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Obama draws criticism for saying Ethiopia is democratic

Published:Wednesday | July 29, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Obama

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP):

Ethiopian opposition figures have criticised a remark by United States President Barack Obama that their country, whose ruling party won every seat in parliament in May elections, has a "democratically elected" government.

Yonathan Tesfaye, a spokesman for Ethiopia's opposition Blue party, said yesterday that Obama behaved like a "tricky and mischievous politician" when he made the comment a day earlier during a news conference with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

Obama departed Ethiopia yesterday to end a two-nation African trip that included a stop in Kenya.

Human rights groups have criticised Obama for visiting Ethiopia, saying his trip lends legitimacy to an oppressive government. Hailemariam has defended Ethiopia's commitment to democracy.

Ethiopia is the world's second-worst jailer of journalists in Africa, after Eritrea, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.