October 20,2016Video source : Social Media
Secrecy is core attribute that characterize Tigray People’s Liberation Front political tradition- among many other things. However, as much as it is secretive, its political moves are usually predictable even for an average political minds with modest familiarity to Ethiopian politics. Simple observation of analysis in various Ethiopian sites and social media suggests so.
Perhaps what is strange in view of its secretive workings is that the party has always been vulnerable to information leaks; most often, and ostensibly, attributed to the works of infiltrators. However, TPLF has shown astuteness to exploit its weakness to its own advantage in some sense. Occasionally, and in time of crisis like situations,it incline towards the idea of exploiting public sensitivity to information leaks by way of disseminating information about bogus internal schisms within the party. That can divert attention at least for days if not for weeks, even months.
Rumors of wranglings after the death of Meles Zenawi,however, does seem to hold some truth. In a short video released on social media today, Semhal Meles , daughter of the late Meles Zenawi, unveiled a glimpse of rivalry from within and what the rivalry is about when she posed a question during what it seem to be a party forum.
Political development that led to deceleration of state of emergency apparently lured the party to invite veteran TPLF (and EPRDF?) politburo members to assume position in the politburo again. Party decision was justified, according to Zenawi’s daughter, on grounds of vacuum,presumably manpower and administrative, within the party. However, younger members in the party opposed the decision during party congress and recommended the gap be filled from the younger generation, says Semhal. It was in that way that people like the 80 years old Sebhat Nega,among others, reappeared as executives in the politburo. Zenawi’s daughter seem to think that the party owes them explanation. Of course when Semhal make a case for the youth , inversely against former TPLF executives, she is not making a case for bright and patriotic young Ethiopians outside of the party. She was perhaps making a case for youth from TPLF oligarchy like herself.
What came to the fore front along with her first question is identities of cliques that are fighting from within over power. In that line, acrimony is on the matter as to whether it is the party or the government that should be subject to performance evaluation. TPLF figures like Kassa Tekle Birhan (he is poised as ANDM member rather and apparently Zenawi’s wife is behind him) argue for party evaluation over government evaluation where as figures like Bereket Simon (he too is poised as ANDM member) and Sebhat Nega prioritize government evaluation over party evaluation.
Semhal accuses the latter for choosing government evaluation over party evaluation and she thinks that it is to protect their power within the party. A politicized Ethiopian in the opposition quarter will certainly, and rightly, trivialize the matter as there is no practical distinction between the party and government.For that matter, there is no opposition voice in the parliament in Ethiopia.
In any case, if the information in the released video is to be absorbed cautiously, the merits of it lies in that it confirms and spells out division from within, what it is about and as to who the rival groups are.
Written by Dimetros Birku. Can be reached on twitter : @dimetros