In spite of calm and an orderly exercise, the Ethiopia 6th national elections were massively rigged. The ballot boxes were not sealed, but tied with ribbons. This enabled functionaries of the Prosperous Party (PP) and sycophants of Abiy Ahmed, to freely ballot stuff pre-ticked ballots. Nearly every polling station in the country, the dictatorship of Abiy Ahmed Ali, deployed state operatives in civilian clothes. They were intimidating, menacing and had more control of the polling station than the mediocre polling officers.
Ethiopians were voting amid a genocidal war in Tigray and deadly conflicts in other parts of the country-no meaningful political contestation in Oromia & others. The Abiy Ahmed phony elections, lacked real debate on policies and security.
The elections observing team was a joke, sleepy Obasanjo and his African observers looked more like lost day-trip tourists.
The regime and its puppet National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) , was able to use urban polling stations for propaganda purposes. Thus, they painted a distorted nationwide polling exercise as similar.
The manual counting of ballot papers at most polling stations was a joke and disgusting, as the supervision was not independent, but done by regime sycophants.
Thus, the government that will lead Ethiopians in the next five years, would have come from a fully rigged election.
Amhara region voting was chaotic, as people were shot at and forced to vote ANP, and ANM observers were barred from entering the region.
In spite of voting starting very late, there was widespread rigging in Woliata zone, while opposition observers were barred from the elections, gangs of Prosperity Party(PP), were still campaigning and intimidating people within the voting perimeters.
Most voters were suffering from fatigue, after standing in the same place for more than two hours.
The shortage of ballot papers in many election stations was disappointing, as it wasn’t just a small mistake, but total incompetence of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE).
The Rigged Ethiopia elections
Sidama region also faced a shortage of ballot papers, and people stopped voting- In southern region, Gamo zone, ballot stuffing was the order of the day, and thugs wore political symbolic clothing of Prosperous Party to intimidate voters.
In Hawassa, ballot papers meticulously disappeared, and many voters were left without voting.
In Sidama region Alta Wondo until 2:18 pm the ballot papers had not been received.
The elections were marred with bribery, intimidation and blackmail. The Prosperous Party had many advantages in many ways, that’s why 40% of the voting was done at night in poorly lit polling stations.
Ballot papers in Asosa were seen, but later vanished in thin air.
The first casting of votes in Bole Arabsa, was at 7:00 pm, making the whole exercise of voting painful.
One could have thought that, the Ethiopian election board was competent in Addis Ababa city, but not. Long ques of people waiting to vote, were still visible at 6:00 pm in woredas.
In Asosa, due to shortages of ballot papers, people gave up and went home.
At 1:45 pm in Bole Arabsa polling stations, more that 1000 people demonstrated , they were not happy with the way elections were being conducted-the shortage of ballot papers, the ballot stuffing and time management was the cause.
It was difficult getting hold of the electoral board of Ethiopia to raise issues like ballot paper shortage, ballot stuffing, etc. Their phones were off or seemed to have never worked.
In wolaya ,Sodo, Neweri, the elections were blatantly abused by regime criminal gangs:
- Multiple voting centers became a no go area, PP gangs threatened and intimidated people that had turned up to vote.
- Filled ballot boxes were spotted before casting votes.
- Election executives allowed thugs with more than one voters card to cast votes
- Ruling party cadres, kebele and woreda leaders confiscated voter cards, and made voters sign the voters registrar without casting their vote.
- Militias were seen collecting voters cards from voters at polling stations, but never retuned them back.
- Local leaders picked ballot papers from polling stations-voting area and took them to unknown place.
- Regime agents snatched phones from independent observers, and threatened electoral officers and voters.
In general, many electoral stations were failed by Kebele and Woreda leaders.
In Benishangul Gumuz region, the voting process was abruptly stopped with no good reason.
The voting process in Gambela region, was also interrupted by vigilantes.