Addis Abeba – The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) has condemned the government and security forces for restricting the freedom of opposition political parties to hold their general assembly, inquired ministry of justice to make accountable those who arrested and harassed their members.
In its latest statement, NEBE said that the opposition Enat Party, Balderas For True Democracy and Gurage Unity and Justice Party (GOGOT) were among the political parties that have received undue pressure from the government and denied of their rights to hold their general assembly.
Enat , Balderas for Real Democracy and Gogot for Gurage Unity and Justice Parties were among those who were restricted from holding meetings and whose members were imprisoned.
Enat party, while it scheduled its general assembly to hold at the Trinity University hall was interrupted by the law enforcement officers.
Balderas for Real Democracy Party was also obstructed from holding its general meeting that was scheduled to be held at Gambella Hotel due to threats from officials and the security forces.
On the other hand, the next day of holding its assembly two members of Gogot Party Jonathan Solomon and Ramadhan Mulugeta were arrested by the Federal Police and handed over to the Southern Regional Police, the board stated.
The parties were not allowed to hold their meetings and that the harassment and obstruction during the process was unacceptable, the board stated, adding that the “board was under a lot of pressure that obstruct discharging its responsibilities given by law.
The Board said such incidents violate the board’s responsibility to protect the rights of political parties which was stipulated under article 11/33/2011, suppress the parties freedom and restricts the board’s capacity to discharge its legal duties.
It urged the minister of justice to investigate the incident and prosecute perpetrators, release the detainee politicians and allow the parties to assemble in government-owned convention halls.The board’s decree 1162/2011 and the political parties’ internal regulation obligate the parties to hold meetings regularly.
On Monday March 13, some 12 leaders and officials of the GOGOT were detained by the government security forces while they were returning home after attending the party’s general assembly which was held yesterday at Wabi Shebele Hotel in Addis Abeba last Monday. Of the 12, 10 of them were released on Tuesday, a day after their detention. AS