Old habits die hard, so they say. The TPLF`s leadership community - the existing alike the former - is back to its old self, bickering and infighting. This time the squabbling is over the broadcast of an interview the Regional State's media house has conducted with Seyee Abraha - a rebel leader, former defence minister, dissident in jail, and an opposition figure before getting a placement with the UN in Africa.
Back into Meqelle for some time now, Seyee is one of the few enigmatic leaders of the TPLF whose public persona in Tigray has regenerated to a spectacular proportion, gossip observed. His closeness with Debretsion G. Michael (PhD), chairman of the TPLF and vice president of the Regional State, has become a source of discomfort to some of the old guard, whose influence remains formidable judging by the Seyee-saga.
Who speaks on behalf of the leadership there has been a concern for the guys in charge now, with members of the old guard saying, rather with authority, stuff deemed to be inflammatory, gossip claims. The leadership put an embargo on them until such time as an operational standard is introduced by the media house, hoping such a rule clears up the confusion. This has brought the law of unintended consequences, claims gossip.
Seyee was interviewed in the meantime; hence aggrieving others such as Abay Tsehaye and Sebhat Nega that they were treated with a double-standard, claims gossip. Their supporters in the leadership pushed for a hold on airing Seyee's interview, despite the unequivocal voice of Debretsion in favour of broadcasting it, gossip disclosed.
Whether or not it is broadcast, however, the dickering over the interview brings to light a simmering power struggle between the political bureau members of the TPLF who sided with the respective warring elders of the TPLF, claims gossip. The cleavage within the TPLF from the 1990s debacle appears to be far from over, gossip observed.
How Abiy Ahmed's (PhD) Prosperity Party responds to this development up in Meqelle will define - in more ways than one - which faction survives the struggle for legacy in as much as it appears over political power, claims gossip. The Prosperitians are just as much subject to the laws of unintended consequences, gossip says.
Abiy's administration is tied up with what pundits describe as a “wicked problem,” a series of issues that are incomplete, contradictory, and with changing requirements, gossip observed.
The administration is fighting an invasion of a locust army whose size is estimated to be 20 times larger than seen so far; the Coronavirus transmission is reaching a full-blown pandemic; and the economy is in the ICU, according to gossip.
And there is EGYPT!
Desperate before the facts on the ground change to an irreversible stage with Ethiopia's determination to begin filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) with water in July, Egypt's leaders are putting all the pressure they can muster on Ethiopia, gossip observed. The diplomatic front is the most talked about; what is less said is the build-up of presence by Egypt in South Sudan, a country mid-wived by successive Ethiopian leaders, gossip revealed.
In two months, Ethiopia will begin the catchment of 5.3 billion cubic metres of water to start propelling two of the 15 turbines of the GERD. Egypt feels it has to stop this before Ethiopia's authorities concede to a deal that concerns issues far beyond the operations of the Dam, claims gossip. It will be about the sharing of the Nile waters.
It has been some time since Egyptians were wooing South Sudanese with promises of mega infrastructure financing. However, it does not ring well in Addis Abeba to seeing many of the top 10 South Sudanese leaders who contracted the Coronavirus travelling to Cairo for hospitalisation, gossip claims. Add to this list unusually frequent visits by senior military generals of South Sudan to Cairo, gossip disclosed. In a situation where diplomacy fails, and military confrontation escalates, South Sudan will likely be the launchpad for Egypt's operations, claims gossip.
Whether they will cooperate or undermine each other in the face of such an impending threat, it will be a test of historical magnitude for both Properitians and TPLFites on their loyalty to the Ethiopian state, claims gossip.
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