Ethiopia: U.S. Senators' Call for Postponing Ethiopian Election Foolish - Lawrence Freeman

An Ethiopian flag marks a polling booth in Hawassa (file image).

The call five United States Senators made to the U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman for the postponement of Ethiopia's forthcoming General Elections displayed a 'shallow understanding and ignorance' about the conflict in Ethiopia, a renowned political analyst said.

In his recent social media post, Political- Economic Analyst for Africa Lawrence Freeman stated that the suggestions that Senators Ben Cardin, Tim Kaine, Jacky Rosen, Cory Booker and Ed Markey forwarded to the special envoy that Ethiopia's General Elections should not go forward, is downright dangerous. In their letter, the senators have made an attempt to de-legitimize the June's elections and their efforts could be considered as interference against a sovereign nation.

"Putting Western arrogance aside, which believes it has supreme right to tell Ethiopia, a sovereign nation, when it should allow it citizens to vote, the letter displays no knowledge of the unique dynamics of Ethiopian society." Freeman questioned the senator's knowledge of the last 125-year history of Ethiopia from the victory at Adwa to the present efforts by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) to unify the nation through the newly created, non-ethnic based, Prosperity Party. The senators appeared to have based their opinions about Ethiopia almost exclusively on news reports or from Amnesty International.

"It is outrageous for members of the U.S. Senate to suggest that a sovereign nation should cancel their elections," the analyst said, adding that only one party, not several, has chosen to abstain. "The U.S. Senators' accusations are foolishly giving cover for more parties to withdraw." Despite the best efforts by the Ethiopian government to conduct its most open and transparent election in the last 26 years, no doubt difficulties will occur in the voting process.

As to him, opposition political parties will now be able to opportunistically claim the election is illegitimate, and contest the results, citing allegations from the U.S. Senator's letter. This could fuel additional ethnic violence, thus making it more challenging for the government to unify the nation following the election.

The Ethiopian government, with a view to discharging its sovereign obligation, and the Ethiopian people are in full preparation for the critical election, which has already been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. "It would be irresponsible for the government of Ethiopia to deprive its citizens and all the parties participating, the right to vote. Ethiopia, a sovereign nation, believes it is paramount that its citizens determine the future of their nation by electing its leaders at the ballot box," Freeman remarked.


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