Voter registration is not happening in some parts of Ethiopia for the sixth general election. Security issues among factors impeding it
Voter Registration – Ethiopian Election
The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) on Wednesday had a meeting with opposition parties in the country regarding voter registration for the sixth general election.
According to Ethiopian News Agency report, which cited Chairperson of the Board, only about half of the polling stations across the country are currently operational and undertaking election related activities.
The Board said there are 50,000 polling stations in the country and only 25,151 of them are operational.
It was said that there are several reasons that hampered voter registration. In some places, the reason has something to do with the security situation. Places like Horo Guduru Wollega and Benishangul Gumuz regions are among those where registration is not underway.
Similarly, Afar and Somali regions of Ethiopia have not started registration as of April 14, 2021 – as disclosed by the Board. What was said to be a conflict over “border” between the two regions, sometime last week, claimed at least the lives of about 100 people and dozens of others were wounded.
Displacement of residents from conflict affected regions were also among factors that affected voter registration. Challenges related to logistics including transportation, in some places, are counted as problems that affected the process.
Furthermore, the Board announced that over 200,000 residents of Addis Ababa, the capital, obtained their voter registration card.
Opposition party members have made complaints, as reported by ENA, that their members and supporters are harassed by authorities in some parts of the country. In some cases there were arrests too. The Board called it “something that should not have happened.”
From the Board said, much of the challenge in that regard was in regional states. Federal government authorities had to step in some instances to secure the release of opposition party members, as witnessed by the Election Board, who were arrested in what appeared to be repressive measures.
Representatives of the ruling Prosperity Party at the meeting also pledged that they will resolve problems related to repression.
Two opposition members have been killed in a span of two months. One in Oromia region and Benishangul Gumuz region. Berihun Asferaw, a candidate of National Movement of Amhara (NaMA), was killed in Wombera district of Benishangul where he was running to represent the party in the regional council.
In Oromia region, member of Ethiopian Citizens For Social Justice (EZEMA) was assassinated in mid-February of this year.
The Ethiopian Election was supposed to take place in August 2020 but was postponed due to the Coronavirus situation.
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