Police in Ethiopia Arrests May 2015 Election Candidates (Updated May 5: Crackdown Intensified)

This afternoon, police in Ethiopia, Gondar City took into custody 10-candidates for the May 2015 election. The police blamed the candidates for conducting an election campaign around a market place, but the victims denied they were around the market. They said, their campaign was away more than 500 meters from the market areas. National election directive forbids political campaign within the range 500 meters of from a market place. Even if, the police has hard evidence for its claim, the major taken is not proportional, it is violation of National Election Board of Ethiopia law, which forbids arresting election candidate(s) without executing serious crime. All of candidates are contesting on behalf of Agaw Democratic Party/AgDP, which makes up federated groups including Kemants and Beta Israel/Ethiopian Jews who is still in Gondar and Gojjam.

In related news, in Banja District, Awi Zone, a team consisted of ruling cadres has toured countryside. The team warned farmers not waste time with AgDP. The team made the mark in the town of Dinkara and other areas in the past week. The team emphasized it impossible AgDP to win the election. The ruling party EPRDF/ANDM will not let that to happen. Do not waste your time, stop reading their manifesto and advise AgDP candidates to refrain from any political activities. This warning came after disrupting all of the AgDP’s TV campaign, by switching off a zonal electric power transmission.

Updated on May 5, 2015

The ten May 2015 election candidates detained on April 2015 in Gondar City released on the next day. Crackdown is intensified in Awi Zone, particularly Banja and Fagita-Lakoma counties. Since April last month, a team of ruling party has been in tour these and other counties. The team has been traveling village to village and issuing further warnings to farmers. It openly and serious warned their life would be in danger if they vote for AgDP. Some of the parties’ activists are staying overnight away from their houses in fear of abduction at night. Consequently, the party candidates from Banja and Fagita counties had notified to the party leader they would not assign any observers on voting day because of threat from the ruling party. They were even arguing that party to withdraw from the contest entirely.

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