Ethiopia opposition says its members being jailed – By Barry Malone (Reuters)

September 10th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

A coalition of opposition parties accused the Ethiopian authorities on Thursday of arresting some of its members on trumped up charges to stop them running in an election scheduled for next May. (more…)

A coalition of opposition parties accused the Ethiopian authorities on Thursday of arresting some of its members on trumped up charges to stop them running in an election scheduled for next May.

Eight parties have allied under the banner of the Forum for Democratic Dialogue in Ethiopia (FDDE) to contest the 2010 polls, which analysts say the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) is likely to win.

Opposition figures say they have been hamstrung by a campaign of arrests and intimidation. The EPRDF denies it.

“Ruling party cadres throughout the country are jailing our potential candidates on false charges,” Bulcha Demeksa, leader of the Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement, one of the parties in the opposition coalition, told reporters in Addis Ababa.

“We want to negotiate with the government and ask them to stop arresting and jailing our potential candidates.”

The parties that make up the alliance hold just 80 of parliament’s 547 seats, but still represent the most significant opposition to a government that is a close ally of Washington.

Bereket Simon, the Ethiopian government’s head of information, told Reuters that since none of the parties had yet named their candidates, the opposition’s claims were baseless. “Nobody is being jailed for being a politician,” he said.


Ethiopia’s last elections in 2005 were hailed as the country’s first fully democratic polls, but they ended in bloodshed after the government declared victory and the opposition said the result had been rigged. Police and soldiers killed about 200 people who took to the streets in protest.

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi accused the demonstrators of trying to topple his government, and more than 100 opposition leaders, journalists and aid workers were later jailed.

Those detainees were pardoned and freed in 2007, but rights groups say the government is cracking down on dissent again. One opposition party leader is in jail and a group of former military officers have been convicted of plotting to oust Meles.

Meles has set up talks with the opposition about drawing up a code of conduct for next year. But the FDDE said on Thursday that its members had walked out of discussions.

“The code of conduct assumes a context where there will be independent administration of elections, freedom of movement, freedom of expression, no intervention by security forces,” said Seye Abraha, a former defence minister who is now in the FDDE.

“We want these issues discussed alongside the code of conduct, not assumed.”

Bereket dismissed FDDE claims the code was undemocratic: “This code of conduct is being drawn up by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, not the Ethiopian government … To walk away from it is disastrous and is to walk away from democracy.” (Editing by Daniel Wallis)

  1. Alex
    | #1

    what we wait brother? we must fight weyane ganges one for all. we must assasenet meles thif and his gang. seye also spying and inform to weyane any information. we can not belive seye.

  2. aha!
    | #2

    Now the major player in this confernce set up by Meles Zenawi, the prime minister is Ato Seye Abraha, i believe for Ato Gebru Asrat, the Chairman for Merek about code of conduct for 2010 election; i.e to set up rules on how to behave during the campaign in the election, to which Sye Abraha wants to add,”The code of conduct assumes a contextwhere there will be independent adminstration of elections, freedom of movement, freedom of expression, no intervention by security forces”, which caused the TPLF/eprdf representives to walk out. This assertion is a blessing in disguise for AEUP’s demand on the 8-point conditions to be implemented as part of the code of conduct. This has noting to do with responding or addressing the 8-point conditions for election. Even at that the major players are not UDJP, nor AEUP, it is Medrek, the mirror image of TPLF/eprdf, which is nothing more than a shrade or make blieve preparation for democratic election, which the high officials of the western embassies are pushing forward.

    The next step forward is for all the opposition parties inspite of their ethnic agenda and gearing for nominal election to just acquire a seat, stand up to the TPLF/eprdf regime to implement the 8-point conditions to address the will of all Ethiopians seeking individual freedom to exercise the power as an individual Ethiopian, not for ethnic and/or secessionist right. That will also be be determined if the Ethiopians put in power a party with ethnic agenda, than the ones with national agenda.

  3. Ayele
    | #3

    Shameless goons !

  4. yikerbelen
    | #4

    A Reuters’ reporters should ashamed of their trashy and one sided reports about the victory of TPLF in the up coming 2010 election. The Reuter’s reportter like bandawu Tesfaye tsegaye has sold his conscience and has decided to cheat the whole world about TPLF’s [EPRDF] VICTORY under genocider melese zenawi’s leadership. But these shameless reporters did tell us how TPLF under melese zenawi’s leadership is going to win the election. YES, TPLF will win the election because melese has arrested all strong oppositions leaders like W/t Birtukan Midkessa and others. TPLF could infiletered all it’s cadres with in all opposition parties and ready to loot the voting card if necessary. I am Affarid may be Reuters’ reporters are going to praise the action [ killing of 6m innocent human beings] of adolf hitler during WW2 by selling their conscince for money as they are praising melese’s future victory in the next election.Reuter is a sham for human being and journalism ethice. let God Punish you all for your evilish report with out mentioning the Un lawfull arrest of the uniqe and gold human being W/t Birtukan Midkessa.

  5. Hailu
    | #5

    this is great to see medrek uniting all opposition groups

    the day UDJ, OFDM, OPC, ARENA etc united was when TPLF began to fall apart

    long live MEDREK!

  6. Bekele
    | #6


    Ask your AEUP (AAPO) to be part of the coalition. Otherwise, they would be marginalized.

  7. Anonymous
    | #7

    Long live UDJ did you heared about Dr Hailu shawul I am sorry to hear about him and his party to join in TPLF Kangoro party,I am affraid for his comments at all.

  8. mateos
    | #8

    Wether opposition or not! there can be only one Ethiopia under one flag. Who ever calls or forms him/herself opposition or oppositions are falling to the trap of the modern-day devils in Ethiopia: MELES AND HIS BOSS BEREKET. Bereket, the British bull-dog and Meles’s boss, can not preach any one on earth about democracy and rule of law. He is a traitor Eritrean and must be handed to the people of Eritrea; he has no business running Ethiopian politics unless he is invited by Ethiopian people. Meles and his boss Bereket MUST BE STOPPED TODAY BEFORE OR ETHIOPIA UNDER THEIR AIGA JUNGLE DEMOCRACY WILL BE NOTHING BUT LIKE THE LOOKS OF MELES AND HIS BOSS BEREKET!

  9. Anonymous
    | #9

    if the woyanes will not stop what they are doing we actually start attack any woyanes starting from kebele. we have no choice, if any person who stands with woyanes is/are an enemy of ethiopians
    God bless Ethiopia and Ethiopians

  10. Ogina
    | #10

    Bravo the smart Gadaa people! We need tandem action of Oromo politicians in different groups acting at different levels. Oromos in the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) are keeping the status quo of a limited cultural autonomy (maintain life in Diredhawa) by making their rhetoric that Oromos have already achieved our liberation. Oromos in FDD will move our liberation journey to Adama (genuine Federation) by talking their rhetoric that Oromo liberation will be realized in only united Ethiopia. Last, but not least, we need AFD to move in our liberation journey from Adama to the END aka Finfinne (self-determination), of course by claiming explicetly that we want to determine our destiny, be it within Ethiopian union or without the union!

  11. ጃርሳ ኢትዮጵያ
    | #11

    መልካም አዲስ አመት ለመላው ሕዝቤ ለመላው ወገኔ ስላቹህ በሰፈር ሳልከፍል በመንደር ሳልቆጥር እንኻን ላዲስ አመት በሰላም ደረሰን

    እንዲሁም የሴት ጀግናይቱ እንኻን ለአዲስ አመት በደህና አደርስሽ በሉልኝ ጀግኖች አትተኙ ቀና ቀና በሉ በርቱ ተበራቱ እኛንም ቀስቅሱ የህዝብ አለኝታ የወገን መከታ መሆናቹህ ትርሱ
    ጃርሳ ከፍራንክፈርት ጀርመን

  12. Robele Ababya
    | #12

    Oromos, Gurghes, Kambtas, Wolayetas, Sidamas, Tigres, Amharas et al are childern of Mother Ethiopia. Tolerance, respect for human rights and universal democratic values binding us together. United we can become a strong and respectable nation.

    Addis Ababa is a melting pot of our diverse cultures and it shall remain so. Self-determination and OLF have long been overtaken by events

    I believe that forces of unity in diversity are making progress

  13. Guest
    | #13

    EPRDF has already killed the oppositions long time ago, the election is already rigged. I don’t understand why Oppositions are making so much fuss about it at the 11th hour. Whatever they do and say at this time will only give the fake election a face-lift. The Ethiopian electorate is to weak and marginalised to make any kind of independent decision and even to participate in election. Don’t they understand the election is already lost? EPRDF has been doing every intimidation and coercion with impunity for the past five years whereas opposition parties were fighting eachother and crying foul play rather than organise the people to struggle for democracy and good governance.

  14. aha!
    | #14

    Why is this reuters repoter reporting about the harrassement of opposition members of the loyalist opposition only, when there are harrassement, imprisonment of AEUP party mebers as well, when the talk is about establishing code of conduct, and arest and intimidation is part of the struggle to pull out from the talks. Did he have the same problem in the last local election, when he had to pull out from the election. Why does he now vouch for the 8-points preconditions for election. instead of complaining about the persistent intimidation of would be candidates or not for election with respect to the current talk on code of conduct, initiated by Prime minister Meles Zenawi and count for more political space as he has been pleading before, so that with his ethnic agenda on his back, he may garner few more votes for his party. No matter how many parties they may have gathered of like minded politicians with ethnic agenda, the Ethiopians at large know how to sift the mirt from the gird, as long as a fair and free election, with freedom of the individual is established, through the 8-point negotiations, which the loyalist opposition parties are not vouching for.

  15. aha!
    | #15

    Corrigendum: the fourth sentence shoud read” Did he not have the same problem in the last local election….
    In middle of the last sentece, the Amharic saying is “mirt from gird”, meaning the chaf form the grain/product …..

    Addendum: The objectives of loyalist opposition party of OPDO stipulates: respect for human right, respect for ethnic right and support for the unity of Ethiopia, where the second concept contradicts with the ones to the left and right, while the last concept does not contradict nor with first or second within the the frame work of Unity of Ethiopia as one country, one flag and one official language with other languages spoken as second languages in their locality, and country is developed along ecological regions accross original states, not by ethnic boundries, and Ethiopians are free and settle anywhere in Ethiopia.

    To reach to these positive and favourable ultimatum, all the opposition parties need rally around the 8-point preconditions to be in place and as bargaining chip/ultimatum whether to participate or not in the 2010.
    The code of conduct should be framed only as a parameter as to how the candidates conduct themselves in a civil discourse, but not to be used for incriminating individuals and send them to prison, or to create fear not to speak against the short comings of the regime. In these kind of atmosphere, there is no room for winning against the regime which gives them a carrot in one hand and a stick in the other, where complaints will be resolved by independent Election Board.

  16. yikerbelen
    | #16

    OGINA, ante dedeb agame . your time is numbered. just wait for the last minute. Your divide and rule policy has already fallen apart. we are one and we will find you one by one with a sharp knife.

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