Ethiopia to allow foreign observers for 2010 polls but not..

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Ethiopia to allow foreign observers for 2010 polls but not..

Unread post by Ethiopians » 17 Sep 2009 17:52

Ethiopia to allow foreign observers for 2010 polls but not...
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has hinted that his administration will allow international observers into the country for the May/June 2010 federal and regional elections, despite the Premier's disagreement with Ana Gomes, chief of the EU Election Observer to Ethiopia's 2005 elections.

Meles told journalists here Wednesday that the observers would be allowed to come if they would focus on the process of the elections rather than the outcomes and testify according to their observation.

However, he said his administration would screen the obserbers ''to avoid people like Ana Gomes''.
'We will make sure that the type of colour revolutionaries [Ana Gomes] we had around last time [in 2005] do not find their way here to national elections' observation,' the Premier said.

Gomes had accused the ruling Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), led by Meles, of rigging the 2005 elections.

The aftermath was characterised by violence following protests spearheaded by a group of opposition parties under the umbrella Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) that fiercely challenged EPRDF.

CUD had won the entire 138 but one seat in the Addis Ababa City Council but failed to take power. It also had got significant seats at the Federal Parliament.

About 200 people were killed by security forces while thousands - including leaders, members and supporters of CUD as well as journalists - were imprisoned in the more than two months show down between EPRDF and CUD.


The government claims that if it not taken such measures, the country would have faced grave chaos, including ethnic cleansing. Some riot police were also killed by protesters that the government labelled hooligans.

Meles' government accused Gomez of siding with CUD due to personal attachments to its leaders and inciting the public to reverse the outcome of the elections in the Georgian model â" â?Orange Revolution'.

Analysts believe that the 2005 incident highly affected Melesâ? record as one of Africa's progressive leaders.

Meles said his administration was determined to make the 2010 elections peaceful and democratic, though a recent report by the International Crisis Group (ICG) suggests otherwise.

The theme of ICGâ?s 45-page report, 'Ethiopia: Ethnic Federalism and Its Discontents', released on 4 September, 2009, is that the ruling coalition, EPRDF, has to improve governance or risk ethnic conflict during the elections. It said the conflict wo uld also destabilise the entire Horn of Africa.

Asked about the ICG report, Meles said angrily: 'The value of ICG's report is no better than that of the paper it is published on.'

When challenged by journalists to disprove ICG's argument, Meles said it was only when one 'recognises and respects the institution that there is an appropriate response, adding: 'We contempt ICG.'

The ICG report said the ethnic federal administrative system which the EPRDF int roduced about 14 years ago was to blame for the anticipated conflict. It alleges the system has increased ethnic polarization in Ethiopia.

Meanwhile, some opposition politicians have criticised the system as a 'divide-and-rule' approach which the EPRDF devised to ensure it will not be challenged.

'The only thing EPRDF's federalism has achieved is that it helped the party hold tight grip on the people through divide-and-rule system,' Dr. Merera Gudin a, co-Chair of the ethnic Oromo opposition - Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) - and Professor of Political Science and International Relations at the Addis Ababa University, said.

Addis Ababa - 17/09/2009

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