It is not unusual for the Presidency and the Office of the Prime Minister

Sep 7 , 2019

It is not unusual for the Presidency and the Office of the Prime Minister (PMO) to misread each other. Gossip recalls the Presidency under Mulatu Teshome (PhD), and the PMO under Hailemariam Desalegn diverging more frequently than any administration before or after them. It is only ironic that the two families end up being neighbours on Entoto St., in a lush compound that once housed the family of the late Prince Mekonnen Hailesellasie, the Archduke of Harar, claims gossip.

Keeping in tradition, the two offices seem to find themselves in opposite directions over the hosting of regional leaders invited by the President, Sahleworq Zewdie, to attend what would have been a “peace festival,” gossip disclosed.

Three incumbent heads of state - Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Salva Kiir of South Sudan - were invited to come over to Addis Abeba this week. Three other prominent personalities - Raila Odinga from Kenya, Thabo Mbeki from South Africa and Horst Köhler from Germany - were also invited to join the group in the hopes it would help a reconciliation process in Ethiopia, claims gossip.

A wealthy businessman, Aysheshum Teka, and a young youth activist, Yohannes Mezgebe, as well as a talented entertainer, Abraham Weldie, banded together in their self-declared effort in bringing some sort of political reconciliation among the leaders of the four parties in the ruling EPRDF, says gossip.

They approached the Minister of Peace, the Ethiopian version of homeland security, for endorsement before they were issued letters of invitations to the heads of state and global personalities, claims gossip. They invited close to 400 participants, including all of the heads of the regional states who they claim to have secured confirmation of participation.

They brought onboard former President Mulatu and began shuttling between capitals in the region. Obtaining confirmations from those invited, they made a public statement about the series of events they had planned in the two days preceding New Year’s celebrations at the Hilton. If only members of the recently established Commission for Reconciliation were not displeased with the whole saga, gossip claims.

Chaired by the Archbishop of the Ethiopian Catholic Church, Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel (Cardinal), its members were caught by surprise with the news that there was a high powered reconciliation process they were not aware of, reveals gossip. Comprising over 40 members from an assortment of Ethiopia’s society, including former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, some of them went to see Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD), delivering the news of their displeasure, in person, gossip disclosed. Letters going around with head-mast claiming to be a “Provisional Office for Peace, Unity and Reconciliation” appears to be the source of their aggravation, claims gossip. Some of them might have felt that theirs is a federal agency legislated by law, but whose mission is undercut by those who set up the “provisional office,” gossip observed. It is an issue of turf wars, claims gossip.

However, the two groups have tried to address a possible misunderstanding between them, though to no avail. It is unlikely that the first group will succeed in having a session for the invited guests it describes as “champions of peace” to impart their respective experiences on what could happen when political elites fail to come to terms with each other, says gossip. Time appears to be against the group to carry on with the plan to organise a closed-door, table banging and shouting session before a compromise arises and “the future is bright” declarations are made, claims gossip.

But the burden of delivering the embarrassing news that the invitations extended to the heads of state and persons of eminence, that the event is no more, falls on the shoulders of Ethiopia’s envoys assigned in each capital of these countries, gossip says. All of them have, however, convened here in Addis Abeba, having their annual sojourn to their home base, according to gossip.

PUBLISHED ON Sep 07,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1010]

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