The National Electoral Board Workers to File Charges against Their Boss,Tesfaye Mengesha
Our sources disclosed today that workers of the National Electoral Board (NEB) filed charges against the board’s Office Manager and Secretary General, Ato Tesfaye Mengesha, in the National Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.
According to the sources in the board, the workers accused Ato Tesfaye of discriminating between the workers who support the government and those who keep their impartial status. According to the workers who spoke to our reporter, the workers who are faithful to government are receiving financial benefits and special gifts that are not accorded the workers who maintain their integrity of impartiality.
The workers illustrated their case by providing examples. According to these sources, Ato Tesfaye gives special monetary gifts and additional benefits. On the contrary, he discourages and pressurizes workers who do not accept his political views, by denying them of training opportunities, and ordering them on an unexpected forced leave of absence (one such example occurred beginning from the eve of the election until its conclusion). According to the workers, he does this to either force the workers to conform to his political view or leave the institution.
“On the day of the election, most of the board’s workers had worked until the evening,” say the workers. But, they explain, “the payments were given on the basis of the workers political views.” . For instance, the board paid for the extra time that the employees worked – from 5:30 to 7:30pm – according to the overtime payment rule. The rest of the night’s work, from 7:30 to 10:30pm was calculated as a “special payment”. According to the workers, the differing amounts of this special payment evidenced the discrimination with which Tesfaye treats his employees. “He paid as much as 2000 Birr to those who are supporters of his political view, while he gave 400 to 800 Birr to those who hold to their integrity,” say the workers. “This is not the rule of the institution. This is Tesfaye’s rule,” commented the employees.
The employees further indicated that the institution brought in data-entry workers from three different places – the High Court, Addis Ababa University and the Central Statistics Bureau. The amount of money paid to these newcomers is reportedly very high in comparison with the wages of the other workers.
According to these sources, it took 20 days to collect the results of the election in all regions. In these 20 days, the newcomers were paid 800 Birr per day. Even though the staff that came from Addis Ababa University arrived ten days later than other employees, they earned 16,000 Birr each, which is the full payment for 20 days of work. The supporting staff from the high court and statistics bureau have earned 2500 Birr each, while the employees of the institution recruited by Tesfaye received 30 Birr each in overtime payment.
Our sources indicated that because of these reasons, the employees of the institution have signed a petition letter and sent their plea to the Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.