TPLF has been ruling under the guise of EPRDF coalition. Now influential member parties stood up to end it. Is it the end of EPRDF itself?
A week or so ago leaked information from the ongoing Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) meeting unveiled division within the party. Today, the statement issued by the party’s executive committee,amid ongoing meeting with no time frame for the end date, confirmed the political rattle from within.
EPRDF executive committee statement is equivocal in nature. On the one hand, it stated that there was no major problem in the party and that it can renew itself by adhering to the party’s tradition of solving differences and usher in “victory” as it claims that there is consensus on the direction to resolve existing difference. On the other hand, the statements pointed out that the party is facing serious “mistrust” and “suspicion” among members of the ruling party. But it did not spell out what the “mistrust” and “suspicion” is about.
It is public that there is widely held belief that Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) is orchestrating ethnic violence as a strategy to manipulate the movement against its domination over the Federal government while it constitutes only less than six percent of the entire population.
Apparently, the “mistrust” ( probably the experience of being dominated for so long, too) gave rise to a desire, and the determination, of two of the ruling coalition member parties namely Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) and Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO), which constitute majority within the ruling coalition and in the parliament, where there is no a single opposition voice after the ruling party claimed 100 percent win in the last national election, to end TPLF supremacy. The latter is equally, if not more, determined to maintain its domination and has control over the army and security apparatus.
Yet, ANDM and OPDO has tremendous potential to shake off domination even in the army if they pull their leverage power together to organize from within. Similarly, they can offset TPLF intelligence and security apparatus. There is also a report that some members of Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM), another member party of the ruling coalition, are reportedly on the side of the parties working to end TPLF domination over the country’s affair.
And there are signs of defiance to the federal law enforcement units. When the federal forces were deployed in Ambo a week or so ago to quell down protest and start shooting, Oromia police in the town exchanged fire with them and two Federal security members were killed.
But it is hard to overlook, as many Ethiopian political analysts seem to think, TPLF’s recklessness and lack of pragmatism and chauvinism could cause full-fledged ethnic based civil war if ANDM and OPDO power from within the army is organized and activated.
The movement in the parliament
The EPRDF problem is not just within the executive committee and central committee of EPRDF. Local based pro-TPLF newspaper, The Ethiopian Reporter, unveiled today that a considerable number of parliamentarians are not attending regular parliamentary sessions. The parliament has been rather known for decades as a rubber stamp.
The report specifically mentioned members from ANDM and OPDO are the ones that are boycotting the sessions. Member from these parties had their own party meeting. It is to be remembered that speaker of the parliament, Abadula Gemeda, who is from OPDO resigned in late September over what he said was disrespect to his “people and party” , he was not explicit as to who was disrespecting his party and people but it was understood that it was TPLF.
The demand from parliamentarians who refused to attend regular session? They need Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalgene appear before the parliament and explain the ethnic violence that unfolded in recent weeks which caused the death of many civilians. Ethnic conflict also displaced well over half-a million Ethiopians, unprecedented in the history of the country.
If he managed to appear before parliament, and no other choice as things stand now, Hailemariam Desalegne is likely to face challenges regarding the Chelenko massacre which happened on December 11 when deployed federal forces massacred dozens of civilians for protesting the killings of a young man by Somali Lilyu Police. Five members of a family were killed during the attack while working on their sorghum farm.
Increasing ethnic violence has become a concern for Ethiopians. In the last three days alone, at least 61 people are killed in West Hararge due to violence between Oromo and Somali’s. In a statement issued today, the European Union called the situation “worrying”
Meanwhile, street protests in towns across Oromo region of Ethiopia are not slowing down. In fact, the protests are now essentially in the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa. Today, protesters were in the streets of Dukem, just outside of Addis Ababa in the South East direction.
The political Where does all these developments leave EPRDF/TPLF?
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