Ethiopian election 2015: who should be the Alpha
and Omega observer?
Election observing is the
general over viewing of the conduct of election process by one or more
independent parties. Observers could be domestic public, foreign countries,
international governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Election
observers assess the conduct of an election process on the basis of
national legislation and international election standards.
According to Ethiopian Electoral Law
Proclamation No. 532/2007, election observers are categorized in to Domestic
Election Observers, Foreign Election Observers, Public Election Observers,
Representatives of Political and Private candidates.
However the degree of their role may vary, both
domestic and foreign Election observers could play vital and eminent role in
making national election free, fair, peaceful and democratic.
There is a common view in most of developing
nations including Ethiopia that few individuals and political parties may think
and miscalculate in a wrong way that only foreign monitors’ observation could
make the election process freer, fair, peaceful, democratic and enhance the credibility and legitimacy of election. It’s
possible to argue that, more than any external observation, nationwide public
observers’ active, responsible and transparent observing mechanisms could make
Ethiopian national election 2015 freer, fair, peaceful and democratic.
According to Ethiopian electoral Law, a public
election observers committee shall be established at constituency and polling
station level. Accordingly, each polling station shall have five public
observers who shall be elected from among residents of the polling station,
while each constituency election office will have three public observers
elected from among the polling stations. Executive Directive, No. 3/2008 issued
by the Board stated the objective of establishing the public election observers
is to enable follow up and closely observe the election process through their
Ethiopian Public observers have eminent and
extra-ordinary roles. They could observe registration of electors, the
verification of candidature endorsement signature, the registration and screening
of candidates, selection of candidature symbols and publicizing of candidates,
casting and counting of votes, summing up of votes, write down and sign their
observation on the various electoral forms and documents or in the form of
Public observers have more advantages than
that of foreign observers. The public observers may have more understanding and
depth knowledge about election history and system in Ethiopia, observe the
election thoroughly from its very beginning to the last end, could cover all
election areas and polling stations, have advantage of spending less financial
and more human resources than that of foreign observers and may face less
language constraint and inter-cultural communication barriers.
According to Articles 78/2 and 81/2 of the
Election Law, the government may invite International Observers as deemed
necessary and the eligible foreign observers must perform their duty in full
compliance with the laws of the country, by respecting the sovereignty of the
state and in accordance with the directives issued by the Board. Ethiopian
government understands and believes that Serious and
professional international or foreign
observation could play constructive role in making the 2015 Ethiopian
national election free, fair, peaceful and legitimate. International observers
could disseminate best practices and experiences; they could enhance
credibility and legitimacy, they may help national observers to build their capacity.
However international observers may have
their own draw-backs. These include trying to interfere in the electoral
process, being ignorant to local circumstances
related to history, culture, and other factors. Foreign election Monitors may
often arrive shortly before the vote and usually depart immediately after vote.
This hinders their ability to spend enough time to observe the total process of
the election. They may face lack of human, financial and technical resource,
language and cultural barriers. Lack of objectivity may lead their reports
to be tailored to the demands of the funding source rather than fulfilling the
mission of monitoring the election.
public election observers could play more vibrant role than that of foreign
observers in making election 2015 free, fair, peaceful, legitimate and
election observations in democratic government systems should be by the people
to the people, Ethiopian general election 2015 must be observed by the
Ethiopian public to the Ethiopian public. Nation, Nationalities and peoples of
Ethiopia could judge general election 2015 whether it is free, fair, democratic
and legitimate or not. Public observers should be Alpha and Omega observers of
Ethiopian election 2015 observation process must be over seen and judged by the
Ethiopian public to the Ethiopian public.
incumbent up on all Ethiopian public to actively participate on election
process, observation, in encouraging and supporting public observers by
accepting their decisions in electoral process rather than seeking for foreign
observers’ effort and decision.
Zekarias Talo Anjulo
Date March 25,2015