Getachew Reda . . .

Jun 20 , 2020

It is such inflammatory rhetorical exchanges between those in Addis Abeba and Meqelle that worried a group of elders and prominent individuals, hence prompting it to start mediation.

Getachew Reda, the increasingly combative spin doctor of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), says he is no longer optimistic about his previously held “level of optimism" that something "will pull some magic that could avert crises.” In his recent interview, he seems to have taken the rhetoric to a whole different level of asserting the constitutional rights of the Tigray Regional State to break away from the federation if it wishes so.

It is such inflammatory rhetorical exchanges between those in Addis Abeba and Meqelle that worried a group of elders and prominent individuals, hence prompting it to start mediation. Its goals were, however, modest, clams gossip. The group wanted to urge both parties to desist from making public statements that fuel the growing confrontations and discipline the media under their respective control to behave rather than amplifying drums for violence, according to gossip.

Jointly led by Mesfin Araya, a psychiatrist, and Tsadiku Abdi, a pastor, the 40-plus individuals began their journey-in-persuasion from Meqelle. A day earlier, the TPLF leaders invited figures from other parties and organisations following a formal request placed by the forum for political parties and civil societies in Tigray, gossip disclosed.  Although the forum brought together 25 representatives from political parties and civil society groups in the region, including Bayton, Salsay Woyane Tigray, Seb Hidri Civil Society and Tigray Chamber of Commerce, none were able to speak during the meeting held at Planet Hotel, claims gossip.

Three members of the political bureau of the TPLF - Debretsion Gebremichael (PhD), Fetleworq Gebre-egziyabher (Monjorino), and Asmelash Weldesellasie (Abay Nefso) - addressed the group, complaining about actions and inactions by the federal government that they feel have “alienated the people of Tigray”. To an opposition leader active in the Regional State, the group was more like a spiritual mission than practical or with a clear purpose, according to gossip.

Nonetheless, the group won a passive concession to bring the leaders in Tigray to be on board for an all-inclusive national dialogue on how to overcome an inevitable political impasse, claims gossip. But its members did not make it in time to meet the same day with leaders of the Prosperity Party (PP), for the aircraft had to be grounded due to technical difficulties, gossip disclosed. They had to wait for a night flight for their return back to Addis Abeba.

The group members met the following day with five leaders of the Prosperity Party at the Prime Minister`s Office: Benalf Andualem, head of the PP; Meles Alemu, deputy head; Alemu Sime (PhD), political and civic affairs head; Negussu Tilahun, press secretary for the Prime Minister; and Abebe, the latter who remained quiet during the whole session, gossip disclosed.

The Prosperitians tried to clarify and contextualise the many public statements their leader has made that aggravated the feelings of the TPLF leaders and their constituencies over the past two years, claims gossip. Only if prominent members of the group, such as Patriarch Abune Mathias, Cardinal Berhaneyesus, Grand Mufti Hajji Omar Idris, and Haile Gebresellasie, were to relent, claims gossip. Many were displeased for failed expectations of meeting the Prime Minister, claims gossip.

While some of them said they would have no desire to speak before an inclusive congregation of all contending parties was convened, some like Haile reiterated commitments from earlier efforts baulked at by federal authorities, gossip revealed. Some members of the group admonished leaders like Alemu for the mishandling of conflicts in Wellega Zone of the Oromia Regional State, gossip disclosed.

The meeting nonetheless was concluded ambiguously than the clear commitment for all-inclusive national dialogue the group of elders had wanted from the Prosperitians, gossip revealed. The latter said they would get back to the group after consulting their leader, Abiy Ahmed (PhD), a pledge remains open up until press time, claims gossip.

PUBLISHED ON Jun 20,2020 [ VOL 21 , NO 1051]

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