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News: EZema says it’s following Ethiopia’s democratic reforms closely and carefully

Caption: At a presser EZema held in July this year it called for constitutional amendment. Picture: File, Agencies/Social Media

Hayalnesh Gezahegn

Addis Abeba, September 27/2019 – In its response to the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE), Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice (EZema), said that, as one stakeholder concerned with the ongoing reform programs in Ethiopia, it was following the process of reform within democratic institutions “closely and carefully.”

EZema’s statement came as a response to NEBE’s yesterday statement, which disputed Prof. Berhanu Nega’s assertion during an interview with ESAT TV that his party’s legal experts took active part in the reform processes of the restructuring of the new electoral board and the new electoral and political parties bill. In its statement, NEBE said that the reform process involving the revision of the new electoral bill and its board’s restructuring processes were done based on inputs from consultations with stakeholders, members of parliament and political parties. However, the drafting itself was conducted exclusively by the democratic institutions reform task force, a task force within the Legal Reform Council under the auspices of the Federal Attorney General’s office.

Acknowledging the efforts of various working groups within the Legal Reform Council, a council established to undertake the overall judiciary branch reform programs within three years period of time, EZema’s statement said that its legal experts continue to participate in “open consultations organized for all public stakeholders” during the reform processes of restructuring democratic institutions and amending of laws.

Its legal experts are not only tasked to participate in these public consultations to provide feedback but also to evaluate the processes and advise the leadership of EZema if these processes were ongoing “impartially and sustainably.” In that regard the party said it believed the democratic institutions reform process was “more or less successful.”

Regarding the interview with ESAT TV, which prompted NEBE to issue the statement, EZema said that during the interview what its leader Prof. Berhanu Nega did was an attempt to highlight the fact that such reform programs, which aim at transforming Ethiopia to a democratic state, were not to be left for the governing party alone and that all stakeholders should take part in the process, as did its members.

“EZema understands that such opportunities in which all Ethiopians participate in the process is a key input in order for this transition to be completed successfully. In addition, we believe all stakeholders involved in identifying gaps and providing inputs to improve the laws, including working groups and members of the Advisory Council, as well as institutions undergoing through these reforms should discharge their responsibilities free of political influences.”

“EZema’s leadership and its members strictly adhere to these principles,” the statement further said. It also expresses the party’s “highest respect” for all stakeholders who volunteered to participate in these reform process including members of the Advisory Council and the various working groups under its auspices. AS

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