Greetings. So excited for the election tomorrow!!! Hoping everyone gets out to vote. I was thinking about how my parents instilled the importance of voting to me and siblings today as I was hanging our American flag up. My mom would say, “some people walk hundreds of miles to vote in elections that are already decided”. My pending blog post was also on my mind, so I decided to check out the history of elections in Ethiopia. I was somewhat surprised to find out how recently citizens gained the right to vote in democratic elections. I immediately thought about all the kids EOR supports in Ethiopia. They are all on the path out of severe poverty with the help of our donors and EOR.
Here is the scoop…In 1994, a new constitution was written, setting up a legislature and a judicial system, and guaranteeing equal rights and freedom of expression to all of the Ethiopian citizens. In May 1995, Ethiopia’s first free and democratic elections were held in which Meles Zenawi was elected Prime Minister. Article 38 of the Ethiopian constitution is noted below.
Article 38 The Right to Vote and to be Elected
(1) Every Ethiopian national, without any discrimination based on colour, race, nation, nationality, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion or other status, has the following rights:
(a) To take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly and through freely chosen representatives;
(b) On the attainment of 18 years of age, to vote in accordance with law;
(c) To vote and to be elected at periodic elections to any office at any level of government; elections shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors.
(2) The right of everyone to be a member of his own will in a political organization, labour union, trade organization, or employers’ or professional association shall be respected if he or she meets the special and general requirements stipulated by such organization.
(3) Elections to positions of responsibility with any of the organizations referred to under sub-article 2 of this article shall be conducted in a free and democratic manner.
(4) The provisions of sub-articles 2 and 3 of this article shall apply to civic organizations which significantly affect the public interest.
Today, I feel lucky. I am so grateful . I have food, clean water, sanitation, education, and the right to vote in an election that will not be fraudulent. The kids EOR supports are also lucky. They are reading, learning, drinking clean water, and getting nutritious meals. Wonder how many of them will grow up and exercise their right to vote? I am hoping most of them will.