The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) is speeding up its preparations for the upcoming 2020 elections, Birtukan Mideksa, Chairman of the Board said.
Speaking to The Reporter after talks with the visiting UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt at the British Embassy in Addis Ababa, Birtukan said that her institution is working to conduct the upcoming election according to the schedule.
“We are preparing in an accelerated manner and the Board is working to conduct the elections as scheduled. But, the preparation involves different tasks. We are beginning now and the Board is not yet complete in terms of membership. Four board members are expected to be named before the House of Peoples’ Representatives (HPR) in the coming weeks,” she disclosed.
“But, if the preparation faces challenges and hindrances, we will evaluate them and decide [whether we should proceed with the election or extend it],” she added.
During his visit to the five African countries this week, including Ethiopia, Hunt disclosed his government’s support of EUR 15.5 million or 582 million birr to the upcoming Ethiopian election.
After his discussions with Birtukan, Hunt said that, “We are supporting this process because it is a very exciting moment in the Ethiopian history – thanks to the courage of PM Abiy Ahmed (PhD). Ethiopians will be able to do something for the first time that is the power to choose their government or to throw out a government they don’t like.”
According to Louise Chamberlain, the UNDP Resident Representative to Ethiopia, the support by the UK government will go through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and it will be used to provide support for the Ethiopian election in three areas.
She told The Reporter that, the first area of support is capacity building to strengthen the ability of the Board to manage elections according to principles of independence and integrity. The second deals with communication and outreach supports, which concerns strengthening information sharing to the public so that people understand voter rights and are informed about election process. Third, the support involves helping the Board to prevent election related violence by understanding risks in connection to elections.
“We help to bring about resolution to election related-disputes in a transparent way working together with key justice institutions,” She said.
According to her, attaining free, fair, inclusive and credible election is not only the work of the NEBE.
“It requires the participation of political parties and the general public as well as governmental institutions to ensure a protected environment for elections to take place,” Chamberlain indicated.
Birtukan also shares Chamberlain’s view.
“The UK government has expressed its willingness to provide both financial and political support. This is commendable. We are committed to conduct an election that is significantly different from the previous ones. But, commitment by itself does not bring this. Especially, as the money required to conduct elections is beyond the government’s ability to cover, we need support from our partners,” Birtukan said.