Ethiopia : Two election observers killed , says Opposition leader Merara Gudina

May 26,2015

Merara Gudina  during his election campaign.
Merara Gudina during his election campaign.

Two elections observers are reportedly killed on Sunday during Ethiopia ‘s general election which is criticized by observers for widespread and gross violations of human rights.

Merara Gudina, former political science professor at Addis Ababa University who was dismissed from his professorial tenure a few months before the May 24 election, told ESAT the election was marked by outright daylight robbery of ballot papers and that the election was in most cases presided over by armed local militia, members of the Federal police and special forces.

From what Merara Gudina told to ESAT, the two election observers are killed in Arsi Kofele and Ambo areas. In addition, many other observers, according to Merara Gudina,were attacked by armed militias and special forces. Some are hospitalized while others are even denied access to hospital, indicates Merara Gudian’s phone interview with Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT).

Merara Gudina, who is the leader of Oromo people’s congress and one of the leadership of opposition coalition – MEDREK- , added that candidates from his party won at least in 20 riding of the 70 riding where his party fielded candidates. Results for more than 50 ridings is not available as it is robbed, in his words, by armed men and supporters of the ruling party who are said to have presided over the voting process in areas his party run both for federal and regional parliaments.

Merara Gudina is not alone in his complaints of killing and harassment of election observers. Beyene Petros, chairman of ethnic based opposition coalition The Ethiopian Federal Democratic Unity (MEDREK) and leader of Hadya Party, told ESAT that observers and party supporters were harassed on Southern Ethiopia during the election on Sunday.

It is clear that the ruling party extended its 24 years of rule, which many observers and human rights group identify with wide spread attack on civilians, attack on the free press and freedom of expression, and the election has virtually lost its credibility.

No western observers were present during this General election in Ethiopia. African Union(AU) observed the election and is said to have stated, in a preliminary report, that the election meets AU standards and guidelines , and that it is credible .

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