HRLHA Urgent Action
February 16, 2015
According to a schedule released by the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia, citizens will go to the polls to elect a new government on 24 May 2015. It will be Ethiopia’s fifth national election since EPRDF came to power in 1991.
In connection with the coming National Election of Ethiopia, the ruling EPRDF government has begun to wage a widespread campaign to secure again the 99.6% of parliamentarian seats it has controlled since 2010- the seats it acquired by electoral fraud. As the election date of May 2015 approaches, the government of Ethiopia has unabashedly continued its systematic violence against opposition political parties’ leaders, members, and supporters. Candidates of the opposition political parties are the major targets in all regional states in the country including the capital city, Finfinne/Addis Ababa. For example, the information that the HRLHA has obtained through its correspondents indicates that hundreds of election candidates of the opposition OFC (Oromo Federalist Congress) party from most zones of Oromia Regional State have been arrested and sent to prisons.
In the most recent wave of arrests and imprisonments that has been going on since the first week of January, 2015 and which has touched almost all corners of Oromia, hundreds of OFC party leaders, members and supporters from all walks of life have been taken from their homes and work places and sent to prison.
According to the HRLHA reporter, in this particular political violence by the ruling party against the OFC party leaders, members and supporters in western Oromia zone Qellem, Dabidolo and Gambit districts, in the eastern Wallagga zone Guduru, Nunu Qumbq, and Wama Haagaloo districts, in the Eastern Oromia Zone in the Western Hararge zone in Masala district, in the Southern Oromia zone in Robe – Bale town Regional State of Oromia have been taken to prison.
The HRLHA reporter has managed to obtain the names of the following few OFC leaders currently held in prison: 1, Mr. Dula Maatiyoos, chairman of the OFC political party in Qelem district, 2. Mr. Abiyot Tadesse, Chairman of the OFC political party in Dambi Dollo district, 3. Mr Zelalam Shuma, chairman of the OFC political party in Sayyo district, and 4. Mr. Mezgebu Tolessa, chairman of the OFC in Gidami district.
The HRLHA strongly condemns the EPRDF government’s move towards the systematic elimination of the opposition parties from the coming election in order to control again all parliamentarians’ seats for itself as has happened in the previous four elections. It should be remembered that the EPRDF has claimed victory in the elections of 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2010- ever since the fall of the military/ Derg regime of 1991 and the adoption of a new constitution in August 1995.
The HRLHA calls on the Western allies of the ruling TPLF/EPRDF party as well as regional and international diplomatic, development and donor agencies to put pressure on the Ethiopian government and demand an immediate halt to this extra-judicial and unconstitutional act of violence and the unconditional release of those innocent citizens whose arrests and imprisonment are purely political. It also calls on those bodies to put additional pressure on the ruling TPLD/EPRDF party to organize a truly free and fair election, and prepare itself to participate accordingly.