Abiy was reportedly bitter on what he thought was an orchestrated attempt by the TPLFites

Nov 23 , 2019

Late afternoon on Saturday, an event was held inside the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Addis Abeba. In many ways, its symbolic value was not lost on the attendees, claims gossip. It was a moment that marked the change of times for a generation that has been active in the political landscape for the past 50 years, gossip says.

Leaders of the Amhara Democratic Party (ADP) hosted the 39th anniversary of the founding of their ancestor, a rebel organisation named the Ethiopian People Democratic Movement (EPDM), in a remote outpost of Agew in Amhara Regional State. It is this organisation, none of whose founding members are in the leadership today, that has morphed into the Amhara National Democratic Front (ANDM) and now ADP. However, the surviving leaders - both from death, exile or prison - were invited to attend the event last week, including Tefera Walwa and Addisu Legesse, gossip disclosed.

Attended by Demeke Mekonnen, chair of the party, and graced by Abiy Ahmed (PhD), chair of the ruling coalition, the moment was a reminder that it will be ADP's last anniversary to be observed.

Many of the attendees were, in fact, members of the Council of the EPRDF who had in the same week voted to dissolve their respective parties in the ruling coalition and morph the latter into the Prosperity Party (PP). It was obvious that they were celebrating the birthday of a party whose death was pronounced there and then. With the exception of the TPLF!

The TPLFites, whose leaders were helpful during the birth of EPDM in 1980, were neither invited nor are part of the new formation under the PP. They have rejected, rather emphatically, both the rationale used now and the procedure followed by Abiy and his allies to dissolve the EPRDF. This was hardly surprising. The tension between the TPLF leaders and the rest in the EPRDF has been in the making for some time now.

But the moment of truth for both sides had arrived two weeks ago during what was the last Executive Committee meeting of the EPRDF, held in Addis Abeba. Six of the nine political bureau members of the TPLF voted against the amalgamation of the EPRDF to (or creation of) the PP. But Keria Ibrahim and Getachew Assefa were not in attendance, while Debretsion Gebremichael (PhD), the chairman of the TPLF, had to leave the meeting early due to illness before he voted, gossip disclosed.

Although not unexpected, it was an unceremonious departure of the TPLF and a political divorce with the rest; its resolution remains outstanding though, claims gossip.

There was a curious meeting the following Sunday morning between Abiy and the TPLFites left behind, gossip disclosed. It was an occasion that made it unambiguous for both sides that if there is anything left between them to mend relations, it was broken for posterity, claims gossip.

The tone during the meeting was clouded by mutual recrimination, if not unsavory talk, reveals gossip.

Abiy was reportedly bitter on what he thought was an orchestrated attempt by the TPLFites to undermine his administration, claims gossip. He was not to forgive the crisis fomented a year after he took office, says gossip, with what he believed was a manufactured security crisis in the Somali Regional State, which led to the deposition and arrest of the region's former chief, Abdi (Iley) Mohammed Omar.

Denying that they had ever attempted to undermine him, the TPLFites blamed him for betraying their trust and confidence after assuming office and the role of leadership, gossip claims. The outspoken among them being Alem Gebrewahid, Asmelash Weldesellasi (aka Abay Nefso), and Fetleworq Gebregziabher (aka Monjorino), the TPLFites reminded him that they showed nothing but solidarity during the time he consolidated power, while he conspired to push them away from the EPRDF, claims gossip.

Both parties left each other in less than sound footings, disclosed gossip. Whether through legal or electoral battle, their affairs are far from over, gossip foresees.

PUBLISHED ON Nov 23,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1021]

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