Addis Abeba branch of the Amahara Democratic Party (ADP)...

Sep 14 , 2019

The rank and file officials assigned to the Addis Abeba City Administration, representing the ruling coalition, are the most illustrative of the sort of chaos in which the EPRDF finds itself, gossip observed. Gone are the days of the party’s iron discipline in the form of democratic centralism, where divergent views were only confided within party confidentiality and never allowed to surface in public.

A couple of weeks ago, the Addis Abeba branch of the Amahara Democratic Party (ADP), one of the four constituent parties in the ruling coalition, issued a public statement condemning what it blamed as a personalised and non-institutionalized exercise of power by the city’s leadership. It was clear where the fingers were pointing - the flamboyant deputy mayor of the capital, Takele Uma.

It was not clear how much of the views communicated through this statement are shared by the top leadership of the ADP, says gossip. However, a group of ADP cadres in the City Administration, led by Endawek Abte, deputy mayor responsible for social affairs, made their misgivings clear in the way the city’s business is managed.

Such a division of internal nature is understandably alarming to party bosses who are aspiring to merge the ruling EPRDF into one national party. They would hardly leave it to its own fate and thus convened a meeting of cabinet members of the City Administration, gossip disclosed. Only those whose membership is with the Oromo Democratic Party (ODP) and ADP were made to participate in the meeting, co-chaired by Abiy Ahmed (PhD), chairman of both the ODP and the EPRDF, and Demeke Mekonnen, chairman of the ADP and deputy chair of the EPRDF. The meeting was an admonition of both sides for failing to work together while handling their differences, gossip disclosed.

Hardly did the issue dissipate after such dispassionate talk by the two leaders, claims gossip. The qualm among the ADP senior leadership in the face of its members’ alleged exclusion in the Addis Abeba City Administration was reflected in Bahir Dar during a meeting called to discuss EPRDF’s fate, in both form and substance, gossip disclosed.

The top leadership of the EPRDF is in full swing to unify the coalition into one national party before the national elections come May 2020. Study and position papers are finalised by the Secretariat, and dialogue has already begun within and outside of the party’s platform, gossip observed.

A month ago, a conference was held in the town of Jigjiga, in Somali Regional State, which had the aim of building consensus among the political elites in Ethiopia’s historical peripheries. Leaders of the ruling parties in Afar, Somali, Harar, Benishangul and Gambella were persuaded to join the reformed party but in their individual capacity. To date, they have been allied parties of the ruling EPRDF, for they were told they lacked the social base to join a revolutionary democratic party, since they have a mobile and pastoralist population, claims gossip.

Within the EPRDF, ADP’s top leadership has already granted the go-ahead for the merger of the Front, gossip disclosed. It has yet to build as much consensus among the mid-level army of cadres, while in a couple of weeks, the central committee of the ODP is scheduled to meet to debate the issue, gossip revealed. The outcome is expected to be positive for the proponents of the merger, but they will find the road ahead rough when going down to the rank and file, gossip anticipates.

Potent resistance is, however, expected from members of the Central Committee of the SEPDM, under the chair of Muferiat Kamil, when they convene a meeting subsequently, gossip foresees. Nonetheless, the outcome will not be in a form of total rejection of the proposed unification, as that which comes from the TPLF, the senior partner in the ruling coalition, claims gossip. It is predictable to see an evolving EPRDF surface in the political space in the absence of the founding member, says gossip.

PUBLISHED ON Sep 14,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1011]

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