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Ethiopia:Opposition Jobs

The opposition United Ethiopian Democratic Forces party of Ethiopia says Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s government is threatening to withhold jobs from civil servants and students if they did not support the ruling party. The party describes the alleged tactics as coercive. But the Ethiopian government has denied such tactics. Berhan Hailu is Ethiopia’s minister of information. He tells VOA’s English to Africa reporter James Butty the government is simply following its own civil service guidelines.

“My comment is that their accusation is baseless and unfounded. They don’t have any facts to support such an accusation. We are doing to the level of our best, and the civil servants or other new graduates are employed in the civil service based on merits, based on our laws and regulations,” Hailu said.

Hailu says whether those seeking employment with the Ethiopian government take a test or not depends on the kind of job they are seeking, and whether they get those jobs or not has no relationship to their party affiliation.

“We are strongly working on the merits of the graduates. If they are qualified with education, and also their experience or their skills, they have the right to be employed in the civil service. We don’t have a criteria for graduates to be party members,” Hailu said.

The Ethiopian information minister says the fact that his government has jailed several opposition leaders has nothing to do with who gets jobs in Ethiopia and who does not.

“People who are listening they should have to search by themselves what the reality is in Ethiopia. The reality in Ethiopia is that we are doing to the level of our best to have a good civil service, to have a good government service, and we are building a good democratic system. We have a good plan of implementing civil service reform. They should have a comprehensive understanding of these things. They should not be biased and they should not relate what we are doing here in Ethiopia with political interest,” Hailu said.

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