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Abadula Gemeda responds to allegation of vote rigging in parliament

March 4, 2018

Speaker of the Ethiopian parliament, Abadula Gemeda, appeared on state television today to explain how the criticized and condemned State of Emergency (SoE) draft legislation was approved yesterday.

In his appearance, he stated that members of the parliament debated SoE draft and made amendments to some sections of the draft including on issues of resource allocation to finance the “Command Post”, a body that is already administering the SoE for the next sixth months if it is not extended or for ten months if it is extended, and inalienable human rights as recognized in the constitution, and international laws to which Ethiopia is a signatory. But it is a public knowledge that dozens of civilians have been killed in different parts of the country since the “Command Post” introduced the decree on February 16. Today, for example, at least four civilians are killed in Ambo, Nedjo and other towns in the region. Residents have confirmed the killings to Voice of America Amharic Service. Several others are injured.

But the main controversy is that government didn’t get enough vote to implement the SoE legislation. Audio and video evidence of the parliamentary meeting that was called to discuss the SoE seem to support that. In an audio clip aired by VOA Amharic service, Abdadula, speaker of the house stated that 8 members are absent due to death and variety of reasons. He added that the total number of members of parliament is 539. He went on to state that two-thirds of that number is 339. 346 members voted in favor of the motion and 88 members voted against the motion. 7 members abstained. And he concluded that the SoE decree is passed, only to apologize today after outrage about vote rigging in the country and abroad. “I apologize as speaker of the house for the error in the vote counting,” he said. State media and pro-regime media outlets later came with a figure to support the new narrative. For the opposition, none of that is convincing and rightly so in all fairness. The calculation is simple. The total number of members of parliament who attended the session is only 441. The number of those who voted against it and those who abstained combined with those who did not show up for the vote clearly makes it that the parliament did not enough vote to pass the SoE legislation.

As reported on Friday this week, politicians and activists both in the country and abroad rejected government position the SoE is passed. The reason was that the legislation was not approved by two-thirds of members of the parliament, as required by article 93 of the constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

From Human Rights Organization, Amnesty International rightly condemned the move to approve the SoE, which is fraudulent for many Ethiopians for reasons given above, and called it “irresponsible.”

Residents in Wollega region, Western Ethiopia, told VOA Amharic that the SoE is absolutely unnecessary and that they have doubts that some in the government seem to have hidden agenda in creating the crisis.

Ethiopians in the rest of the country are also opposing it as irrelevant and unnecessary. They rather tend to see it as a cause for havoc in the country.

Video Credit : EBC

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