In an attempt to make the May 2020 election free and fair, Ethiopia’s reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed today appoints the well-known former opposition lady as chief of the electoral board.
The former judge and one of the female top opposition party figure, Bitrtukan Mideksa, was arrested following the controversial 2005 national election of Ethiopia.
The decision is made in line with the promise made by the Prime Minister of Ethiopia to improve the country’s electoral process. It shows preparation of the government for the May 2010 election and its political commitment by strengthening independent electoral board, according to a twit by the office of the prime minister.
After released she was living in the United States and returned back home a few weeks ago to support the reform measures being undertaken by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
Birtukan known by her supporters as, iron lady, sworn in his morning at the parliament in Addis Ababa to serve as board chairman of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia.
Ethiopian governmet which has beee subject of critics for huma rights abuses and failing to feed its people sice the former rebels took power in 1991, has recently began appointed educated women in key decison makig areas following the coming of Prime Minister Abiy.
The premier recently gave 50% of his ministerial cabinet position for highly qualified women, including defense and peace minister, which is charge of all the security of the country, and also appointed a woman as president of the Supreme Court a few weeks ago.
The question many people ask now is, can these women bring an end to the suffering of 100 million plus populations of Ethiopia, a wealthy nation with poor people? Or will they continue business as usual falling under the influence of the men?
Her public profile shows that while she was working for the federal judiciary, Birtukan was appointed to be a judge at the 3rd district court of the federal first instant court.
During that time, she presided over a high-profile case of the former defense minister and top ranking official of TPLF, Siye Abraha who was accused of corruption.
She set the defendant free on bail, and was surprised minutes later when government authorities arrested Siye while he was walking out of the court accompanied by his family and friends.
Birtukan decided to join a political party to help bring about change, including recognition of the rule of law, and full respect for the implementation of the constitution.
She joined the Rainbow Ethiopia: Movement for Democracy and Social Justice Party, and later, Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD). In the election of 2005, her party won over a third of the seats.
Party members believed they would have won even more seats if not for voting and counting irregularities. After the election, the governing party started to round up opposition party leaders, Birtukan, who was convicted of attempting to overthrow the constitutional order and was sentenced to life in prison.
She was pardoned in 2007 after lengthy negotiations and after she, along with other leaders of the opposition, spent 18 months in prison, accordig her proofile.
Birtukan later founded UDJ (Unity for Democracy and Justice) with the same principles that guided CUD. The need for having the new party name came from the fact that the ruling party’s election commission awarded to a splinter group from CUD (aka Kinijit). Birtukan was elected to be a chairperson of the UDJ, which has the goal of bringing about change in Ethiopia by peaceful means.