(AFP) Ethiopia’s main opposition party on Friday condemned weekend elections, which saw the ruling party cruise back into office, as a “disgrace” and proof the country was a one-party state.
According to preliminary results from last Sunday’s elections, the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn secured all 442 parliamentary seats so far declared out of the 547 seats up for grabs.
The EPRDF, in power in Africa’s second-most populous nation for over two decades, were widely expected to secure a near clean sweep of parliament, and the outgoing chamber had just one opposition MP — but even this was taken by the ruling party.
In the good old days, it used to be the tradition of dictators to sit at home and never show their faces in the capitals or in most parts of their own countries. They respected the self-imposed isolation in the grand palace prison they constructed and did not pretend to love or be loved.
It was a very refreshing condition for their subjects. They listened to the pronouncements of the dictator on the radio, watched the dictator cutting some ribbon surrounded by his security force on television or read about him in the local rag that passed itself as a newspaper.
Modern dictatorships rely on repression and control of the economy, military, media and culture. They also develop nationalistic ideologies and they create groups and mass organisations that build links within the elite and with the masses.
People take part in a Blue Party election rally in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, May 21, 2015.
.May 28, 2015
(VOA NEWS) ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — Are you a journalist?” the young man asks me as we board the elevator.
In Ethiopia, this is a loaded question. It earned me an extra 45-minute wait at airport immigration as officials thumbed through my passport, pawed through my luggage and asked me what my intentions were.
Several international human rights groups have documented the systematic repression of Ethiopian journalists who were openly critical of the ruling party. About a dozen journalists and bloggers are in Ethiopian prison, accused of terrorism. Many more have fled into exile and are covering this year’s election from afar.
Readers may remember that I was recently involved in a dispute with Tecola Hagos over his article
unjustly criticizing the conference on the Horn of Africa, organized by ESAT (seehttp://www.ethiomedia.com/100leads/4867). In addition to criticizing his assessment of the conference, my article disapproved his call for a military dictatorship. At the same time, I recognized the rationale that led Tecola to make such a baffling proposal. I noted that he had lost all hope in the possibility of the TPLF reforming itself, even as the necessity of reforms springs