying out interviews of voters, candidates and observers during election day, while it also prohibits predictions ahead of the announcement of results.

Transgressors face one year in jail for reporting on the latter.

“We stand against every article that is stipulated in the law. It simply puts an unreasonable amount of burden on any journalist,” Anteneh Abraham, head of the Ethiopian National Journalists Union, told AFP.

‘Rebellion and terrorism’

“We simply can’t work under those conditions. The strict restrictions have instilled fear in all media workers,” he added.

Further restrictions have also been placed on coverage from inside polling stations during the same day, in particular the limited access granted for photography and video footage.

However, an article on security has sparked the most concern due to what is seen as ambiguity.

“Media workers must refrain from reports that may incite rebellion and terrorism,” according to the article.

It bans the “preparation, publishing and distribution of reports that foment political instability and chaos along ethnic, religious, linguistic … lines.”

“It’s way too dangerous for anyone,” a reporter told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“I will simply avoid covering the elections as it is not worth the potential trouble,” he added.

Anteneh said he doubted the legality of the government’s decision to allow an electoral board to come up with a media law, and slammed its authorities for adopting the code “in secret” without consulting all stakeholders.

– SAPA

Human Rights Watch Report

Ethiopia is on a deteriorating human rights trajectory as parliamentary elections approach in 2010. These will be the first national elections since 2005, when post-election protests resulted in the deaths of at least 200 protesters, many of them victims of excessive use of force by the police. Broad patterns of government repression have prevented the emergence of organized opposition in most of the country. In December 2008 the government re-imprisoned opposition leader Birtukan Midekssa for life after she made remarks that allegedly violated the terms of an earlier pardon.

In 2009 the government passed two pieces of legislation that codify some of the worst aspects of the slide towards deeper repression and political intolerance. A civil society law passed in January is one of the most restrictive of its kind, and its provisions will make most independent human rights work impossible. A new counterterrorism law passed in July permits the government and security forces to prosecute political protesters and non-violent expressions of dissent as acts of terrorism.

Political Repression and the 2010 Elections

As Ethiopia heads toward nationwide elections, the government continues to clamp down on the already limited space for dissent or independent political activity. Ordinary citizens who criticize government policies or officials frequently face arrest on trumped-up accusations of belonging to illegal “anti-peace” groups, including armed opposition movements. Officials sometimes bring criminal cases in a manner that appears to selectively target government critics, as when in June 2009 prominent human rights activist Abebe Worke was charged with illegal importation of radio equipment and ultimately fled the country. In the countryside government-supplied (and donor-funded) agricultural assistance and other resources are often used as leverage to punish and prevent dissent, or to compel individuals into joining the ruling party.

The opposition is in disarray, but the government has shown little willingness to tolerate potential challengers. In December 2008 the security forces re-arrested Birtukan Midekssa, leader of the Unity for Democracy and Justice Party, which had begun to build a grassroots following in the capital. The government announced that Birtukan would be jailed for life because she had made public remarks that violated the terms of an earlier pardon for alleged acts of treason surrounding the 2005 elections. The authorities stated that there was no need for a trial as the move was a mere legal technicality.

In July the Ethiopian government passed a new anti-terrorism law. The law provides broad powers to the police, and harsh criminal penalties can be applied to political protesters and others who engage in acts of nonviolent political dissent. Some of its provisions appear tailored less toward addressing terrorism and more toward allowing for a heavy-handed response to mass public unrest, like that which followed Ethiopia’s 2005 elections.

Civil Society Activism and Media Freedom

The space for independent civil society activity in Ethiopia, already extremely narrow, shrank dramatically in 2009. In January the government passed a new civil society law whose provisions are among the most restrictive of any comparable law anywhere in the world. The law makes any work that touches on human rights or governance issues illegal if carried out by foreign non-governmental organizations, and labels any Ethiopian organization that receives more than 10 percent of its funding from sources outside of Ethiopia as “foreign.” The law makes most independent human rights work virtually impossible, and human rights work deemed illegal under the law is punishable as a criminal offense.

Ethiopia passed a new media law in 2008 that improved upon several repressive aspects of the previous legal regime. The space for independent media activity in Ethiopia remains severely constrained, however. In August two journalists were jailed on charges derived partly from Ethiopia’s old, and now defunct, press proclamation. Ethiopia’s new anti-terror law contains provisions that will impact the media by making journalists and editors potential accomplices in acts of terrorism if they publish statements seen as encouraging or supporting terrorist acts, or even, simply, political protest.

Pretrial Detention and Torture

The Ethiopian government continues its longstanding practice of using lengthy periods of pretrial and pre-charge detention to punish critics and opposition activists, even where no criminal charges are ultimately pursued. Numerous prominent ethnic Oromo Ethiopians have been detained in recent years on charges of providing support to the outlawed Oromo Liberation Front (OLF); in almost none of these cases have charges been pursued, but the accused, including opposition activists, have remained in detention for long periods. Canadian national Bashir Makhtal was convicted on charges of supporting the rebel Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) in July, after a trial that was widely criticized as unfair; he was in detention for two-and-a-half years before his sentence was handed down, and he was unable to access legal counsel and consular representatives for much of that period.

Not only are periods of pretrial detention punitively long, but detainees and convicted prisoners alike face torture and other ill-treatment. Human Rights Watch and other organizations have documented consistent patterns of torture in police and military custody for many years. The Ethiopian government regularly responds that these abuses do not exist, but even the government’s own Human Rights Commission acknowledged in its 2009 annual report that torture and other abuses had taken place in several detention facilities, including in Ambo and Nekemte.

Impunity for Military Abuses

The Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) has committed serious abuses, in some cases amounting to war crimes or crimes against humanity, in several different conflicts in recent years. Human Rights Watch is not aware of any meaningful efforts to hold the officers or government officials most responsible for those abuses to account. The only government response to crimes against humanity and other serious abuses committed by the military during a brutal counterinsurgency campaign in Gambella in late 2003 and 2004 was an inquiry that prosecuted a handful of junior personnel for deliberate and widespread patterns of abuse. No one has been investigated or held to account for war crimes and other widespread violations of the laws of war during Ethiopia’s bloody military intervention in neighboring Somalia from 2006 to 2008.

In August 2008 the Ethiopian government did purport to launch an inquiry into allegations of serious crimes in Somali Regional State, where the armed forces have been fighting a campaign against the rebel Ogaden National Liberation Front for many years. The inquiry was sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, lacked independence, and concluded that no serious abuses took place. To date the government continues to restrict access of independent investigators into the area.

Relations in the Horn of Africa

In August the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission issued its final rulings on monetary damages stemming from the bloody 1998-2000 border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Nonetheless the two countries remain locked in an intractable dispute about the demarcation of the heavily militarized frontier. Eritrea continues to play a destabilizing role throughout the Horn of Africa through its efforts to undermine and attack the government of Ethiopia wherever possible. The government of President Isayas Afewerki hosts and materially supports fighters from Ethiopian rebel movements, including the Oromo Liberation Front. Eritrea has also pursued a policy of supporting armed opposition groups in Somalia as a way of undermining Ethiopia’s support for the country’s weak Transitional Federal Government.

Key International Actors

Ethiopia is one of the most aid-dependant countries in the world and received more than US$2 billion in 2009, but its major donors have been unwilling to confront the government over its worsening human rights record. Even as the country slides deeper into repression, the Ethiopian government uses development aid funding as leverage against the donors who provide it-many donors fear that the government would discontinue or scale back their aid programs should they speak out on human rights concerns. This trend is perhaps best exemplified by the United Kingdom, whose government has consistently chosen to remain silent in order to protect its annual £130 million worth of bilateral aid and development programs.

Donors are also fearful of jeopardizing access for humanitarian organizations to respond to the drought and worsening food crisis. Millions of Ethiopians depend on food aid, and the government has sought to minimize the scale of the crisis and restrict access for independent surveys and response.

While Ethiopia’s government puts in place measures to control the elections in 2010, many donors have ignored the larger trends and focused instead on negotiating with the government to allow them to send election observers.

A significant shift in donor policy toward Ethiopia would likely have to be led by the US government, Ethiopia’s largest donor and most important political ally on the world stage. But President Barack Obama’s administration has yet to depart from the policies of the Bush administration, which consistently refused to speak out against abuses in Ethiopia. While the reasons may be different-the current government is not as narrowly focused on security cooperation with Ethiopia as was the Bush administration- thus far the practical results have been the same. The events described above attracted little public protest from the US government in 2009.

—————-

Afrik.com

Ethiopia: Repression Rising Ahead of May Elections

Human Rights Watch is pleased to invite you to the launch of a new report, “’One Hundred Ways of Putting Pressure’: Violations of Freedom of Expression and Association in Ethiopia,” to be held in Nairobi on Wednesday, March 24, 2010.

I
n May 2010, Ethiopia will hold its first national election since the controversial polls in 2005. Using firsthand testimony and documentation collected over the past decade, ?One Hundred Ways of Putting Pressure? examines the shrinking space for opposition parties, independent civil society, and the media, and assesses the potential impact of human rights abuses on the electoral process in 2010. In the report, Human Rights Watch calls on the Ethiopian government to take urgent steps to improve the electoral environment by immediately releasing political prisoners; supporting independent efforts to investigate and publicly report on abuses, including by international electoral observers; and ceasing attacks and intimidation on political opposition, independent civil society, and the media.

What: Human Rights Watch report release

“’One Hundred Ways of Putting Pressure’: Violations of Freedom of Expression and Association in Ethiopia”

Who: Georgette Gagnon, Africa director, Human Rights Watch

When: Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 10:30 a.m.

Where: Chester House, 1st Floor, Room 4, Koinange Street, Nairobi, Kenya

Source: Human Right Watch (HRW)

—————————

Fears over Ethiopia’s press code for poll coverage (By Aaron Maasho (AFP))

Ethiopian dictator is wining before the Vote and promised to jail the opposition soon after ..

It is My Election !

I am the Election itself !

I am the winner !

How can I lose since it is My own Election !

And  I will  Never Ever Lose !

Do you Understand ??? That is it what I call “Electoral Democracy”.

They Lost thus   Jail  is  a Must !!!

Listen to Me Now … my puppets I made You I am Your Bose ..I have hand picked you…

Do you understand?  Yes this is  “Parliamentary Democracy”  my  makings …

We are there for another 30 years …hahaha !!!!

We do not need observers and their Radios

Now Let us  jam it call Bob Marley Please …

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qc7_RaJh8rY

I do not Need Observer at my own election.

Let them observe their own.

They never  invite me to observe their sham dumped  election ? Look What they say about my election of  2005:_

It is time the EU and US realise that the current regime in Ethiopia is repressing the people because it lacks democratic legitimacy “

Ana Gomes

EU election observer_

___

Marquee Ethiopia Election Matchup Pits PM vs Former Comrade

VOA Peter Heinlein | Addis Ababa 17 March 2010

Ethiopia’s May 23 elections for parliament have produced some interesting match-ups, with several prominent government officials facing stiff competition.  One contest pits Prime Minister Meles Zenawi against a former comrade in arms, Aregash Adane.
Aregash Adane seems an unlikely challenger to one of Africa’s most respected leaders. Invited for an interview about her bid to unseat the prime minister, she arrives on foot. No aides, no driver, no car.
“I’m only a few kilometers away,” she explains, “and I like to walk”.
Aregash Adane knows Meles Zenawi well. They are both from Adwa, in the northern Tigray region. The legislative seat they are contesting represents the town. She is three years older than the 54-year-old prime minister, but says they have close family ties.
“Adwa is both his home and my home. His family and my family are very close. They are friends. We are neighbors,” she added.
Mr. Meles and Ms. Aregash began their political careers as comrades in a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla group, the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).  They fought together to overthrow the murderous Dergue regime led by the Communist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam.  When the Dergue collapsed in 1991, the TPLF seized power.
Mr. Meles became leader of both the TPLF and the new ruling coalition called the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).  Ms. Aregash was the senior female member of the decision-making central committee.
But in 2001, a power struggle split the TPLF.  Mr. Meles crushed his opponents.  The rival faction, including Aregash Adane, was banished to the political wilderness.
Ms. Aregash says since then, Mr. Meles has followed Leninist principles, establishing himself as the head of a one-party Revolutionary Democratic state.
“It’s a dictatorship,” she noted.  “Revolutionary Democracy is a philosophy of communism or socialism. It was designed by Lenin to create a certain period where they could develop and transit to socialism, so the ideology itself is very dictatorial.”
Ms. Aregash says her challenge to the prime minister is not personal, but policy-driven.  She argues that after 19 years in power, the EPRDF’s promise of democratic socialism has failed to materialize.  She calls Revolutionary Democracy an ideology of the past.
“The EPRDF government has failed in the sense that it didn’t build or create democratic institutions in the country,” she explained.  “There is no era of socialism, at least in the immediate future, so the ideology which Meles is still following is, I believe wrong, so I challenge him.”
The former guerrilla fighter says voters in Adwa are responding to her message, but she doubts Mr. Meles and the ruling party will give up power through the ballot box.  She says Ethiopia’s elections are stage-managed affairs designed to produce a desired outcome while giving the impression of multi-party democracy.
“If people voted against EPRDF, they are not ready to accept it, so they have to create an environment where the opposition couldn’t get a majority,” she said.  “The only thing it’s trying to do is portray he’s creating an environment where the election has been held democratically.”
The May 23 election will be the first parliamentary poll since the disputed 2005 vote, which gave the ruling party a solid majority. Allegations of fraud led to violent demonstrations in which nearly 200 protestors were killed. Scores of opposition leaders were tried and sentenced to life in prison for their part in the protests, but later pardoned.
Ethiopia’s most recent elections, the 2008 local council polls, also gave the ruling party an overwhelming victory. After most opposition parties boycotted, the EPRDF and its allies won all but three of 3.6 million seats being contested

Ethiopia’s May 23 elections for parliament have produced some interesting match-ups, with several prominent government officials facing stiff competition.  One contest pits Prime Minister Meles Zenawi against a former comrade in arms, Aregash Adane.
Aregash Adane seems an unlikely challenger to one of Africa’s most respected leaders. Invited for an interview about her bid to unseat the prime minister, she arrives on foot. No aides, no driver, no car.
“I’m only a few kilometers away,” she explains, “and I like to walk”.
Aregash Adane knows Meles Zenawi well. They are both from Adwa, in the northern Tigray region. The legislative seat they are contesting represents the town. She is three years older than the 54-year-old prime minister, but says they have close family ties.
“Adwa is both his home and my home. His family and my family are very close. They are friends. We are neighbors,” she added.
Mr. Meles and Ms. Aregash began their political careers as comrades in a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla group, the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).  They fought together to overthrow the murderous Dergue regime led by the Communist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam.  When the Dergue collapsed in 1991, the TPLF seized power.
Mr. Meles became leader of both the TPLF and the new ruling coalition called the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).  Ms. Aregash was the senior female member of the decision-making central committee.
But in 2001, a power struggle split the TPLF.  Mr. Meles crushed his opponents.  The rival faction, including Aregash Adane, was banished to the political wilderness.
Ms. Aregash says since then, Mr. Meles has followed Leninist principles, establishing himself as the head of a one-party Revolutionary Democratic state.
“It’s a dictatorship,” she noted.  “Revolutionary Democracy is a philosophy of communism or socialism. It was designed by Lenin to create a certain period where they could develop and transit to socialism, so the ideology itself is very dictatorial.”
Ms. Aregash says her challenge to the prime minister is not personal, but policy-driven.  She argues that after 19 years in power, the EPRDF’s promise of democratic socialism has failed to materialize.  She calls Revolutionary Democracy an ideology of the past.
“The EPRDF government has failed in the sense that it didn’t build or create democratic institutions in the country,” she explained.  “There is no era of socialism, at least in the immediate future, so the ideology which Meles is still following is, I believe wrong, so I challenge him.”
The former guerrilla fighter says voters in Adwa are responding to her message, but she doubts Mr. Meles and the ruling party will give up power through the ballot box.  She says Ethiopia’s elections are stage-managed affairs designed to produce a desired outcome while giving the impression of multi-party democracy.
“If people voted against EPRDF, they are not ready to accept it, so they have to create an environment where the opposition couldn’t get a majority,” she said.  “The only thing it’s trying to do is portray he’s creating an environment where the election has been held democratically.”  The May 23 election will be the first parliamentary poll since the disputed 2005 vote, which gave the ruling party a solid majority. Allegations of fraud led to violent demonstrations in which nearly 200 protestors were killed. Scores of opposition leaders were tried and sentenced to life in prison for their part in the protests, but later pardoned.
Ethiopia’s most recent elections, the 2008 local council polls, also gave the ruling party an overwhelming victory. After most opposition parties boycotted, the EPRDF and its allies won all but three of 3.6 million seats being contested

————–

US criticizes Ethiopia’s “jamming” of Voice of America

WASHINGTON, D.C. (BNO NEWS) — The United States condemned Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles’ decision to jam Voice of America’s Amharic Service, the U.S. State Department said on Friday.

The U.S. also condemned Meles’ comparison of their programming to Radio Mille Collines, a radio station that projected racist propaganda and hate during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.

“Comparing a respected and professional news service to a group that called for genocide in Rwanda is a baseless and inflammatory accusation that seeks only to deflect attention away from the core issue,” said State Department acting spokesman Gordon Duguid.

“The Prime Minister may disagree with news carried in Voice of America’s Amharic Service broadcasts; however, a decision to jam VOA broadcasts contradicts the Government of Ethiopia’s frequent public commitments to freedom of the press,” Duguid added.

The U.S. said the Ethiopian Constitution states that all citizens have the right to freedom of expression “without any interference” and that this right shall include freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds, “regardless of frontiers.”

Ethiopian Shadow Puppet electoral 3 round Debates

Chinese Shadow Puppet Theater type Electoral

Debate 1

Ethiopian Electoral Puppet Show

_______________
____

____

__

debate 2round2
____

____

____
Debate 2 round3
__

____

——————————————————————————————————-

Debate 3 Round 1
__ __

____

Debate3 round2
____

______

__

__

Debate3 Round3
____

____
====================================================================

-_____________________________________

Ethiopian opposition parties threaten election boycott

News Africa news

Ethiopia’s main opposition coalition Wednesday threatened to pull out of the 23 May parliamentary elections, citing intimidation of party supporters and its inability to field candidates against the ruling party, PANA reported from here.

The eight political parties, under the Forum for Democratic Dialogue (Forum), led by Dr. Merara Gudina, said they were considering pulling out of the parliamentary race, if the harassment of supporters continued ahead of the polls.

“We cannot give the electorate a false promise that we will compete fairly in the upcoming elections,” said Engineer Gizachew Sheferew, the deputy chair of the forum.

The Forum is considered one of the most formidable challengers to the ruling Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Party (EPRDF) under the leadership of Meles Zenawi, the Ethiopian Prime Minister.

The EPRDF said the opposition parties were only interested in building a case for a post-election violence.

“We are unable to conduct the normal process of a democratic election, which includes the registration of candidates, the registration of voters,” Bulcha Mideksa, head of the party’s Foreign Relations Committee, told PANA.

“There is no possibility of us talking to the people. It is impossible to hold political rallies because the government will not allow us,” said Mideksa.

The opposition politicians spoke hours after the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) extended the registration of voters for an additional five days.

The Forum, however, said the five days were not enough to register more voters.

At least 27 million voters have registered for the elections, out of an estimated 32 million eligible to vote.

“We want to inform the public that we are not operating according to a normal political scenario of a free and fair election,” Mideksa added.

“There is a mini-war against us. There are places where our candidates cannot register, they are being intimidated and the government has blocked us from changing the candidates who have not registered for the elections,” the party leader said.

Prof. Beyene Petros, of the United Ethiopian Democratic Force, a member of the Forum, said opposition parties had about 50 per cent of their candidates blocked from registering for various elective positions during the upcoming elections.

“The best gift the government can give to the people of Ethiopia is to organise free and fair elections, free of intimidation,” Gudian told a news conference.

Ethiopia is set to hold its parliamentary elections on 23 May and the party with a majority of the seats in the 545-seat parliament forms the next government after the elections.

The Forum said it would form a government of national unity, bringing together all the opposition groups, including rebel groups in the country’s Southern region.

Addis Ababa – Pana 18/02/2010