Many countries of the world decided to resume a range of activities with COVID-19 though its prevalence has kept increasing. As life has to sustain to perpetuate generation, almost all countries across the globe have restarted operating undertakings. Our country is not exceptional in this regard.
That is why the Ministry of Health recently recommended to the country to conduct the sixth round national general elections, re-open schools, undertake sports games, and celebrate public holidays taking precautionary measures to control the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Presenting the resolution to the House of Peoples' Representatives, Dr. Lia Tadesse, Health Minister, said that the coronavirus pandemic is still a health threat, but the country can hold the sixth national general elections as the spread of the pandemic is less than what was previously predicted.
The speculation of course required postponement, but now we are better informed and have also developed a better awareness of the virus and understood that coronavirus would stay with us for an unspecified time in future.
She also noted that there are better protective conditions and personal protective equipment in the country. The readiness of the health facilities, the supply of inputs, and the capacity of laboratories have also improved.
She further indicated that the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia can begin its preparations to conduct the sixth national general elections through developing and implementing election code of conduct, setting up regulation and enforcement guidelines taking all possible prevention and care to effectively prevent the spread of the pandemic.
After a discussion, the House approved the resolution which was submitted by the Minister of Health and recommended conducting the sixth national general elections, re-opening of schools, undertaking of sports games as well as celebrating public holidays.
Following this, the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) organized a media tour to showcase at what level it is in terms of preparations to conduct the upcoming national general elections.
As The Ethiopian Herald has already provided its readers with the required information in this regard previously, the Board briefed journalists that it has prepared 90 percent of election materials required for the sixth national general elections and already secured at hand.
The Board also announced that more than 50 million voters are expected to participate in the election employing some 50, 900 polling stations.
Birtukan Midheksa, NEBE Chairperson, told journalists that all the necessary preparations are well underway. "The Board has been working hard to help the nation hold credible and reliable elections using standard materials, unlike the previous elections, and preparations are going well in this regard."
On her part, Soliyana Shimelis, NEBE Communications Advisor, stated that the Board has prepared ballot boxes, voters' registration forms in five local languages and packaging materials to transport polling ingredients.
According to her, a box containing 29 different items will be sent to each polling station. A total of 644 small generators and more than 2,500 laptops and tablets would also be distributed to various constituencies.
"The Board has facilitated condition to provide close 152,700 individuals with training about voters' registrations and 254,500 people with know how about managing the vote casting process, Soliyana indicated.
Last Friday, Members of the House of Peoples' Representatives including House Speaker Tagesse Chafo, Deputy Speaker Shitaye Minale, and Representatives of House's Sub-Standing Committees held field observation organized by the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia to witness Board preparation for conducting the upcoming sixth national general elections.
Members of the House also observed materials prepared by the Board for the elections. They also expressed appreciation for the encouraging work the Board has been carrying out.
House Speaker Tagesse Chaffo told journalists that all materials prepared for the elections are much better than the materials that we used in previous national elections.
He said, "The previous ballot box was susceptible for fraud and treachery. But now, as we have seen, the ballot box is too transparent to portray what is put."
He also noted that these materials will help us conduct credible and internationally accepted election.
The House will provide the necessary follow-up and support to enable the Board to discharge its responsibilities effectively, according to him.
Birtukan Midheksa, NEBE Chairperson, on her part briefed members of the House that the materials will be of significantly useful in avoiding deceitful actions and minify public suspicion during the election.