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East Africa Politics News

Ethiopia to Hold General Elections in May, June 2021



Ethiopia will hold its postponed 6th general elections in May or early June 2021, a government official said on Tuesday.

Soliana Shimelis, the communication adviser of the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE), said preparations are underway.

The Ethiopian national elections scheduled for August, 2020 were postponed due to the threat posed by the Coronavirus pandemic. The postponement was a controversial move for Ethiopian political parties, especially the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) which held regional elections unilaterally, in defiance of the federal government’s decision to postpone the polls.

Shimelis’ comments come despite opposition parties’ complaint that a government crackdown against their officials had disrupted plans to prepare for the polls.

The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) said almost all of its leaders and party officials are under arrest, while its offices including the main office in the capital Addis Ababa are either “ransacked, closed or are under state under control.”

The government has not responded to these allegations.

Another opposition party Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) has also announced that it was going to be difficult for it to take part in the upcoming election with its leaders and members in jail.

Its prominent member Jawar Mohammed and the party’s deputy chairman Bekele Gerba were arrested in June following protests that broke out after the murder of popular musician Hachalu Hundessa.

They are both facing terror charges among others.

The Ethiopian government accuses them of inciting violence and “trying to alter the constitutional order.”

Meanwhile, NEBE on Friday December 11, 2020, invited interested local Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to submit their application to partake as local observers in the upcoming 6th general elections.

The board said local CSOs, as observers to an election, will play a great role in making the upcoming general election free, fair and independent.

NEBE also said it has already approved an election observers’ code of conduct, which provides a guide to the relation between the board and local CSOs.

The board invited legally registered non-profit and non-governmental CSOs, free from any political leaning, to submit their application.

Election officials expect at least 50 million people will vote to elect members of the House of Peoples Representatives, national parliament, and regional state councils.

Since coming to power in 2018 Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has promised to ensure free and fair elections.

Election officials postponed the poll, which had been scheduled to be held this year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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East Africa Politics News

AU Calls for Dialogue Over Kenya-Somalia Border Tension

Fighting broke out between Somalia National Forces and regional Jubbaland fighters, which Somalia claims were trained in Kenya.



The African Union (AU) has expressed concern over the rising tensions at the common border between Kenya and Somalia, where there was sporadic violence in Bula-Hawo. It called for dialogue to deescalate tension.

Fighting broke out between Somalia National Forces and regional Jubbaland fighters, which Somalia says were trained in Kenya.

On the Somali side where the battle occurred on Monday morning, at least nine people, including civilians, were killed.

The AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat has called on the two sides to stop the fighting and use multilateral channels to air their grievances.

“I’m following the tensions on the Kenya-Somalia border with concern, and urge the two neighbours to exercise restraint and engage in dialogue in conformity with the Igad-led process.

“Peace on the Kenya-Somalia border is vital to regional stability.”

Faki’s comments came as Mogadishu insisted it had confirmed weapons from Kenya had been used in the fight, although no evidence was immediately provided for the claims which Kenya rejected.

Kenya wrote to the African Union, on Monday, expressing security concerns, after federal and regional forces from Somalia renewed fighting at Bula-Hawo in Gedo near Mandera County.

Kenya said the fighting most likely will create a security crisis especially as the two countries no longer have diplomatic relations.

“Kenya’s primary concern is that the renewed fighting engenders large scale displacement of civilians inside Somalia and increasingly generate large numbers of refugees and asylum seekers to Kenya, therefore aggravating the already dire humanitarian situation in Somalia and in the refugee camps in Kenya,” said a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Kenya is concerned that if the fighting continues unabated, the situation could further destabilise the region, complicate the security situation and reverse the gains made in the fight against terrorism.”

On the Kenyan side in Mandera, the fighting has disrupted normal business and other activities as schools and shops have been shut for fear of violence. Ali Roba, the governor of Mandera, said some Kenyans were injured in the incident.

The battle between both forces, the SNA and Jubbaland fighters, began at about 1am Monday with the fight going on all through the day.

After taking out the Jubbaland forces loyal to the Abdirashid Hassan Abdinur alias Abdirashid Janan, the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) soldiers have been camping at Bula-Hawo town since March last year.

Abdirashid Janan, a Jubbaland minister for security, is wanted by Mogadishu.

Janan and his army crossed into Kenya and hid in Mandera town, after they were overpowered in March last year.

The tensions between Somalia and Kenya saw Mogadishu cut diplomatic ties with Nairobi in December last year. But Kenya has since rejected claims that it interfered with Somalia’s internal affairs.

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Somali Government Intercept Smuggled Weapons, Ammunitions

The ministry did not, however, identify the entities and quantity of ammunition intercepted nor did he provide any proof to back up the report either.



The Somali government has commenced investigations into the source and origin of certain sophisticated weapons and ammunition which it intercepted while they were being smuggled into the country.

The country’s minister of information said there had been an attempt by Somali and foreign entities, to illegally import high caliber weapons and ammunition into the country without government knowledge and permission.

In a statement issued in the capita Mogadishu, the minister said “the federal government of Somali has a robust system in the supply chain of weapons and ammunition from the point of procurement to post distribution, and it is these existing frameworks that have enabled the government to respond timely and block the deliveries.”

The ministry did not, however, identify the entities and quantity of ammunition intercepted nor did he provide any proof to back up the report either.

The ministry said the Somali government takes very seriously, violations of territorial sovereignty and integrity as well as any actions that can have potential destabilizing effects.

“The government is investigating the origin and motives of the weapons and ammunition it has blocked intended for Somalia,” the report said.

Shortly after Somali plunged into civil war 25 years ago, The United Nations imposed a blanket arms embargo on the nation.

The statement followed hours of fighting in the southern town of Beled Hawo between the security forces of Jubaland and and government forces as the two sides battled to take control of the strategic town which is a key entry of the Gedo region.

The Somali government did however say its forces managed to repel the militia group, and managed to recover illegally imported arms and ammunition, also flushing out Jubaland security forces.

Bothe sides have reportedly suffered casualties, even though the local authorities have not established the number involved.

This is not the first time that The Somali government and Jubaland forces will battle over that land. In March 2020, both forces were engaged in a similar battle to take control of the town.

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Kenyans Applaud Priest for Lambasting President Kenyatta, Others



A Kenyan priest, Rev Sammy Wainaina, has warmed his way into the hearts of most Kenyans after he lambasted the top politicians over their handling of the country’s affairs.

A video of the Wainaina, who is the provost of the All Saints Cathedral in the capital Nairobi, slamming President Uhuru Kenyatta and others has been widely shared on social media.

Commenters praised the reverend for speaking truth to power.

In his Sunday sermon, Wainaina criticised an ongoing campaign to change Kenya’s constitution that will see the post of a prime minister and deputies reintroduced in the executive arm of government.

He said the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) would not solve the country’s urgent problems like unemployment and poverty.

“We have money for BBI which will only benefit a few people at the top, the kingpins… but we have no money to build schools, then our children [are forced ] to learn under trees,” he said.

“Let me remind Kenyans that when your tribal man becomes the president or takes the five top seats, you will remain poor,” he added.

But he saved his most stinging criticism for President Kenyatta, who recently said that Kenya was losing more than two billion shillings ($18m) a day to corruption.

“What are you telling Kenyans when you confess that? That you are defeated? Who will then save this country if the president cannot save us?” he asked.

“Mr president, you have the ethics and anti-corruption commission, you have the director of public prosecutions, you have the national intelligence service, you have every government machinery at your disposal.

“Either the government knows who is stealing the Kenyans’ money, or the government is part of the stealing?” he said, adding that he would no longer host politicians in his church.

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