June 21, 2021

Ethiopia: Elections Hit By Misleading Info, Rising Tensions

Ethiopia has taken to the polls today, Monday 21 June, to elect a new parliament, although the political event has been marred by claims of misinformation and ethnic tensions.

The country was originally meant to vote in August last year, but due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the event was delayed. It will be the first contest of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s incumbency since he first came to power in 2018.

As the nation of over 112 million citizens votes, many are hoping for security and peace in the region, especially after a new conflict between federal and local forces arose in Tigray, displacing thousands of people.

Before the big day, however, claims were surfacing from online users saying that accounts on social media platforms such as Facebook had been shut down due to users allegedly “posting misinformation.”

One such claim is that due to the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Ethiopia was preparing for a nuclear strike on neighbouring Egypt.

Meanwhile, another widely shared piece of false information was of an alleged audio clip from a high-level meeting, in which Ahmed states he would “rather die” than give up power.

The final results are expected to be announced before the end of July.

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