This video segment is from the first round of debates as part of the May 2010 national election; the debate was held in an inconspicuous studio in early February 2010 away from live audience and was moderated by journalists of government-owned media outlets. In the video, Dr. Merera Gudina, chairman of the major opposition coalition, Medrek (the Forum), responds to moderators’ question about whether democracy, and fair and free elections exist in Ethiopia.
Summary of the Video Segment
(Rough translation of Dr. Gudina’s response)
- In short, democracy does not exist in Ethiopia or if it’s claimed to have existed in Ethiopia for the last 18 years, it’s made only for EPRDF [the ruling party].
- Ethiopia’s system of government can be categorized as a pseudo-democratic system [one which on paper has a democratic system, but which authoritarian government does not allow free and fair elections]
- Ethiopian election laws are flawed; therefore, elections can not be said to be fair and free.
- Unless it’s EPRDF and its allies in the opposition, opposition parties are not allowed to campaign without being harassment; therefore, elections can not be said to be fair and free.
- We fear that there will likely be an electoral fraud with vote counting since we do not know how and who will be counting the votes. Without transparency in the process, elections can not be said to be fair and free.
- EPRDF is not willing to give up power if indeed it’s defeated in the election. Without willingness to concede an election, elections can not be said to be fair and free.
- For the last 18 years, EPRDF’s single-party system (not a democratic multiparty system) with its Revolutionary Democracy has forcefully been imposed upon the people of Ethiopia. In such a system, fair and free elections can not happen.
- To conclude, we request that EPRDF respects the Constitution so that fair and free elections can be held in Ethiopia.