Ethiopia: Silencing Dissent

Issue Date January 2016
Volume 27
Issue 1
Page Numbers 89-94
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In Ethiopia’s May 2015 parliamentary elections, the long-ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), together with its allies, claimed a historic victory with 100 percent of the seats. This result is not as surprising as it might seem: Since the 2005 general elections—the most contested in the nation’s history—the party has been using antiterrorism laws and harsh restrictions on media and civil society to silence voices critical of the regime. The regime justifies its repressive measures by telling citizens that the country is in danger of ethnic strife and that maintaining law and order requires a firm approach. Like most autocratic regimes, however, the EPRDF worries that the more informed and connected the people are, the more empowered they will be to hold the government to account.

About the Author

Simegnish Yekoye Mengesha, an Ethiopian journalist, media consultant, and translator, is currently a Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy. She has reported for the Sub-Saharan Informer and worked extensively with foreign media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, Voice of America, and the BBC. She served as director of the Ethiopian Environment Journalists Association in 2013–14.

View all work by Simegnish Yekoye Mengesha