Ethiopian region votes, defying federal government and PM


ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — People have begun voting in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region in a local election defying the federal government and increasing political tensions in Africa’s second most populous country.

Tigray officials have warned that an intervention by the federal government would amount to a “declaration of war.” They have objected to the postponement of the national election, once set for August, because of the coronavirus pandemic and the extension of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s time in office.

Over the weekend, Ethiopia’s upper house of parliament called Wednesday’s election unconstitutional. Ethiopia’s leader has ruled out a military intervention, but there are fears any punitive measures by the federal government could further escalate tensions.

The standoff with the northern region is the latest challenge to the administration of Abiy, who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year in part for introducing political reforms. He took office in early 2018. The Tigray region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, was the dominant one in Ethiopia’s previous government.

Some 2.7 million people in the Tigray region are expected to cast their votes at more than 2,600 polling stations, regional election officials said.

A regional broadcaster, Tigray TV, showed voters lining up in the early hours Wednesday. Two residents of the regional capital, Mekelle, told The Associated Press there was tight security in the city and surrounding areas. Bikes and auto rickshaws were banned from the city as of Tuesday evening.

On Monday, Ethiopian security officials removed reporters from a plane heading to the region, confiscating their I.D.s, cameras and other equipment. Separately, a non-governmental organization told the AP they were barred from observing the election “for no sufficient reason.”

The group, Seb Hidri, said the Tigray People’s Liberation Front was behind the ban.


  1. The Tigray election has been a beacon of democracy for the past three decades. Unlike other regions only Tigray had been able to live in a world class democratic system since TPLF liberated Ethiopia in the early 1990’s. The other regions were not able to loose without creating chaos, other regions often had sore loosers running for election.

    Not once the election results had been contested in Tigray since the 1990’s. The reason why Tegaru defeated Kinijit , ginbot7 Shabiya etc… in war or in election is because Tegaru elect leaders democratically since the 1990’s who serve the people elect them fully.

  2. Having failed to gain attention through other nefarious means, this is just one of TPLF’s antics to gain the spotlight.

    Let them cling to their guns. As for the rest of the country focus for the new year and beyond should be a reinvigorated effort by every Ethiopian towards peace, justice, equality, prosperity and unity through diversity. This is how we defeat TPLF’s ~30 years divisive agenda that has been sewn across the land.

  3. On this coming Ethiopian New Year day Chairman Debre goes:

    Dear comrades! Today September 1, 2013, I hereby declare the formal establishment of the People’s Republic of Tigray and its Central People’s Government! When you all wake up tomorrow morning you will find a river of milk and honey flowing just outside your front doorstep. Beginning today Let Hundreds/Thousand Flowers Bloom!!! Let’s Do The Great Leap Forward!!! Let The Workers of The World Unite!!! We Are Now a Well Developed and Socialist state ‘which hears and listens to itself’, Let the First Era of Communism Shine In the Motherland/Fatherland People’s Republic of Tigray!!! Death to Imperialism!!! Yankees Go Home!!!

    Then the next day Comrade Zhu Enlai, am sorry, Comrade Getachew Reda will give a brief and stern press conference. He warns every country that refuses to recognize his new People’s Republic of Tigray and continue diplomatic relationship with the rogue and runaway province of Ethiopia should be ready to face the consequences of their reckless action. His new republic will impose crushing economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation on them. Hey province Ethiopia! You want trouble? Just tell me when!!!!

  4. Subject: “Ethiopian region votes, defying federal government and PM” By ELIAS MESERET,
    ZeHabesha, September 9, 2020

    Commentary, based ONLY on FREEDOM of EXPRESSION. as practiced in Lucky Democratic Free States.

    Here I go!!!!
    In a situation like the subject matter above, one is tempted to appeal to the Almighty God to defend the helpless mass of ordinary people from determined and obsessed dictatorial individuals to govern the people by any means necessary to satisfy their natural ego. Let History be our sanctuary for lesson. Example: Hitler. In the world of Hitler, NO BODY is RIGHT but HITLER HIMSELF. So is the same with any African country and DICTATORS therein. We have seen it all. We continue to see it every day. We Africans— for some mysterious reason — are not lucky.

    With the above background, the good hard working people of Tigrai cannot be different than any human creature. They fall under the spell of their own flesh and blood who was born to be disastrous dictator. Don’t go too far >>> see the Dictators of our own DEAR AFRICA from EAST to WEST and from SOUTH to NORTH. Why would Tigrai be different ??? Unless, Dear God created Tigrai to be different, unique with farsightedness as SPECIAL CREATURES.!!!!!!!!!! It won’t happen. And so, my humble simple Heart goes to the Good, GOD FEARING, PEOPLE of TIGRAi who are at present chained by their own brethren who know no boundary for cruelty and obsession for power at any cost.

    Dictators do not see human beings as creatures with feelings. In their own mirror, they see themselves as a source of salvation leading ordinary people to paradise of their own mirror. But the DAY of RECKONING will come. It may take long to come, but it will happen and the Sun will shine through the Dark Clouds. And the honourable people of Tigrai, with other suffering ordinary people, will SMILE with bright sun shine and SING the HEART FELT SONG: Hallelujah ! “FREEDOM AND HAPPINESS ARE HERE AGAIN. SMILE.

  5. Let’s get the record straight about the glorious history of Africa’s voting record. Mobutu had won 100%. Bokassa had won 100% and that anointed him an emperor. Nasser would not touch it if any thing less than 99.9% and that came 0.1% down cuz he forgot to vote that day. Busy, busy, man!!! Nimeiry would throw every Sudanese in the Nile and Red Sea if it turned out to be less than 100. 100%, that is!!! Idi Amin would turn you into a filet mignon if you told him the result was anything less than 100%. Even Obama certified EPRDF of the good ole days wouldn’t even touch it with a 14 ft pole if the result came back less than 99.6%. So what’s your problem about the expected result from this vote? Stop moaning and crying.

    O Africa! My Darling Africa! That’s why I love you!!! Machiavelli has cast his grace on thee!!!!!

  6. There you have it! Idi Amin just rolled over in his grave in raging anger. Bokassa, Mobutu, Nasser, Yakubu, Nimieri, are all rolling over in their graves cuz these slackers lost 1.8% of the vote in Tigray. How dare you Chairman Mao, am sorry, Chairman Debre? 98.2% and that’s all you gonna show me? That’s unacceptable!!! You’re fired! It should have been at least 99.6% and even that missing 0.4% is because you Debre forgot to vote. You truant you!!!

  7. Ah! Democracy!, Democracy!!

    TPLF organised a democratic election, run against itself democratically, and won almost all votes. The democratic victory is complete.

    This reminds me of a joke I heard / read many, many years ago and it goes as follows.

    A dictator who ruled his people for 30 years with an iron fist heard this fanciful word democracy again and again, as the best system other countries practice. He got an idea. One day he announced that he has an important announcement for his people. Excited people assembled in the stadium awaiting eagerly.

    He proudly announced, “My dear people! Forget the past 30 undemocratic years! From next election on you will elect me democratically!!!”

  8. Dear Awash Lemma:

    The joke you posted is so hilarious but so telling about typical governance of the last 60 years in Africa. Very funny joke but somber. It is somber because such dictators have to ruthlessly suppress their own people. They have to be so conniving to a point they would numb everyone in the country. It comes at the heavy toll it inflicts on the thought process of the people. Chinese citizens are the best example. After losing more than 60 million of members of their close families, rural and urban dwellers and the rule who reminds them that ‘socialist system hears and listens to itself’ since 1949, you would think they are faking when they tell how they trust their rulers. That is what you can call regimentation in its absolute value. It is just Hitler and his henchmen did to their people. Nasser was another despot who also found successful in such task. Now we can say we have one of our own. The difference is instead of one living individual, they have successfully created an organization cult. Those conniving despots knew what they will get/create when they came up with a marshal place in 1985. They called it Marxist Leninist League of Tigray(MLLT). That was a well thought plan to create a completely obedient citizen in and around their organization. If you dare to dissent, there is that night of the long knife knocking at your door or bam, boom Shakalaka, you will drop like a hot potato not knowing what has just hit you. It worked for them in the territory they ‘liberated’ first but when they tried to apply that on the entire country it did not work. Finally those connivers went back to where everyone is straightened out like a piece of wire. It is going to be extremely difficult to dislodge those innocent citizens from this cult house. Very sad but true.

    Belated Happy New Year to you and your family. Stay safe.

  9. Make that:

    It is just like what Hitler did…

    Nasser was another despot who found success in such a task.

    …when they came up with a marshal plan in 1985.

  10. Thank you, Ittu, for your new year good wishes. I also wish you, your family and the other compatriots who share their honest and constructive views on Ethio-related websites.

    Yes, it is sad to watch TPLF usurping the voices of Tigrai people in the true nature of dictators all over the world. It is ridiculous to see their deceptive claim that TPLF = Tigrai people. It is a kind of insult to Tigrai people. A party by definition is the political expression of a segment of a population, it can’t be equated with the political expression of an entire population.

    Tigrians cannot be that different from other populations and are expected to have various ideologies and political persuasions. It is a shame to see some 5 millions of them so frightened, silenced and stifled by such an anachronistic, dogmatic, and neo-Maoist click for decades.

    However, I’m an incorrigible optimist, and I see the new year bringing bright hope for our country and the whole Horn of Africa region despite the doomsayers and wreckers trying their best day and night to dampen that prospect.

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