– The role of civil society organizations (CSOs) in elections is often to support institutional processes and raise awareness in a particular community in order to establish a democratic and peaceful electoral environment. While Ethiopia is about to hold its 6th ten national election on June 21, 2021, it is assumed that such civil society organizations play a central role in securing and strengthening the quality of democracy in general .
Alexander Meles, the founder and CEO of the Digital Rogue Society Experiment Group told Addis Standard that the Digital Rogue Society Experiment Group Group is a legally registered CSO founded in December 2019 based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It uses technology to inform and advocate civic engagement that aims to find fake news and misinformation; and is committed to ensuring the accountability and transparency of governments, businesses and civil society organizations.
According to Alexander, this civil society organization received a license from the National Electoral Committee of Ethiopia (NEBE) on February 18th th , 2021, to run a program called “ Mercha Ethiopia” , the main aim of which is to provide voters with impartial information about the upcoming elections, which will mainly target young people, women and communities Address disabilities – supported by animated videos to help bridge the communication gap, especially among the deaf, to understand the importance of voting in elections. The Executive Director said that Mercha Ethiopia provides information on the competing political parties through its website with its scanned manifesto, which can be easily accessed online.
Mercha Ethiopia < According to Alexander, he is using social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to reach out to and focus on the youth, whose trend seems to have changed to the digital world, instead of watching the usual televisions to access information how and why to choose and not who to choose. He stated that, aside from providing basic information about the upcoming elections, Mercha Ethiopia would not be in favor of any political party – it was politically impartial.
Addis Standard em> asked Alexander if Mercha Ethiopia used flyers, brochures or similar methods to get their ideas across. On this particular question, Alexander said, “We haven’t used printed forms before and our points of sale are websites and social media targeted at a section of society that has access to the internet and smartphones and such devices.”
< Its recent onset, according to Alexander Meles, is preventing Mercha Ethiopia from using multiple Ethiopian languages to cover a wider population in the country. Therefore, taking into account the large number of speakers, they chose Afaan Oromo and Amharic to spread the information about the upcoming elections. He stated that they used English to subtly focus on the gist of what Mercha Ethiopia is doing to appeal to international society.
Addis Standard < / em> asked some randomly selected people who were approached by Mercha Ethiopia to find out if they had any idea what this civil society organization was doing. During the response, a respondent who asked his name to remain anonymous said that he had no information about this organization. Another respondent, who also did not want to be identified by name, said she knew about Mercha Ethiopia through social media. Some other respondents said they heard about it from one of the national broadcast media.
Civil society organizations in the field of political dynamics have made irrefutable contributions to the creation of calm centers where people can identify their identity, freedom, spontaneity and activity, especially in situations where they need to determine their leaders, such as the national elections that Ethiopia will hold next June 2021.