Enat party unable to conduct the required party congress to elect leaders. The government seems to have employed logistics blockade as a playing card to not allow the congress to happen
What led to the establishment of a new administration under Abiy Ahmed in 2018, from within the then-ruling party, EPRDF, was a persistent and ubiquitous popular protest against TPLF repression.
What later became the Prosperity Party under Abiy Ahmed Ali started as an internal movement within the defunct EPRDF. Broadening the political space in the country and rule of law were among the key reform measures that were discussed and Abiy Ahmed promised to deliver them, among other things.
The failure in the area of rule of law is already proved. Now, there are additional indications that “broadening the political space in the country” is failing.
Enat Party, one of the youngest political parties in Ethiopia, is saying that it could not undertake a party congress. Based on the statement from the party, the government repression seems to be manifesting itself in the form of denying the party access to much needed logistics to the congress Auditorium.
According to the party, three reservations were canceled. The first reservation was a public venue that is said to be under the Ministry of Culture and Sports in the Sidist kilo area. The party said it got a greenlight first but it was withdrawn later.
The next attempt was in the Kirkos sub-city. An arrangement was made through the agency of the Political Parties Joint Council but it was canceled again 48 hours into the party congress which was supposed to be attended by 700 participants from across the country. Enat Party unspecified why the place was not allowed and what entity was behind it.
The manner in which the third reservation got canceled seems to suggest that the government is behind it and the action demonstrates that the pledge to broaden the political space in the country is crossed off.
The statement from Enat Party indicated that it approached Kidist Selassie University to rent a Hall that is used for weddings. It appeared as if it was a smooth process. The legal requirement was met and the fee was paid. Supplies for the meeting were even stocked, according to the party.
As participants of the congress head to the Hall for the event, the organizers were told that the congress can not take place. Why? Enat Party said that it was told the last-minute cancellation is due to “government directives.”
Bertukan Medeksa, Chair of the National Electoral Board, reportedly stepped in to resolve the matter. That did not happen. The party expressed gratitude for the effort she made.
The party was unable to undertake the congress and elect leaders – as required by the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE).
Furthermore, it said that it spent three million Ethiopian birr to prepare the congress. 700 party representatives from across the country had to travel to Addis Ababa. It seems that the party is paying for it all.
It is also said that the party is impacted psychologically.
In spite of that, the way party members dealt with the matter and the interaction with law enforcement forces reflected civility and patience, according to Enat Party and it is counting it as an asset.
The party said it will notify members about the next phases of the peaceful struggle, and asked for patience.
“The way to compensate for what we lost is by working more; by taking three or more fold steps than what we had. Let that be known and let us work, wherever we are, to make the public,” the party said.
Also, the party said it will take the matter to court to get justice and called on Ethiopians to support the party.
The Ministry of Government Communications Affairs did release a statement explaining why Enat Party was not allowed to have its congress when it is a legal entity recognized by the Electoral Board.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government has recently said that it has built a strong security force.
And there are clear signs of move along the path to repression as his government lost considerable public support.
The incident last Thursday in Addis Ababa whereby government security forces took forceful action against people who were celebrating Adwa Victory and against worshipers at St. George Church, which Human Rights Commission called “unnecessary,” are the latest examples for the moves in the direction of dictatorship – and it is going to be an ethnic nationalist dictatorship – just like one that Ethiopia had for nearly thirty years after the fall of Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam government in 1991.
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