Mekele, capital of the Ethiopian region of Tigray in May 2021. Sébastien Németh/RFI

[Rough translation of a report by Sébastien Nemeth for Radio France International – RFI]

Published: 19/06/2021 – 19:10

Voting will take place on Monday 21 June in Ethiopia, but not all of the country will go to the polls. Many constituencies will not participate in the elections, including those in the war-torn Tigray region since November.

With our special correspondent back from Mekele, Sebastien Nemeth

Between power outages, Internet blackouts since November and shortages, Mekele is living at the pace of war. The Electoral Commission will therefore not organize the election. Tedros is a shopkeeper. He accuses the federal army of looting his store.

Today, he dismisses the vote with a wave of his hand. “For me, this vote means nothing. We are in a war zone. We think first of all about our security and our survival. There is a lot of insecurity, crime, so how could I vote anyway,” he says. We had elected our regional government and then there was the war. So today who would we vote for?”

“This is not an election, it’s a joke.
Every day, new displaced people from all over the province come to pile up in the camps opened in the city where living conditions are very precarious. Goitom arrived five months ago at the Kisanet site. He denounces the double talk of the federal government.

For me, it doesn’t make sense,” he says. Abiy Ahmed considers himself the leader of Ethiopia, but he does not respect human rights. His soldiers kill civilians, rape women. When someone commits these crimes, how can he organize elections? The government wants to create an image to make the world believe that there is a democracy. But this is not an election, it’s a joke.”

Some constituencies will vote late on September 6. For Tigray, which is supposed to elect 38 MPs, it is not known. The election commission said the date would be given once the interim government opens offices for election officials.