News / Africa

    No Western Observers for Ethiopian Elections

    Ethiopia mapEthiopia map
    Ethiopia map
    Ethiopia map
    Marthe van der Wolf

    The only international observers during Ethiopia’s elections Sunday will be from the African Union, with opposition parties already feeling the AU observers are not demanding enough in their criticism of Ethiopia's election process, which is dominated by the ruling party.

    Nine long-term AU observers (LTOs) arrived in April, and another 50 short-term observers arrived last week.

    Former Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba, head of the mission, commended Ethiopia for being stable and peaceful even while located in a volatile region.

    “The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia is appointed by the prime minister and approved by the parliament of Ethiopia. The AU LTOs noted that some interlocutors have expressed the concern in the manner of the appointment of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia and urged that more political stakeholders be consulted in order for the process to be more transparent and inclusive," Pohamba said.

    Anti-terrorism law

    The long-term observers also raised concerns about Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism law and how it could be used to undermine freedom of expression and the media’s right to protection of their sources and rights.
    The long-term observers of the African Union have so far visited 20 districts in eight regions and will leave after the first week of June.
    But opposition parties are not impressed with the African Union observers.

    Blue Party spokesman Yonathan Tesfaye said, "We don’t think the AU is an international observer, it’s a legitimacy of dictatorship. It's just a cover. You have the U.S. who refused one way or another, you have the EU who somehow admitted that the previous observations [hadn't] done anything.”

    Ethiopia’s last elections in 2010 were observed by a European Union mission. The The ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) party won those elections in a landslide, taking all but one seat in parliament.

    According to a recent European Union statement, the EU decided to sit out this year's elections because its previous recommendations to Ethiopia were not accepted.

    Government spokesman Redwan Hussein said there was a difference of opinion between the Ethiopian government and the final recommendations of the EU mission.

    'Nothing to do with elections'

    “Whatever prescription they made, it had nothing to do with the election. It has to do with the entire democratic system, and legal system and policy issues. So we didn’t subscribe to that subscription because it has nothing to do with elections," Hussein said.

    Nearly 37 million Ethiopians are registered for the Sunday elections. More than 5,800 candidates from 58 political parties are running for parliament and regional offices.

    Fewew than 1,300 of the candidates are female -- a situation the African Union attributes to a lack of resources and lack of encouragement in Ethiopia's culture.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 3
    by: hadera from: ADDISAbaba
    May 24, 2015 12:07 PM
    some people said TPLF TPLF ...did they understand what she did in the past historical time,to remove the derg regim which was seemingly unremovable .she strongly oppose against any undemocratic act.please give respect to TPLF.

    by: meried from: wildia university
    May 22, 2015 3:22 PM
    First we should be look the past system of ethiopia. In that time people is were killed by the red terror and tortured by derg. But the ethiopian peoples fights for 17 years for their freedom. After that it comes EPRDF and this party is really stands for eqaulity,peace,development. Also EPRDF is creats new jobs for people in coubleston by organization
    , poly tecnic education,productive students in university.
    Another we should to look EPRDF is gives freedom of speech and media. But some medias of ethiopia is controlled by the opposite party and reported the false news also they work to incites violence, terrorism
    Generally EPRDF has stong policy
    -has worked to increase the power of ethiopia
    -it is peacefully party
    -it is develop grean area


    by: abe from: Addis Ababa
    May 22, 2015 12:07 AM
    In general in ethiopia there is no freedom of voice and medias b/c the ruling party is torturing and jails the opposition once totally
    and the corrupted leaders as well as those supporters did not care about Ethiopians.

    by: david from: dallas tx
    May 21, 2015 1:16 PM
    We should set a good example to their new Democracy by Introducing Fund raising without ceilings.....That way they will have free Elections backed by Foreign donors or Local Billionaires like we do here.....Money-Democracy might be somewhat like a bribe or corruption in the system there.....Since it is considered part of the system here it should be so there.....What good is a democracy if you can not export it....we are capable of exporting everything but it democracy or do we think it is?

    by: Gebreyesus from: Addis Abeba
    May 21, 2015 10:54 AM
    EPRDF and their corrupt supporters are looking into the USA anti-terrorism money, but EPRDF controls the police, the court, security, military and the press. Thousands of opposition supporters are in prison, harassed, blocked from getting fertilizer, safety net and so on. Journalists are in jail. Millions of people are starving to death. AU observes don’t care about that since their pocket and stomach are full. We have seen what happened in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Somalia, and Eritrea!

    The National Electoral Board should be a collection of all parties because they are all Ethiopians and have equal right. The police and security should protect voters and EPRDF supporters only. It is getting worst, EPRDF will fall down, and it will be disorder and chaos. Remember 2007 election when over 2,500,000 people came out to the street of Addis Abeba to oppose EPRDF. Silent is not a sign of weakness. EPRDF thinks he can control the people; wrong, individual right should be respected equally without any pre-condition.

    by: kidi
    May 21, 2015 9:56 AM
    how can observe an election when you know the result already. TPLF has been jailing oppostion leaders and journalist to prepare for this day so i wouldn't be surprised if the western countries decided not to attend. their decision comfirms that there is no need to look for democratic election in a place the word democracy itself doesn't exist. As for AU, you can't trust thieves observing another theives so they are irrelevants.
    In Response

    by: Queensheiba from: Africa
    May 24, 2015 3:26 AM
    Kidi ~ nothing will satisfy you unless you see the removal of the current government. The good news now the citizen of Ethiopia will have a voice to determine who is deserving of governing. But you will always find a reason to complain about. Begin by leaving your comfort zone and return to Ethiopia and be part of the solution for a change.

    by: DAVID from: dallas tx
    May 21, 2015 9:05 AM
    Apparenyly we are not being able to buy their elections just like we do could it be legitimate with-out Europeans as observers?....Freedom of the Press?..What freedom?...So we could buy all the Spies we need with-out Impunity?...Their is a fine line between selling your rights to other natons having your rights expressed....It might not be a good field for us to play in with all the Winners being Locals....What good is it if we can not walk-in and buy everything we need when want....

    by: Ezra from: Ethiopia
    May 21, 2015 7:59 AM
    $4 Billion in campaign "donations" is estimate for 2016 U.S. elections. The rich buying political favors openly and it's legal in America...You'll never see rich countries on any Global Corruption Index list, they'll dominate top ranks. Hypocrisy!

    by: ደቦል from: Addis
    May 21, 2015 7:48 AM
    I find it extremely offensive the person from Semayawi to insult the election observer team. If you knew who the Namibian president is and what he achieved for his people you do not have the qualification to carry his bag or tie his shoes.

    Also, who said the elections are for the west? how many Ethiopians or Africans observed the last French or US elections? we don't care what others have to say, he elections are for Ethiopians and not anybody else. Common guys stop being reactionaries!!
    In Response

    by: Tazabi from: Seattle
    May 21, 2015 11:01 AM
    This is cut and dry. The government will never allow democracy to prevail. They have a lot to lose. Money, power. They are also liable to genocide, trason, corruption, torture and embezzlement. Forget AU. AU is a consortium of dictators who do not have any valuse for human dignity. Another point I want to make, Opposition parties should boycott, the election is already rigged and won by EPRDF.

    by: Boonaa Ummataa from: AA
    May 21, 2015 7:20 AM
    It a public secret that the election is just legitimizing the dictator regime & clearly underlined by Meles Zenawi that TPLF won't allow the reign of any party who wish to win just by pen as we came to power through blood, any one who want the power should come through fighting. We understand that TPLF need to be thrown away by the only and only the gun!
    Comments page of 3

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora