TPLF’s blatant anti-democratic practices must stop

January 6th, 2001

Spokesperson: Gashu Habte, Ph.D.

For Immediate Release
January 6, 2001

A news agency owned and operated by the ruling Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) reported yesterday that the All Amhara People Organization (AAPO) and Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP) have deceived ten individuals
into registering as candidates for woreda and kebele election representing them. “They said they were astonished and disappointed by AAPO and EDP’s deceitful acts of presenting persons as election candidates without their
will, consent and knowledge,” TPLF’s Walta Information Center wrote.

Walta also wrote yesterday: “Over 200 peasants in East Shoa Zone expressed disappointment at what they said was unethical conduct by three candidates of the Oromo National Congress (ONC ) in claiming to have won the peasants’ support for candidature without their consent.”

This has all the appearances of TPLF’s trickery and intimidation of candidates and voters. Such accusations appear to be excuses to throw in jail leaders of these opposition parties that are gaining popularity throughout the country. During the May 2000 general elections, TPLF cadres had engaged in a large scale campaign to discourage voters from voting for independent and opposition candidates. Thousands of voters of who ignored the threats and harassments launched against them and voted for non-TPLF candidates were arrested, fired from their jobs, and even murdered. Independent and opposition candidates had also been harassed, arrested and murdered. Despite all these election irregularities, lawlessness and antidemocratic practices on the part of the TPLF regime, some independent and opposition party candidates managed to win seats in the parliament.

The TPLF officials and cadres are engaged in similar antidemocratic practices again in preparation for the upcoming local elections. The story reported by TPLF’s Walta Information Center appears to be part of
the intimidation and obstructionist tactics directed against the opposition parties, candidates and voters.

We urge the international community, particularly those countries and institutions that are providing financial assistance to the TPLF regime, to suspend all support until the regime stops its overall antidemocratic
practices, release all prisoners of conscience, and improves its human rights record.

We also call on every Ethiopian and friends of human rights in the Washington DC area to join us on January 14 at 4 PM in front of the Ethiopian embassy in Washington DC to expose, confront and challenge TPLF’s ministers, cadres and businessmen who will be attending a dinner party hosted by the embassy.

Confront the TPLF ministers for throwing in jail over 15,000 innocent Ethiopians who opposed the regime’s ethnic apartheid policies; for devastating Ethiopia’s economy making half of the population unemployed and extremely poor; for making our country landlocked; for leaving Afars and other Ethiopians under Issayas Afeworki’s occupation after tens of thousands of Ethiopians lost their lives to liberate a barren strip of land in norther Tigray; and for the overall mismanagement and total neglect of the country while focusing their development activities only in Tigray while at the same time amassing enormous personal wealth.

Join us on January 14, 2001, in front of the Ethiopian embassy at 4 PM.

Give voice to the voiceless.