Distinguished Ambassadors and Councilors
Distinguished Heads of International Organizations
Re: Improvement of Proclamation No. 532/2007, Establishing the National Electoral Board
This is to inform you that All Ethiopia Unity Party (AEUP) has submitted to His Excellency Ato Meles Zenawi, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, with a copy to the Chairman of the Electoral Board, its comments and improvements with regard to 39 articles in the above Proclamation, article by article, with the aim of making the forthcoming 2010 national election free, fair, peaceful and successful.
We have requested the Prime Minister to attend to the various articles that we deem absolutely necessary for improvement and change in consultation with the opposition parties, inside and outside the parliament, at his earliest opportunity without taking too much time as it is fast running out and the election date is rapidly approaching for sufficient awareness creation of the public of its rights and obligations.
It is absolutely necessary that the electoral board, the judiciary and the armed forces be free from any type of interference by the Ruling Party and Government. That the Head of the Supreme Court and the General Manager of the Electoral Board should, at the minimum, be removed immediately in order to ensure vigilant, efficient and effective election process that guarantees timely and fair attention to matters of election so that no repeat of the risk encountered during the aftermath of the 2005 national election should occur again.
Similarly, AEUP believes that international and national observers should be invited as a matter of international and national obligations, the decision of which should not be left to the wishes of the incumbent. This, AEUP believes, makes the election process truly transparent, democratic and exemplary for other less fortunate underdeveloped countries that suffer under the yolk of dictatorship, and lack of human rights and dignity.
These and many other apparently small but very critical issues are raised for improvement in the Proclamation.
In this process of improving the Proclamation to bring about free, fair, peaceful and successful election in 2010, the Ruling Party and Government should be bold enough, unlike in the past, to face reality in the country and to take the appropriate measures enumerated here in full consultation with the opposition parties, in and outside the parliament, consistent with the need for peaceful change of governments, lest the consequences of the alternative is too much for the country and everybody concerned, not the least the Ruling Party and Government as Ethiopian experience of the past three and a half decades have shown.
AEUP believes that foreign governments and international organizations, representing the United Nations and civil societies, have also significant roles in contributing to Ethiopia's free, fair, peaceful and successful election in 2010, not only because of (i) the demand for good governance all across the globe, if globalization and transfer of capital and technology to backward countries are to succeed amicably, efficiently and effectively, but also because (ii) a peaceful transition of governments is paramount to enhancement of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Africa, the far east and other parts of the less developed world, and (iii) that foreign affairs requires maintenance of friendly, cooperative relations and exchange of opinions among countries that is consistent with equality and human dignity.
AEUP also wants to take this opportunity to remind the distinguished country and international delegates of the seven point demands that was submitted in the aftermath of the 2005 national election to the Ruling Party and Government by CUD and subsequently by AEUP so that the incumbent Government sees to them satisfied. These are consistent with our current comments and suggested improvements in the above Proclamation, if the 2010 and subsequent national elections are to be free, fair, peaceful and successful.
1. The Ruling Party and Government must free all political prisoners without further delay and precondition, and it must stop harassing, detaining, imprisoning and beating prisoners of conscience while in detention or custody;
2. The Ruling Party and Government must respect Freedom of the Press and the Media, and stop any infringement upon these rights. It must permit equal use of the public media by opposition political parties with that of the Ruling Party and Government;
3. The Ruling Party and Government must allow reorganization of the National Election Commission as a neutral body free from any form of influence by the incumbent, and its bills re-decreed to serve the interest of the Ethiopian people reflecting the freedom enshrined in the Ethiopian Constitution;
4. The Ruling Party and Government must respect the separation of powers of the Judiciary, comprising the Public Prosecution and the Courts, from the Executive Branch in accordance with the dictates of the Ethiopian Constitution and their officers must be able to execute their duties and responsibilities freely without any influence, fear and reprisal from The Ruling Party and Government;
5. The Ruling Party and Government should stop interfering in the Armed Forces and the Police Force during the delivery of their duties and responsibilities of defending our people and land against external aggression and of helping keep peace, law and order within the country in accordance with the Ethiopian Constitution and the incumbent should stop using them against the law, and under the pretext of maintaining the Constitution, to suppress the Ethiopian public's dissent, those of the members of the opposition parties and those of other civil societies;
6. The Ruling Party and Government must respect in accordance with the Ethiopian Constitution our people's freedom to organize in any political party and civil society of their choice and should stop interference in these fundamental rights; and
7. The Ruling Party and Government must respect the absolute right of our people, of the opposition political parties and of the civil societies to express their opinions against the Government freely in the form they deemed necessary in a peaceful manner;
In this process the Opposition Parties must be consulted and should own the whole decision-making process along with the Ruling Party and Government.