Ethiopia: Security challenges thwart voters registration

Voters registration for Ethiopia's sixth general election is not taking place across over 24,000 voters' registration offices due to security…

Voters registration for Ethiopia’s sixth general election is not taking place across over 24,000 voters’ registration offices due to security problems, the Chairperson of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) has said.Out of the planned 50,000 voters’ registration offices, 25,151 of them are operational due to security challenges particularly in Ethiopia’s Oromia, Amhara, South Nations Nationalities and Peoples and Benishangul-Gumuz Regional States, NEBE Chair Birtukam Midekissa  said on Wednesday.

She told representatives of political parties that the board has faced serious security challenges to transport election materials to Afar and Somali regions where fresh ethnic based clashes broke out. 

No election registration office has been opened in these two regions due to the security challenges. 

Similarly, Afar and Somali regions have not started registration as of April 14, 2021 – as disclosed by NEBE. 

What was said to be a conflict over the dividing line between the two regions, sometime last week, claimed at least the lives of about 100 people.

Dozens of others were wounded. 

Displacements of residents from conflict ridden regions were also among factors that affected voter registration. 

Challenges related to logistics including transportation, in some places, have been mentioned as problems that affected the process. 

Ethiopia is set to hold general elections on June 5, 2021.