Ethiopia’s ruling party has denied allegations that it employed intimidation and harassment, including the denial of foreign food aid to opposition members and their supporters. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front dismissed the allegations as fabricated stories from the opposition, IRIN reports.
“The government at this level of development doesn’t need any coercive measures to be elected,” Minister of Communication Affairs Bereket Simon said, according to IRIN. “Regarding governance, regarding social development, the people of Ethiopia know for sure the future of Ethiopia lies with this government and so we have no need to compete in an undemocratic way.”
Seeye Abreha, a Unity for Democracy And Justice member who lost in the May legislative elections, claimed that two donor-funded programs in Ethiopia were used by Meles’s party to gather support and votes.
Donors, including the U.S. and the World Bank, investigated the claims, but did not find evidence of aid misuse, IRIN says.
However, some rights organizations and Ethiopian opposition leaders have suggested that the investigations may have been half-hearted. Some critics have noted that Ethiopia is one of the West’s major allies against Somali insurgents, IRIN reports.