Candidate’s killing proposed investigation sparks row

Opposition leaders said the killing of Aregawi Gebreyohannes was political

By Seblewongel Habtamu and Yemane Nagish

The National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) has called on the ruling party and the Ethiopian Federal Democratic Unity Forum (Forum) to take part in the investigation of the killing of Aregawi Gebreyohannes, candidate of Arena, a member of Forum, for Nebelat woreda in Tigray region, it was learnt.
The killer was arrested and sentenced within two weeks of the killing which took place on the night of March 2 this year. NEBE called on both partries to participate in the investigation after allegations of political motivation in the killing.

Although both parties were amenable to the idea of conducting an investigation, the ruling party accused of Arenaof dragging its feet in having the investigation take place.

Arena on its part said that although it was eager to have the matter investigated and cleared, it wanted the investigation to be done by an independent team with adequate legal background.

Bereket Simon, head of the Office of Government Communications Affair with the rank of Minister, said yesterday in a press conference that although the EPRDF had nominated a person as per the request of NEBE to be part of the investigation team, Arena had not. “They don’t want the matter resolved,” he said.

He said that any party who alleges that its member was killed for a political reason should jump at the opportunity for an investigation such as this. He accused Arena of using the killing of it member over some other conflict for political purpose and said it would have been appropriate to use this opportunity for resolving the matter and making it public.

Aregash Adane, member of Arena, admitted that the party had received the letter from NEBE and said that the manner in which the investigation was meant to be conducted was not proper.

“We want the matter investigated and resolved. But since we are saying the killing was political, it should be done by an independent team outside of the NEBE with legal background that has been approved by both parties,” she said.