Delayed rights are denied rights
Elections are necessary for any democracy, after all, people need to choose their governments in free and fair manner. However, elections on their own are not what make country a democratic, there are other essential components for any democracy to work.
For example, when you study poverty, you don’t only look at household income, employment etc. You also look at factors such as housing, living standards, infant mortality, opportunity, material deprivation etc.
The same method should be used when assessing democracy and its norms
Where democracy is mature and unassailable, such as Britain, The US, and Canada to name but a few, elections are not the only litmus test for democratic values.
Error checking and accountability institutions such free judiciary, free press, strong civil society etc are what make democracy flourish. In Ethiopia where elections( though always not free and fair) are used to equate democracy, has this week announced that it will not hold elections this month in two historically dispossessed regions- Somali region and Harari region in addition to Tigray, where a civil war is raging, citing irregularities and wrong ballot papers.
These regions account to at least 76 seats out of the 547 seat parliament.
There are two issues with the delay, one is the denial of the right to vote with others, even if the election is as we know it a whitewash.
The second one is the unfair treatment of singling out the two most peaceful regions of Ethiopia as places where elections can not take place- the old Abyssinian racism has resurfaced even when there are no pretext to use.
Delayed rights are denied rights.
While the people of Somali region will not have a free and fair elections in the current Ethiopian set-up, they have now lost the mere exercise of going to vote like others simultaneously.
– Dr Nur Hassan