Reaction to EU’s decision to send Election Monitors to Ethiopia


Will the EU embark in the farse, by observing Ethiopian elections while main opposition leader is jailed for life? – Free Birtukan Medeksa

Press Release

Ana Gomes
Member of the European Parliament the EU-ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly meeting this week in Tenerife (Canary Island, Spain), MEP Ana Gomes (S&D, Portugal) questioned the European Commission on the credibility of the coming elections in Ethiopia if, apart from the lack of media freedom and other crucial conditions, the leader of the main opposition party could not run for the elections for having been thrown in jail, for life, by the regime of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

Commissioner Piebalgs, responsible for Development, stated that the imprisonment of “popular” Ms. Birtukan Medeksa “can undermine the credibility of elections” and that that view had been conveyed by the EU Commission to the Ethiopian authorities. Nevertheless, he informed, High Representative Ashton had just made the decision to send a EU Election Observation Mission to Ethiopia.

For Ana Gomes this is “disturbing news”.

“I fear the EU will embark in legitimising a farse. As Head of the EU Election Observation Mission in 2005 I know that Meles Zenawi regime, despite all the rethoric on transition to democracy and development, only seeks international endorsement to continue its oppressive and repressive rule in Ethiopia”, Ana Gomes said.

Ana Gomes noted that Ms. Birtukan Medeksa, a 36 years old African woman politician and a young mother, was jailed for a pretext which cannot be a crime in any democratic country She was sentenced for life in 2008 for having publicly stated that she was forced to sign a pardon request, upon which in 2007 she was released from jail, where she had been since the massive opposition arrests in the aftermath of the 2005 elections.

MEP Gomes also alerted to reports that Ms. Birtukan Medeksa is now being denied medical assistance in Kaliti prison.


Strategic Blunder of Historic Proportion

Ginbot 7 Statement dismayed as we are to hear the news of the EU’s decision to send a team of election observers to monitor the 2010 sham election in Ethiopia; we are also gratified by the unflappable courage and principled stand of Ms. Ana Gomes, who led the EU-EOM team to Ethiopia in 2005. We salute her commitment to democracy and social justice in Ethiopia and around the world.

From the vantage point of the overwhelming majority of Ethiopians and astute political observers, the upcoming election in Ethiopia is nothing more than window-dressing to maintain the status quo (Meles’ iron fisted hold on power).

In a country where the TPLF regime sets the rules of the game for elections and continues to impose and enjoy exclusive political domination, it is ludicrous for the European Union, or, anybody else to presume that there will ever be free and fair elections in Ethiopia.

However, what the EU can count on is that the election will be rigged; opposition candidates will be harassed, intimidated, and will be mercilessly attacked by the regime’s security forces or its minions.

A rogue regime that openly threatens its opponents with post “election” imprisonment and flamboyantly declares to the world that it is jamming the quintessential voice of democracy [Voice of America]; has no credibility and legitimacy whatsoever, to hold a plausible election worth observing.

If the EU wants to play a role in this travesty of an election, even by African standards, so be it. However, for the record, we would urge the EU to reconsider its decision, since it will damage its credibility and compromise its moral authority to observe future elections. The Ethiopian election is already won and it will be tragic if the EU signs of on it with the usual platitudes.

Ginbot 7 would like to remind, once again, members of the European Union that the Ethiopian people have irreconcilable differences with the tyrannical regime of Meles Zenawi that has wreaked havoc on the country for 19 years. We will remain resolute in our commitment to “free our country” and will continue our struggle until a genuinely democratic Ethiopia rises from the ashes of tyranny.

Source: Ginbot 7