This project was based in Addis Ababa and was intended to have a nation-wide implementation. Due to several setbacks related to the lack of an enabling legal environment to embark on election monitoring activity, the project was restricted to Addis Ababa and its surroundings.
Organization for Social Justice in Ethiopia proposed to 35 civil society organizations to form an election monitoring network whereby the civil society could participate in the electoral process of the country. The proposal was welcomed by the invited civil society organizations and OSJE was entrusted with the task of hosting the secretariat of the Network and play a leading role in conducting the election monitoring activity.
When the network's activity was challenged by the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia's Directive on Local Observers, OSJE had instituted a class action suit on behalf of fourteen other NGO's and had consolidated the right of the civil society organization to monitor elections by acquiring a double victory at the courts.
A first advanced report in regard to Election Day was endorsed by all thirty-five Ethiopian NGOs and CSOs in the network.
UDHR, which Ethiopia has ratified, provides that "the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures. Article 38 of the Ethiopian constitution which is in line with art. 25 of ICCPR provides for the right to vote and to be elected. Such standards require that a free and fair election process be there so that these rights are observed. In the belief that election monitoring would contribute to the promotion of these rights, OSJE took part in the election process as monitor.
The results of the project: The various findings of the network under the capacity of observers allowed the production of a well documented and well publicized interim report on the level of fairness and freeness during the May 15, 2005 National Election in Addis Ababa and its surroundings.
More importantly, the project showed the ability of Ethiopian CSOs to join financial and human resources to participate in the governance of the country. Each phase of the project was agreed upon and supported by all members of the network which gave the entire monitoring operation a great legitimacy.
The willingness of fifteen CSOs to have recourse to the judicial system when barred from taking part in the electoral process, demonstrated to all stakeholders the strength and commitment Ethiopian CSOs are determined to use to ensure the maintaining of democracy in Ethiopia.
OSJE's role and its degree of involvement: OSJE initiated the project and was later on chosen to host the secretariat of the Network of Civil Society Organizations that had convened to monitor the elections.
In that capacity, OSJE coordinated the entire long-term monitoring operation. Its responsibilities included among other things the preparation of all monitoring activities (researches, observers’ deployment, creation of observers’ monitoring kit, conducting training of observers, production of monitoring progress reports and final report) but also the monitoring of the Ethiopian legal environment and the mobilization of the member organizations when discovering the existence of barriers to monitoring activities. This last effort resulted in the coordination of the class action launched by some members of the network against the NEBE.
Donors to the project: Initiative Africa & CRDA
Initiative Africa Tel:- 251-11- 440-02-05 , 251-11-440-10-97 Fax: 251-11-442 51 46
P.O. Box 1123 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
CRDA Tel: 251-11-439-06-77,251-11-439-2394 Fax 251-11-439-01-23
P. O. Box 5674, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia