Birtukan Mideksa Likely to Become The Next Electoral Board Director

Harvard Scholar at Risk and twice-imprisoned Ethiopian judge Birtukan Midekssa prepares to speak in the Thompson Room at Harvard University. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer


Birtukan Mideksa becomes the electoral board chair after the house of people representatives approved her nomination. She was sworn in by the newly elected Supreme Court President Meaza Ashenafi. While introducing his nominee PM Abiy Ahmed was also asked several questions ranging from Birtukan citizenship to her political affiliation. In his response, the Prime Minister affirmed that his team has done its work in addressing all these questions and stressed out not only on her neutrality but also the reputation and credibility she built over years in fighting for justice makes her the right candidate for the job.  

Two weeks after her arrival following Dr. Abiy’s administration invitation
Birtukan Mideksa is set to become the next electoral board director. This news first broke as insider rumor two weeks ago when ShukShukta, a prominent diaspora YouTube channel reported the news. The news once again got confirmed by Reporter Amharic.

There were several signs that reflectBirtukan Midekessa is set to become the next electoral board director. The first was her retirement from any political activity as a politician, her appearance at the electoral board office recently and her statement in showing a willingness to take a government-appointed post.

Currently, the electoral board is going through consulting to make a major organizational reform. As part of that reform, there will also be an appointment of a new director to lead the post. If Birtukan Midekssa gets the appointment it will be the greatest ever comeback story in fighting for justice and equality for the country.

Birtukan first entry to politics began right after her decision as a court judge was violated by security forces, in which they rearrested a former defense minister Seye Abraha despite her granting him bail. She was among the popular figures during the 2005 election that resulted in her arrest along with several prominent opposition figures in the country. After her release, Birtukan Mideksa was rearrested for another two years following her dismissal of the government statement in accepting a plea deal for pardon. Her statement resulted in the revoking of her pardon and was sentenced to life in prison.

While she was in exile unlike other dissidents  Birtukan has been very silent in sharing her views about the country politics until recently.