Pre 2015 election and the fate of the oposition

Firehiywot GulummaaBy Firehiwot Guluma Tezera

10 July 2014

Pre 2015 election and the fate of the oposition

When we talk about election in Ethiopia, the 2005 national election has becomes foremost as previous elections under both Derg and EPRDF were fake. The national election of 2005 has shown a hint of democracy until election date in Addis Ababa but in regions it was until one month before the voting date. The ruling party has been harassing the opposition and has killed strong opposition candidates. In Addis Ababa the hint of democracy disappeared after the ruling party diverted the election results.

Having no other option than forcefully suppressing the anger of the people caused by its altering of election results, the ruling party intensified the harassment and killing. So the outcome for the opposition was either to go to prison or follow the path given by EPRDF.  Election 2005 ended in this manner.

The plan of the ruling party to give a quarter of the 540 parliamentary seats to the opposition and to minimize outside pressure and to restart the flow of foreign aid was unsuccessful. The election has made the party to assess itself. Even though it was widely accepted that EPRDF had altered the outcome of the 2005 election and had not anticipated the outcome, many have expected that the party will correct its mistakes. But the party says it has learnt from its mistakes but it made the following strategies:

Measures taken post 2005 election

  1. To harass print medias and to formulate and implement harassing press legislatures
  2. The government is the main American ally in east Africa in the anti-terrorist campaign. Through this it gets significant military and financial aid. Using this as a pretext the government formulated and implemented anti-terror laws and used it to harass and imprison parties that struggle peacefully. And through this to weaken peacefull struggle.
  3. Labeling jobless youth as dangerous and discriminating against the educated was identified as mistake during the election. To correct it they tried to share benefits by replacement and to appoint to political positions and making them members
  4. Letting jobless youth to organize and allowing them to get loans but making party membership a precondition and to stop youth joining the opposition by means of benefit
  5. To organize the rest of the people in groups of five and to disperse security personnel among the people and make difficult for the opposition to work with the people
  6. To change the roads built by aid organizations by cobble stone by employing unemployed youth. Employing the youth was good but they request exaggerated amount from the people. By doing this they are hitting two birds with one stone, to make its members beneficiaries and increase their numbers.

EPRDF used the above strategies for the preparation of 2010 elections. By implementing the strategies it has succeeded in increasing its members but they were not genuine supporters but they supported for benefits. When such kind of members increase it becomes difficult to fulfill their benefits and at the end they become corruptionists. And they will become the ultimate enemies of the party.

The strategies mentioned above have enabled the party to claim to be winning 99% of the votes. The next day the then prime minister said” the people have given us 5 years contract believing that we have learnt from our past mistakes. This is a big warning for us. If we don’t live to their expectation they will take away their votes.” This was his scorning speech. But both the people and they know how they won and the 2010 election was declared error free.

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