Zenawi claims election win in Ethiopia despite poll fraud claims – By Daniel Howden, Africa Correspondent (Independent)

May 23rd, 2010 Print Print Email Email

Meles Zenawi could be heading for a quarter of a century in power in Ethiopia after he claimed his party was set to win elections held yesterday.

The former guerrilla leader whose party has been accused of waging a war against its political opponents in the build up to the vote said that economic growth would assure victory.

As polling stations closed, opposition groups said they were thinking of contesting the results in court after alleged intimidation and vote rigging. Mr Meles came to power in 1991 when his rebel army overthrew the regime of Haile Mengistu Mariam. Despite indicating that he would not run for re-election, the Ethiopian premier seems set to stay in office for a term similar to those of Africa’s “big men” leaders whom he has previously derided.

Its supporters say the Ethiopian government deserves credit for delivering economic development and political stability in the Horn of Africa.

Addis Ababa enjoys strong support from the US, the EU and China including $820m (£565m) a year in foreign aid. More than two thirds of that comes from Washington which sees the government as a bulwark against Islamic extremism in neighbouring Somalia.

Critics, including international human rights organisations, say the ruling party has turned Ethiopia into a police state, while opposition parties insist claims of economic growth are inflated and point to the 10 per cent of the country’s people who needed food aid last year. Ethiopia remains one of the poorest country’s on earth.

After voting in Adwa, his hometown in the country’s north, the Prime Minister said that new roads, schools and dams had given Ethiopians hope. “Imagine a government which has delivered double-digit growth for over seven years losing an election anywhere on earth,” he told Reuters. “It is unheard of for such a phenomenon to happen.”

The main opposition to Mr Meles’s Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has come from an alliance of opposition parties, Medrek, which campaigned to oust him from office.

The leader of the opposition bloc, Merera Gudina, said that yesterday’s vote “doesn’t look like an election, even by African standards”. Medrek observers were prevented from monitoring the count in the south where they were expected to make gains, while their officials were being arrested or intimidated in some areas in the north, he said.

Foreign embassy staff in the country have been barred from monitoring the poll but the EU has a 170-strong team of observers on the ground. Provisional results are expected later today but the election board has until 21 June to announce the official result.

Ethiopia has lived for the last five years in the shadow of its first major experiment with democracy. Analysts say that the ruling party was unprepared for the scale of support for opposition parties who swept the capital and appeared to make strong gains in other regions. When results were announced, many apparent opposition gains were reversed and anti-government street protests followed. These were eventually crushed by the security services with some 200 people killed and thousands of opposition and civil society activists rounded up and imprisoned.

Opposition leaders were initially sentenced to life in prison and only released after signing a de facto apology for the unrest. New York-based monitor Human Rights Watch said in a pre-election report that the government had waged a “co-ordinated and sustained attack on political opponents, journalists and rights activists.”

While concerns over repression have been mounting, the Obama administration has continued its predecessor’s “quiet diplomacy” approach with Addis Ababa.

This despite a report last year from the US State Department which highlighted “unlawful killings, torture, beating, abuse and mistreatment of detainees and opposition supporters by security forces, often acting with evident impunity.”

Senior government positions are dominated by members of the Tigray ethnic minority who make up 6 per cent of the population but critics who point this out are routinely accused by the authorities of fomenting ethnic hatred.

Fact file: Birtukan Mideksa

As more than 32 million Ethiopians went to the polls yesterday, one name was missing from the ballots: The 36-year-old head of Ethiopia’s main opposition party is serving a life term in prison.’s. Arguably the country’s most popular and charismatic politician, the 36-year-old head of Ethiopia’s main opposition party is serving a life term in prison.

A former judge and single mother, she was arrested and charged with treason along with scores of other government opponents after a disputed election led to street protests. She spent two years in prison before being released but was re-arrested at the end of 2008 after supposedly violating the terms of her pardon.

European Parliament and several US Senators have backed voices in Ethiopia calling for her immediate release. But the government says her freedom is a “dead issue”.

As Ethiopia awaits the results of a new election Ms Birtukan’s comments before she was sent back to jail still apply: “Ethiopia has many problems, including a legacy of repression, corruption and mismanagement. The US can help by using its considerable influence to encourage the government to negotiate with the opposition.”

  1. በለው ነጚ
    | #1

    መለሰ ወይም ለገሰ ዘናዊ በዘሀ ምረጫ ሰው ባለመገደለህ እናመሰገነሃለን ምከንያቱም ከሱዳን አስጠኩለህ ያመጣሃው አፍዝ አደንገዝ ሰርቶለሃል የኢትዮጵያን ሕዝብ ያን ጀገና ሕዝብ እንድዚህ ባልተጫወትከብት ነብር ይህ አንገቱን የደፋ ሕዝብ አንድ ቀን የተነሳ እንድሆን ደገሞም መነሳቱ አዪቀርም አነተና አጫፋሪዎችህ ወዮላችሁ ;;

  2. abesha simma
    | #2


  3. Anonymous
    | #3

    Meles did not win.The opposition lost.Ever since the fragmentation of Kinjit in 2005,our leaderless people were like scattered flock with out a good shepherd.
    After the massacre of more than 200 of their sons and daughters and the imprisonment of tens of thousands,our people mourned their loss on their own with out any other comforters.
    While TPLF REMEMBERED that it could not afford to lose any other election and reorganised itself to hold on to power,the opposition that was in disarray quickly FORGOT the wound that was inflicted on our people,buried the spirit of Kinijit and cobbled itself together as Medrek without much sense of continuity and bold initiative only to rush into the ‘election’.

    No wonder that our people were not able to click with Medrek and did not recognize it as something familiar,strong and worthy of their trust.The stronger of the two,as far as our people are concerned,was TPLF that had the keys,as it were,to their survival with all its blandishments and bribes and it could also severely punish if disobeyed.

    Our people,in the final analysis,had to make a pragmatic choice tempered by their past painful experience.In the absence of a united and robust opposition,they have opted to realistically live under the shadow of the EPRDF dictatorship.They know the truth.They are silent.They are resigned embracing their age old fatalism.
    TPLF has tried time and time again to make its dictatorship legitimate through its phony elections.
    Thanks to the flabby,disoriented and alienated opposition,it has now,after 20 years,succeeded in achieving its goal.

    A senile tyranny has at last morphed into a reinvigorated and
    ‘legitimate government of the people’.We will hear the usual noise.EPRDF will make it.Its American and European supporters will make it.The recently added African cheerleaders will make it.

  4. Drama
    | #4


  5. Joseph
    | #5

    Dear all opposition parties, supporters etc,

    We, the enlightend, have said time and again that this is going to be a fake election, re-affirming TPLF for another 5-year slavery. Regardless, you went for it and we respect your will and actions.

    Dear Readers, on reflection …

    The first thing the opposition parties should have (all parties) done was to rally around the cause of Judge Birtukan Mideksa and force the EPRDF to release her before the election, as there has been no reason for her re-arrest.

    Opposition parties were so scared because they thought that her popularity would undermine their aspirations, which aspirations were based on false assumptions – i.e. that they will re-gain their seats in parliament or be elected for parliament and voice people’s concerns.

    The “Prof Mesfin-ZIM ANELIM” group is another distraction for MEDREK, Prof Mesfin’s group has been playing well for the EPRDF media.

    The so called pre-election and elections day intimidations and harassments are, by default, bi-products of the EPRDF monopoly of power, weaknesses of the opposition groups to cave in to whatever Zenawi imposes on them etc. The oppositions groups could have been more united, wise and tactical to deal with the one-party-state rule/domination, like in 2005.

    Now that the Election is flawed, undemocratic, unfair and fake all parties must come together and jointly declare that it is null/void

  6. Anonymous
    | #6

    ይድረስ ለአቶ መለስ
    የ ቴጌ ጣ ይቱ የሚኒሊክን ቤት:
    19 አመት አንተ ብትኖርበት: አልጋው በስበስ የተቀመጥቅበት:: ፍራሹ ተግማማ ጫት የምትቅምበት: ማእዱ ከረፋ ደም ያፈሰሰክበት:: ግቢው ዝምብ ወረረው አጋዚ ፈሰቶበት:: ባንዳው አቶ መለስ ውጣ ከ ቤታችን: የቆሸሸ እንደ አንተ የለም በዘራችን:: በሽተኛው መልስ አንጎልህ ተናውጥዋል : በ ቅናት በክፋት ልብህ ተረብሽዋል:: ይብላኝ ለልጆችህ የ ሁለት ርጉም ዘር: የታሪክ ወራዶች ለዘርህ የሚተርፍ:: ነፍስህ በፍርሀት እንደተወጠረች: 19 አመት ይህው አሰቆጠረች:: ሁሉን ተጠራጥረህ ተሸማቆ ኑሮ: አስመሳይ አዋቂ የአውነት ደንቆሮ:: የነጮቹ ውሻ :ለማኝ አሰዳቢ : ሌባ ነፍስገዳይ ሆዳም አቃጣሪ :: አንተን አያደርገኝ ያቺ ቀን ስትመጣ: በ አካፋ ተዝቆ ረሳህ ሲወጣ::

  7. Assta B. Gettu
    | #7

    Do you know why Meles Seitanawi won the election? The answer is simple if one has observed the voters very carefully. The voters who helped Meles Seitanawi win the election in a land slide are the Ethiopian Arab Muslims. I’m positive that 99% of them came out of their shops, Mosques, and homes and cast their ballots for their man, Meles Seitanawi.

  8. Anonymous
    | #8

    Asta B. Getu, you have no proof that all Muslims voted for demented Melese. As a Christian, myself, you are really annoying, to say the least. Literally, you are legitimizing Melese’s election that this evil man has won because every Muslim voted for him. If that was found true, then we have no control of that because that is called Democracy…“one man, one vote”. But the truth of the matter is that, you story is made up, far-fetched and totally untrue. Apparently, you have no clue how many Ethiopian Muslims have been tortured and killed by evil Meles. Melese has been killing Ethiopians indiscriminately for the last 20 years, and he will do the same, if not more in the next five years…regardless who they are and what religion they belong to. The fact is that, Ethiopians have voted for the opposing party again and Melese has stolen their votes for the second time, period!!

    At this critical time, Ethiopia needs her ethnic Christian and Muslim children to come together to save her from the hands of Woyanne Devils before totally bankrupt and dismembered her and her children. The time is now to for our Ethiopian Scholars and intellectuals from every walks of life, ethnic or religion to work hand in hand. in one voice to bring our people as one people regardless of ethnicity or religion to save our country and our people. We don’t need fanatics to divide us by ethnic groups or religion, that is what Isayass and Melese have done in the past and this is what they want now. For the sake of Ethiopia, let us not hand them what these two evil brothers have eyes and mind for…Divide and Rule Ethiopia!!!!!

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