6 March 2018

Ethiopia: EFF Presidential Election Date Extends for 5th Time

In an unexpected move, the world football governing body, FIFA, extended the date of the Ethiopian football Federation Presidential and Executive Committee members Election to mid-March. In a statement citing the shortage of human power FIFA suggested that they will send observers in mid-March, without specifying the date

This was the fifth time to change the election date in the span of three months. At first election was set to take place on November 10-11, 2017 but postponed for December 25 due to the intervention of the world football governing body, FIFA.

According to FIFA's election procedures all national federations that plan to conduct General Assembly and presidential election to establish a new administration are expected to notify the international football governing body 30 days before the actual election takes place.

Plus, when national federations plan to elect the president and executive committee members, the FIFA procedure states, an independent Electoral Committee must be set up to carry out the process of the election.

In the Ethiopian case the national federation notified FIFA a week before the date of the Presidential election and it was confirmed that the Electoral Committee was not set up. So FIFA ordered the EFF to change the date and form an independent Electoral Committee. Due to this the EFF extended the date for December 25.

Though both FIFA requirements were made, the Electoral Committee extended the date for the third time to January 13, 2018 citing the fact that Dec. 25 coincided with Christmas and the New Year.

The Electoral Committee made this decision FIFA observers are unable to come to Ethiopia breaking their vacation.

When the entire Ethiopian people including the five candidates were waiting for January 13, FIFA ordered the EFF to postpone the date for two basic reasons.

One, FIFA notified to the EFF that it received a letter form the Electoral Committee that indicates the interference of the government in the election procedure. FIFA outlaws government interference in the running of football.

Two, January 13 happen to be coincided with African Championship, better known as CHAN Cup. Due to this the FIFA observers are tied with the CHAN program.

Considering these two reasons, FIFA requested the postponement of the date of the Presidential election. That was how the change was made for the fourth time.

What was remained unchanged was the venue. The EFF once again confirmed that the meeting place will be the capital of Afar region, Semera.

The EFF had once tried to change the venue from Semera to Addis Ababa. This was during the foiled first General Assembly scheduled to take place on November 10-11, 2017.

The Afar representative who was present in that foiled General Assembly strongly argued that the venue shouldn't be changed without giving convincing reasoning to the host city and the participants.

The Afar representative argued that the region did everything possible to host the General Assembly as per the requirements of the EFF. The cost the region incurred for preparation was immense besides the psychological impact on the people of Afar.

The participants of the foiled General Assembly agreed to fix the venue as it was before.

This is the second time to change the date of the presidential election by the order of FIFA. It is also the fifth time to face change of schedule. Will the Presidential election take place in the fifth trial?

Again there is no guarantee but the hope is that FIFA will fix the date very shortly. If that is the case the FIFA schedule is highly likely to be respected as they have the full authority to put things in order.

There are five Presidential candidates who are contesting to become the next president of the Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF).

The five men hoping to take the country's football highest position are the incumbent President Juneidin Basha, former president Dr. Ashebir Woldegiorgis, Teka Assefaw, Dagim Melashen and Esayas Jira.

Three of the candidates including the incumbent President are not new faces for the people. The former President Dr. Ashebir was there for nearly six years until he was replaced by Sahilu Gebrewold in 2010. Dr. Ashebr's term was marred with turbulence unseen in the country's history.

The country was suspended from the international body for a brief period. Teka Asfaw was the deputy President in Sahilu's four-year tenure.

Dagim and Esayas Jira are relatively new faces for the public.

The Ethiopian Football Federation is one of the founding members of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in 1957 along with Egypt, Sudan and South Africa. But due to its Apartheid policy South Africa was ousted from CAF same year.

Compiled by Solomon Bekele

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