“The Mission notes that this is the first time that the Prime Minister is seeking political legitimacy through elections, hence the importance attached to these elections” (African Union, 23.06.2021).
Today, the African Union Election Observation Monitoring Preliminary Statement on the 21st June 2021 Ethiopian Elections. This is two days after the polls and it sets the standards on how many will look at these elections.
We can question the elections long before the polls. That’s because of how the state is operating. There is no safe-space and limited freedom for the opposition. The opposition and the ones who dissent from the current leadership is in danger. They are either behind bars, on the run or dead. Therefore, we know this election was rigged before it started. If the leadership wanted a free and fair election. They wouldn’t have blocked, arrested and stopped the opposition from running as well. Which it did with a ruthless hand.
The African Union EOM states this as well: “Notwithstanding the substantive reforms undertaken, the arrest and detention of high-profile opposition individuals have resulted in certain political parties boycotting the elections, while others have been barred from taking part in the elections” (African Union, 23.06.2021). So, when I states that it has occurred, the AU says it as well.
What is worrying and kept under the weather is this fact, which the AU says now: “The Mission notes that most of the members and staff of NEBE have little or no prior election administration experience and conducted the 2021 general elections under a new and untested legal framework. The limited experience may have contributed to the operational and logistical challenges NEBE encountered” (African Union, 23.06.2021).
That really states a fact, which should worry anyone. As the regime and party can use these inexperienced bureaucrats to ensure their victory. They will follow orders and comply, as they are appointed and gotten their offices, accordingly with the current leadership. That’s how this seems and could easily be swayed that way.
What’s the most striking is the repetition of this recommendation, which says a lot about the current regime: “Urgently undertake measures to heal societal divisions through national reconciliation, dialogue, and inclusivity” (African Union, 23.06.2021). The AU recommended this to the government, AU itself and the International Community to “undertake National reconciliation initiatives”. That’s says it all about the how things are and how dire it is. When they can see, but not putting any distress on the matter. They could have come with an warning, but I don’t think the AU EOM dares to do so. This is why they are saying this and putting it forward.
However, they are asking the Prime Minister and his party to seek dialogue. When they are the ones who has weaponized the political sphere and has used the state as a tool to oppress their opposition. You expect the leaders who calls for war will suddenly talk of cease-fire? Well, I doubt that. I think they rather want to see the demise of the ones in their way. Before ever considering to talk to the ones who is in their way…
The most disgusting and legitimizing the elections was these sentences from the conclusion, which says this: “There was nothing, in estimation, that distracted from the credible conduct of the elections. The Mission, therefore, commends all Ethiopians for the demonstrated commitment to the democratic development of the country” (African Union, 23.06.2021).
It is really striking to call it a credible election, when so many political prisoners and so many who is left behind. That should be the first step to say this election isn’t credible. Because, how can it be, when the opposition isn’t really participating? When the dissidents and opposition does have the ability to participate, but still calling it credible? How is that possible and what reasoning can you have to get there?
For me… that’s an impossible task and election to have. When there is no middle-ground and a system working against the one it opposes. Therefore, the AU EOM is deliberately being a tool for legitimacy. Which they state the importance of and also shows the need for reconciliation. However, don’t expect that to happen from the same guys, which orders the arrest of others. That isn’t happening, unless the Prime Minister and his party needs to buy time. Before they again arrests them and goes after them. That’s what is to be expected, because this government fears them and their popularity. If they didn’t fear them and couldn’t use them. They would have let them go and would have let them participate in this election. Nevertheless, they didn’t do that and that’s why we are here.
This wasn’t an credible election and the AU EOM is doing itself a disservice… and it’s not surprising. The AU EOMs are a dictators best friend. Peace.