For months, I have been predicting and warning the U.S. and the European Union are locked in a conspiracy to delegitimize the June 5, 2021 Ethiopian parliamentary election. In my February 14, 2021 commentary, I laid out my case on the U.S. /E.U. conspiracy to "sabotage democratic reform in Ethiopia and undermine confidence in the 2021 Election".
I provided further explanation on that conspiracy in my March 2, 2021 commentary, "(War) game of Thrones and Delegitimize the 2021 Election". We are now beginning to see the wheels of that conspiracy spinning. On May 3, 2021, Joseph Borrel, Vice President of the European Commission, issued a statement announcing cancellation of deployment of the European Union Electoral Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Ethiopia because "it was not possible to reach an agreement with Ethiopian authorities on key parameters."
Borrell's statement provided no inkling on the "key parameters" that prevented an agreement. However, Ambassador Dina Mufti, the spokesperson of the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, exposed the reasons for the cancellation with crystal clarity: (Commentary author's translation) The reasons the European Union cancelled its observer mission deployment in Ethiopia are clear. They raised two issues. Both issues are anti-Ethiopian sovereignty, affront Ethiopian independence and endanger Ethiopian national security.
First, they insisted on bringing in a technology called VSAT which completely bypasses the Ethiopian telecommunications system. There are two things to note. Now and in previous times -- there have been six previous elections in Ethiopia -- such a question has never been presented from any election observer group. Second, in light of the existing circumstances, all of the locations to be monitored by election observers have full telecommunication access under the national Ethiopian telecommunication system.
They can use the system. But they EU EOM wants to deploy a technology that is outside the control and supervision of our national telecommunication system. That is the same as demanding to administer a super ordinate telecommunication system in our country. It is clear that is what they want to deploy. Why they want to have a super ordinate telecommunication system is not clear. If their aim is to observe the election, they can do so. The security situation is safe. There is accessibility and there is communication. They are welcome to conduct their observations. However, they insist on bringing in their own VSAT technology. That is what they are demanding.
Second, they demanded that they be the first to make a statement on the election before the official Ethiopian Elections Commission makes its statement. We said, "You cannot do that." Such a demand cannot be met under the election law of any country, in our country or in any foreign country. Even they will not contemplate allowing such a thing in their own country.
Our Election Commission is duly authorized by law to administer elections and issue authoritative statements. It is an independent entity. But they want to override the Election Commission and make the first statement on the election. From the start, it is the Ethiopian people who certify our election and then the Ethiopian Election Commission, an independent body. What they are effectively saying is, "You cannot have an election we have not approved." These are the reasons why they canceled their observer mission.
It is they who asked to come and observe in the first place. They said they have an observer team ready. But now they concoct these two reasons in refusing to come. What they are demanding of us as a sovereign and independent country is equivalent of saying, "I come into your house and command, and 'You'll sleep on the floor. You'll sleep under the bed. You'll sit up in the chair all night long." There is no country in the world that will allow such a thing; unless it is a colony. Such are the facts.
European Union Election Observer Mission Demands Violate Its Own Code of Conduct and Handbook for European Union Election Observation The EU EOM has glaringly lacked transparency in disclosing its reasons ("parameters" resulting in disagreement) for cancelling its observer mission. It is ironic that EU EOM can talk the talk on transparency but cannot talk the walk.
If the EU is going to take such major action and cancel its observer mission after inviting itself (contrary to its own policy, see below) to Ethiopia, it should come clean and tell the world its reasons. Unless, of course, the cancellation is part of EU EOM's dirty tricks game being played on Ethiopia. Let's look at the facts.
First, the EU EOM's demand to bring its own VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) is a clear violation of its own rules and principles. VSAT is a private earth station designed to transmit and retrieve data signals via satellite. Using VSAT, the EU EOM will be able to establish a completely independent voice, internet and intranet communication system with public and private networks outside of control and oversight of the Ethiopian telecommunication system. The very first and thirteenth principle of the Code of Conduct for EU Election Observers provide:
1. Observers will respect the laws of the land. They enjoy no special immunities as international observers, unless the host country so provides.
2. Observers must comply with all national laws and regulations.
These principles are prominently affirmed in the Handbook for European Union Election Observation ("Handbook") (p. 21).
The EU EOM mission statement provides: EU election observation missions do not interfere in the organization of the election itself. Instead, they collect and analyze factual information concerning the election process and provide an independent public assessment." The EU EOM Handbook (p. 37) dictates:
Cooperation with the host country EU observers respect and adhere to the laws of the host country. An EU EOM is deployed only after receipt of an invitation from the State and/or the electoral authorities of the host country. Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) between the EU and the host country (usually one with the Election Management Body (EMB) and one with the government) outline the rights and responsibilities of both parties... The MOUs provide guarantees that the EU EOM is able to enjoy the necessary conditions for effective and credible observation which include:
- unimpeded access to all aspects of the electoral process and to all persons concerned with the election;
- the freedom to operate without interference, including the freedom to issue public statements and reports;
- the freedom of movement around the country and conditions that ensure the safety and security of EU observers;
- the issuing of appropriate accreditation by the electoral authorities, which should be provided on a non-discriminatory basis;
- guarantees that there will be no adverse action against its national or foreign staff or others who assist the EU EOM with its work.
Openness in findings and visibility in work an EU EOM issues a public preliminary statement shortly after voting has been completed (usually within 48 hours) at a press conference, where the Chief Observer is open to questions...
Moreover, the EU EOM specifically describes the role of its mission on Election Day as follows:
On Election Day, observers visit pooling (sic) stations in order to observe the opening, voting, counting and aggregation of results.
The facts are:
1) Borrell and EU EOM have flagrantly violated EU-established elections observation Code of Conduct, handbook and policies;
2) The EU EOM under the leadership of Joseph Borrell invited itself to observe the June 5 Ethiopian election without an invitation by the Ethiopian Government in violation of its own Code of Conduct;
3) Borrell and the EU EOM, by demanding exceptional accommodations for deployment of VSAT technology and the right to issue a first statement on the election results, acted in flagrant violation of Ethiopian laws and the legal duties of the Ethiopian Elections Commission in violation breaching its own Code of Conduct and Handbook;
4) by pressuring the Ethiopian government to compromise its sovereignty, independence and right to self-determination, Borrell and the EU EOM violated their own Code of Conduct, Handbook and international law.