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The first candidate to enter the race for the upcoming Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association’s (AACCSA) presidential and board member election claims he has been disqualified from competition unfairly.

Teshome Beyene, who had already developed a campaign platform, told Capital that, although the credential committee has not made a final decision, he has gotten wind of information that he was eliminated as a candidate.  
A five-member credential committee, chaired by Solomon Reta, owner of Discovery Consultancy, determines if the candidates have met the requirements needed to have their names appear on the ballot.
Teshome, who says he has been involved in the business community a long time, feels the credential committee is not basing their decision on proper election criteria. He said that the credential committee is working to exclude him from the competition because they say he does not have a business license, which, in addition to being a member of AACCSA for two years and having at least a Bachelor’s Degree, is necessary to run for election.
Teshome says he does meet all the criteria.
“For this competition I have been nominated by Ethio Life Insurance Company. I am one of their founding shareholders, so how can they claim I do not have a business license, he stated”
Teshome feels certain that the credential committee will exclude him from the coming election on December 19, 2013. However, sources told Capital that the committee, assigned by the current AACCSA board, has not yet come to a final decision about Teshome.
Credible sources told Capital that not including Solomon, who is chairman of the committee, two members want to allow Teshome to remain on the ballot, while two others feel he should be disqualified.
Teshome said he asked for the committee’s official decision and was told that a final verdict had been delayed.
“The committee has no right to make a decision based on anything other than the evaluating criteria. It is a mandate of the general assembly,” he claimed.
Capital was not able to receive confirmation if Teshome had been disqualified from the competition or not.
Solomon told Capital that he or the committee are not required to comment to anyone other than the general assembly. He would not say if Teshome would remain on the ballot or not.
“The committee’s only responsibility is to screen the candidates to minimize the time the election process takes, the rest is the responsibility of the general assembly,” Teshome stated.
According to the process, the credential committee has a responsibility to transfer the selected nominees to the search committee, which is also responsible for approaching the selected nominees’ and determining if they are interested in being part of the election.
On Friday December 12 Ethio Life Insurance wrote an official letter to the chamber to acquire information about his nominee’s (Teshome) situation, Capital learned.
Members of the association have submitted the names of nominees for the presidency and board membership positions. Information from the AACCSA indicates that prominent individuals and business leaders have been recommended for the presidency and the board. Some of the nominees have also expressed an interest in being part of the new administration.
Teshome, who served as secretary general in the AACCSA and in other chamber positions for over eight years, had already prepared his election manifesto, which contains six points, and is also lobbying potential voters to elect him.
Next Thursday’s election features nominees Israel Kassa, owner and head of Africa Beza College, Tsehay Shiferaw, president of Awash International Bank and member of the current AACCSA board, and Elias Genete, owner of Agro Prom, which mainly works in the import/export business.
The other members of the credential committee are Yilema Tekle Yohannes, exporter, Kibret Abebe, an investor in the health sector, and Dr Zewde Zeleke who works in agro processing and mining.
Israel, who is also close to the chamber, confirmed that he is a candidate for the two-year presidential term.
“The chamber needs the right leadership so I decided to join the competition for the presidency,” Israel told Capital.
“Membership mobilization and capacity building, with the goal of increasing membership by 50,000, establishing strong financial, management and business institutions, promoting public private partnerships, entrepreneurship development, business networking, marketing, corporate social responsibility and advocacy work will be strongly applied when I come to the position,” he exclaimed.