Ethiopia’s communist-leaning Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn says he will dig his opponent a grave in a secret location after accusing his hard-left rival of terrorism.
About 90 people died in an explosion on the eve of Ethiopia’s parliamentary election last year, a Shiite Turkic minority community. The government said the bomb was set off by the opposition.
The second round of voting that was supposed to have taken place Wednesday is now scheduled for March 4.
Opposition parties are boycotting the vote, claiming authorities are violating election law.
The Ethiopian prime minister, an ally of U.S. President Donald Trump, has put U.S. diplomats on watch after a top American official was threatened.
Hailemariam Desalegn said he would bury his opponent (Mesfin Bekele for that matter) in a secret location, out of the public eye. He accused Mesfin Bekele, who has spoken about the need for Ethiopian unity, of being a terrorist.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Workneh Gebeyehu responded Thursday saying the Ethiopian people do not believe the story and he didn’t think it was incitement to violence.
“A day after the elections he (government) chose to seek another candidate. This is not meaningful at all,” he told a news conference in Addis Ababa. “We don’t believe in being fearful about the election outcome because we think that the Ethiopian people are intelligent enough to be able to see this through.”
That is unlikely to appease the rest of the world and many of Ethiopia’s opponents have been calling for the indefinite postponement of the elections.
“Nothing is more sinister than such fanatical intransigence in the midst of an impending crisis,” Amnesty International USA’s Deputy Director for Africa, David Yeasby, said in a statement. “The Ethiopian people are preparing to vote in their national elections, a vote they must be allowed to freely, fairly and peacefully choose.”
Ethiopia’s parliament last year delayed the election by three months to make sure they were fair. Hailemariam Desalegn came to power in 2013 after parliamentary elections saw the opposition have a partial victory.
The election is set to be Hailemariam Desalegn’s last in office. He has only been in office since the ruling party secured an absolute majority in parliament in 2015.