Accuses the gov’t of conspiring to undermine it
By Haile Mulu
Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) said that the meeting its former members called under its name was illegal. UDJ accused the ruling party and the Addis Ababa City Administration for taking part in supporting this meeting to go ahead. The City Administration on its part said that it had not given permission for a meeting under the UDJ name to take place.
Dr. Hailu Araya, Vice-President of UDJ told The Reporter that it was illegal for the City Administration to have given permission to these former members it had dismissed from the party to have a meeting under its name. He also said that the former members had no evidence attesting that they are members of UDJ and that his party had sent a letter in protest to the City Administration, the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE), the hotel where the press release announcing the meeting took place and the school where the meeting is supposed to take place.
Andualem Arage, Secretary-General of UDJ, on his part recalled that the fact that its previous request to hold a candle light vigil for its president, Birtukan Midekesa, was refused and added that its former members were allowed to hold a meeting in his party’s name and were given support from the City Administration as well as the Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency was indicative of government interference.
He said that he believed that this was done so as to give the impression of instability within his party and erode the public’s trust and confidence in it.
Markos Bezuneh, the head of a section in the City Administration which gives permission for public gatherings, said that the administration did not give permission for a meeting under UDJ’s name. He disclosed that the permission was given upon the request of former UDJ members who requested to hold a meeting with current UDJ members and officials.
“They came to us as former members of UDJ, and we gave them permission as such,” he said. Asked whether they should have informed UDJ of the request, Markos replied that they have no obligation to do so and that although UDJ objected to the meeting, the City Administration could not deny peoples’ right to hold meetings.