The Board has requested the Ministry of Justice initiate a criminal investigation into those behind unlawful prohibition and lay charges
The law in Ethiopia requires registered political parties in the country to undertake a party congress at least once in three years.
However, opposition political parties have been facing, at least in the past few weeks, politically motivated repressions from the government bodies.
And their plight is noticed by the Election Board of Ethiopia. In fact, the board is making it clear that the action on the part of government authorities is a criminal offense.
Fana Broadcasting Corporate(FBC), State Media, cited the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) as saying that it has confirmed Balderas and Enat Parties were not allowed to undertake their party congress.
The Board also said, as reported by FBC, that leaders of Gogot for Guraghe Unity and Justice Party were arrested after conducting their congress.
“The prohibition by some security forces against some political parties not to have their party congress and the arrest of some constitutes a criminal offense,” the Board said.
The decision from the board is for the Ministry of Justice to direct the matter to criminal justice and lay charges against those who violated the law.
The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia believes that those who prevented a lawful meeting of the opposition parties are in violation of article 40 of Ethiopia’s penal code in addition to failure to discharge responsibilities as law enforcement bodies.
The illegal prohibition was executed in the form of threatening service providers who rent out meeting places to cancel reservations for the above-mentioned political parties.
Who exactly was behind the action was unclear – perhaps the reason why the Electoral Board asked for a criminal investigation of the matter.
Federal Police and Addis Ababa police authorities were reportedly asked if they were behind the order to sabotage the meetings of the political parties. However, it is said that senior authorities in those institutions did not have the knowledge that the opposition parties were not allowed to have their meetings.
In some cases, party leaders were arrested a day before the party meetings were supposed to take place. Amha Dagnaw, leader of the Balderas Party, for example, was detained by plain cloth police as he got out of his office and detained in the car for several hours.
Despite claims on the part of Abiy Ahmed’s government about reform measures in law enforcement and judiciary, rule of law does seem to be at a crisis level.
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