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Medrek Support Group North America (MSGNA)

The Shamefaced Ruling Party & the Phony 2010 Ethiopian Election

May 26, 2010

In our May 13, 2010 communiqué titled ‘Ethiopian election: Ballots or Bullets? Election Campaign or Terror Campaign?’ we predicted that the election was going to be sham and a sequel political theater to the 2005 election. We said, “History may repeat itself in the May 23, 2010 election. The early warning signs of intimidation and preemptive strikes á la Meles Zenawi has already been unleashed, starting with the murder of Aregawi Gebreyohannes in Tigray and recent cold blooded killings of Medrek supporters in the Oromia regional state. EPRDF police state is manifested in many ways, ranging from imprisonment of opposition leaders to harassment and killings of Medrek supporters.”

As we have anticipated the EPRDF regime led by Meles Zenawi reassured itself the so-called landslide victory through intimidation and violence. The Ethiopian people were not allowed to vote for candidates/parties of their choosing. The bulk of Ethiopians who registered to vote and vote for Medrek were either detained on their way to the polls, as it happened in many districts and regions including the vast Oromia, the hotbed of the opposition, and in the Amhara and Tigray regions. In Tigray, the shamefaced EPRDF regime did not only harass and detained voters but it also terrorized them by military showdown. Just one day before the election, the government staged a two-and-half hour military training showdown for the sole purpose of scaring people. 

This scaring tactics of the government were accompanied by an early intimidation strategy as experienced by the Afars and the Somalis and by an extensive disinformation strategy. In the Mekanisa area of Addis Ababa, for instance, there were two polling stations; the name of the EPRDF, the ruling party, and its allies was posted on one of the stations; on the second station, designated for the opposition, none of their names was posted. In Tembien, Tigray, the ruling party put its name only on the polling station and voters were told to vote for the EPRDF. By contrast, in District 23 in Addis Ababa (where observers can easily monitor the election process), the EPRDF put is name first on the polling stations (there were 93 stations with 65,000 registered voters), followed by many other opposition parties, including that of Medrek.

In remote parts of the country and in places not too far from Addis Ababa, the EPRDF cadres, militia, and police were all over to make sure that their party snatches all votes. Thus, beyond intimidation and harassment, the government forces resorted to violence. In Ambo (Western Shewa) voters were beaten and forced to disperse. In Northern Gondar (Chilga and Debarq), Western Gojjam, and Northern Wollo, voters were forced to flee from polling stations. In District 18 Kebelle 02 of Addis Ababa, voting started late and in Ferensai Legation the queue was small due to fear that voters perceived as a result of government reprisals.

In Adwa, Tigray, one female journalist confronted Meles Zenawi by asking him a question on his face: “people are saying that there is cheating in the voting,” and the shamefaced Prime Minister, though mesmerized by the question, did not seem to have an answer for the complaint of the people.

The Prime Minister an his party have now claimed the supper majority of the seats in the parliament but one district in Addis Ababa and they also claim that none of the prominent Medrek leaders won. Now, the Ethiopian parliament is only for the EPRDF and its allies, a legislature without opposition!

The EPRDF could claim a fictitious landslide victory but the Ethiopian people will not rest. For one thing, the Ethiopian people know that the election was scandalous and for another, deep in their hearts, they know that Medrek could not be defeated if free and fair elections were held throughout the country. They know too well that Andinet could have garnered the majority of the votes in the Amhara and Oromia regions; that Dr. Beyene Petros and Dr. Merara Guidina could simply win in Southern Peoples regional state and in the Oromia state respectively; that the people of Tigray could have voted for Arena, i.e. for Gebru Asrat and Aregash Adane, and for Siye (representing Andinet in Tigray); that the people of Afar and Somalia could have voted for Medrek as well if they were not harassed and intimidated.

The 2010 election is yet another sign of a direct confrontation of the EPRDF with the Ethiopian people and the ruling party have to answer to the people for all the violence it unleashed when the people, on the contrary, sought peaceful political change through free and fair elections. But the arrogant Meles regime would not listen. Sooner or later, the Ethiopian people will rise and bring the criminal gang of the EPRDF before the court of justice, a newly established institution out of the blood and tears of the Ethiopian people.

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