Electoral Board Emphasizes Role of Covenant in Curbing Conflicts, Violence

Addis Ababa March 15/2019 The covenant signed by 107 political parties yesterday is an important document to curb conflicts and violence, according to National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE).

In an exclusive interview with ENA, NEBE Chairperson Birtukan Mideksa said it was a significant move in terms of promoting dialogue, adopting and accommodating principles.

“The process has been inclusive in that parties which were registered years back and parties that came from exile were involved in the process,” she stated.

Noting that all are operating in a very different political spectrum as compared with the past, Birtukan added that “with the openness and the opportunity we have, however, we can tackle the challenges.”

She further stressed that the issue of hate speech and incitement of violence in the political spectrum “is threatening for any political process let alone elections.”

 “So, this agreement is very important. These parties have millions of followers; and if they abide by the covenant and convey the message to their followers and members I think we will curb conflicts and violence significantly,” the chairperson noted.

According to her, it was an interesting exercise. The parties managed to develop a lot of empathy towards one another, and the document is consensus based.

The covenant governs all political activities, especially peaceful and collaborative competition among the parties and within their organizations, she elaborated.

The political parties have agreed on basic principles with regard to peace and non-violence, which should be kept by each party, Birtukan said. “So this is an achievement by itself.”

The covenant stipulates that political parties adhere to the constitution and that measures will be taken against violators by a joint council that oversees the process.