Jun 18, 2021

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Ethiopia responds to EU cancellation of election observation mission; says communications equipment demand came “as a surprise”

– The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that “Ethiopia was disappointed to learn” that the EU has decided to cancel its planned election observation mission in Ethiopia.

The ministry went on to say that “It is is very unfortunate to learn that the issue of communications equipment has been cited as a deal breaker for the EU to observe one of the most hoped-for democratic elections in the country’s history. The demand is surprising to the Ethiopian government as none of these elements are in the past Elections were controversial.

Full declaration

The government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia was disappointed about the decision of the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to use its observation mission for the upcoming general election.

The government made every possible effort to get the administrative arrangement to complete the mission, but these were unsuccessful. When the EU applied to observe the 6th national elections earlier this year, the Ethiopian government immediately adopted the draft agreement for the deployment of the observation mission and started negotiations in good faith. All government institutions concerned and the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) were involved in the process, and while work on finalizing the agreement was in progress, the government also welcomed and facilitated the visit of the EU exploratory mission to Ethiopia two months ago. The exploratory mission had a productive stay and had discussions with various interest groups. This was the impression that the government received from the mission after its work was completed and whose recommendations later led to the decision of the EU to use the observer mission.

While the government tirelessly and swiftly hoped to reach an agreement on the It is very unfortunate to learn that communications equipment has been cited as a deal breaker for the EU to observe one of the most hoped-for democratic elections in the country’s history. The Ethiopian government made it clear from the start that VSAT services can only be provided by Ethio Telecommunications, while additional requests from the EU to import related equipment will be accepted. As an important strategic partner and staunch supporter of the reform process, this demand by the EU surprised the Ethiopian government, as none of these elements was a point of contention in the past elections. At a time when the telecommunications infrastructure in Ethiopia has made great strides with the latest available technologies, questioning the effectiveness and efficiency of its services is not a compelling reason to make the hasty decision to abandon the mission.

< With this in mind, the EU has also rejected the proposal by the Ethiopian side to include in the agreement that declarations or public comments by the observer mission prior to the publication of its preliminary findings and conclusions do not interfere with the electoral process or affect the electoral perception of the public about the Election result that will only be announced by NEBE. This concern stems from the fact that such statements by other EU observer missions have had serious repercussions across the country in the past.

The government is determined and is determined to make the upcoming elections free, fair and democratic to continue to work with all stakeholders to achieve this. While external observers could add value for improving the quality of electoral processes, they are neither essential nor necessary to confirm the credibility of an election. The validity and legitimacy of the election in Ethiopia is determined exclusively by Ethiopian laws, Ethiopian institutions and ultimately by the people of Ethiopia.