Government’s critics weigh options after ruling party landslide leads to loss of faith in ballot box while case of Zone 9 bloggers discourages free speech
by William Davison
On the very day Ethiopia’s ruling party celebrated another crushing electoral victory, a young blogger on trial under anti-terrorism laws in an Addis Ababa courtroom lashed out at the authorities.
“You yourself should respect the law,” said Abel Wabella, 28, from the Zone 9 blogging group, after judges denied him the chance to protest against the tortuous pace of legal proceedings that began more than a year ago.
To no one’s surprise, Ethiopia’s ruling party, the Ethiopian People’s Ruling Democratic Front (EPRDF), swept the country’s recent national elections. In the last election, the ruling party collected 99.6 percent of the parliamentary seats, while during these elections it has so far won all of the 442 declared seats (with little more than 100 seats yet to be confirmed). To paraphrase U.S. Under-Secretary Wendy Sherman’s widely ridiculed recent comments, Ethiopia’s democracy keeps getting “better and better.”
In the days and weeks preceding the latest elections, there was some coverage of Ethiopia’s repressive socio-political and rights context. Observers highlighted the ruling regime’s long stranglehold on power
On May 24, Ethiopians went to the polls to elect representatives for federal and regional legislatures in an election whose outcome was never in question. While final result of the elections are still pending, the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) announced that preliminary numbers show the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and its regional affiliates winning every single seat counted so far. Whatever number of seats the opposition might get, the EPRDF is poised to remain the country’s sole dominant political force for at least the next five years.
It is a decade since we began striving together to transform the Conservative Party into a modern force fit for government, so I was delighted to see you confound your critics again at last month’s Election.
You can take great pleasure in your triumph. Last week, however, saw the hard slog start again of sorting out public finances with the latest cuts. Like many, I share your determination to improve the cost and delivery of state services.
Sensible voters will not quibble with fewer consultants in the Ministry of Justice or scrapping an expensive research programme into urban seagulls, let alone imposing a £23,000 cap on household benefits – something even Labour now supports.
The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.
… Dante Alighieri
by Teshome Debalke
Neutral or nonpolitical institutions, particularly Medias; whatever it meant is only known to them. They probably are faking to mean impartial or independent to mislead. It could also mean a free ride to divert the public attentions in disguise. In the worst scenario; it is meant to push propaganda in disguise. Whatever they meant, it stinks like a rotten egg. Regardless, they are in the darkest place on earth.
There is no such thing neutral or nonpolitical especially in dictatorship. Eating food is political. Breathing the air is political. Speaking your mind is political. Robbing the public votes, resources, rights…are all political. Only the dead are
Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front (ARDUF) | Press Release
As expected, the incumbent TPLF/EPRDF ruling party in Ethiopia won last week’s fifth national Elections. As expected the ruling party won 100 per cent of the votes. The final results are still being awaited as how much of the so far not announced 125 seats the ruling party will allot to the opposition parties. There were no inflated expectations and illusions on the part of the opposition parties. As usual, the opposition parties are saying they will not accept the final results. All seem to be as ‘ usual as every five years’. ‘Business as usual’. But let us add just for the time being. Because everybody is waiting for things will not be the same as usual. This time, it will not be ‘business as usual’. Let there be no ambiguity about it.
In April 2014, nine bloggers and journalists were arrested in Ethiopia. Several of these men and women had worked with Zone9, a collective blog that covered social and political issues in Ethiopia and promoted human rights and government accountability. And four of them were Global Voices authors. In July 2014, they were charged under the country’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. They have been behind bars ever since, their trial postponed time and again.
This marks the third post in our series – “They Have Names” – that seeks to highlight the individual bloggers who are currently in jail. We wish to humanize them, to tell their particular and peculiar stories. This story comes from Nwachukwu Egbunike, a Nigerian poet, writer, and blogger who has worked with Global Voices since 2011.
What do you get when you cross a thugocracy with democracy?
When thugs are “elected” to political office, they become thugmocrats. Naturally, “elected” thugmocrats run thugmocracies.
If democracy is a government of the people, by the people for the people, a thugmocracy is a government of thugs, by thugs, for thugs.
A thugmocracy is a form of “government” in which the facade of representative electoral democracy is used to maintain and perpetuate the iron rule of a bunch of bush thugs who use state power to line their pockets and their cronies’ pockets.