The Ethiopian National Electoral Board (NEBE) met with opposition parties in the country on Wednesday to discuss voter registration for the country’s sixth general election.
Just about half of the polling stations around the country are currently functioning and conducting election-related operations, according to an Ethiopian News Agency article citing the Chairperson of the Board.
According to the Board, the nation has 50,000 polling stations, but only 25,151 of them are operating.
According to reports, voter registration has been delayed for a variety of reasons. The explanation in some countries has to do with the security situation. Horo Guduru Wollega and Benishangul Gumuz are two regions where registration is not taking place.
Similarly, Ethiopia’s Afar and Somali regions have not begun registration as of April 14, 2021, according to the Board. Last week, a dispute over the “border” between the two regions took the lives of at least 100 people, with thousands more injured.
Voter registration was also influenced by the displacement of people from conflict-affected areas. In certain places, logistical challenges, such as transportation, are counted as issues that hampered the operation.
The Board also reported that over 200,000 inhabitants of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, had received their voter registration cards.
According to ENA, opposition party officials have complained that authorities in certain areas of the country threaten their members and supporters. There were also arrests in some circumstances. It was described by the Board as “something that should not have happened.”
According to the Board, regional states posed a significant challenge in this regard. As the Election Board witnessed, federal government officials had to intervene in several cases to ensure the release of opposition party activists who had been jailed in what seemed to be oppressive actions.
Representatives from the ruling Prosperity Party have promised to address repression-related issues at the conference.
In the last two months, two supporters of the opposition have been killed. One is in the Oromia zone, and the other is in the Benishangul Gumuz region. Berihun Asferaw, a candidate for the National Movement of Amhara (NaMA), was assassinated in Benishangul’s Wombera district, where he was campaigning for the party’s seat.
In mid-February of this year, a member of Ethiopian Citizens For Social Justice (EZEMA) was assassinated in the Oromia region.
The Ethiopian election was scheduled for August 2020, but it has been delayed due to the Coronavirus outbreak.