Ethiopia’s upcoming general election will be free and fair, the country’s president, Sahle-Work Zewde, assured lawmakers in the country on Monday.
Zewde made the vow in a speech she gave to a joint session of both houses of parliament, which have gone past their five-year term under a state of emergency due to the outbreak.
Ethiopia had postponed the 6th general elections that were scheduled to take place on August 29, 2020 mainly due to COVID-19. The horn of Africa nation is now set to hold the polls before September 2021.
The president told the parliamentarians that some reforms had been done on the electoral commission to ensure its independence.
“We managed to restructure the country’s electoral board in a way it can function independently,” Sahle-Work said.
Last year in her opening speech to the joint session of the Houses of Peoples’ Representatives and Federation, President Zewde had also expressed the government strong commitments towards a fair, free and credible election.
Indicating the importance of accommodating more diverse views in the parliament, she said the government and pertinent bodies are working around the clock to realize this core value of democracy.
Meanwhile, the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) announced that it has prepared 90 percent of election materials required for the 6th round national general elections scheduled to take place in 2021.
In a media tour on October 3rd, the Board announced that more than 50 million voters are expected to participate in close to 51 thousand polling stations.
NEBE Board Chairperson, Birtukan Mideksa, told journalists that the necessary preparations are going well ahead as over 90 per cent of the materials required for the election are already at hand.
According to Birtukan, the Board has been working to hold credible and reliable elections using modern and standard materials, unlike the previous elections, and preparations are going smoothly in this regard.
NEBE Communications Advisor, Soliana Shemelis on her part said that all necessary preparations are going well as the Board has prepared ballot boxes, voters’ registration forms in five local languages and packaging materials to transport polling materials.
According to Soliana, a box containing 29 different items will be sent to each polling station. She added that a total of 644 small generators and more than 2,500 laptops and tablets would also be distributed to various constituencies.
In addition, Soliana said that 152, 700 people would be trained to conduct voters’ registrations while 254, 500 others that participate in managing the vote casting process receive training.
The board announced that its preparation is to make the election credible by using modern materials that meet international standards. NEBE on its social media page announced that it has completed all purchases except voters ID card.