The 180 members council of Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), coalition party that has ruled the country for more than 27 years under the firm grip of Tigray People’s Liberation Front, is meeting early next week to formally pick a prime minister to replace Hailemariam Desalegn who resigned on February 15, just a day before the controversial state of emergency is decreed. Shiferaw Shigute, head of the EPRDF council, disclosed the news to state and affiliated media outlets this past Thursday.
Executives of the party, which comprises of only 36 members – 9 from each ethnic based parties in the coalition – have been meeting since last Sunday allegedly to follow up on the implementation of decisions made at during the December 2017 meeting.
Sources who claim to have insider information about the ongoing executive meeting say that wrangling between coalition members got worse to the point as if the coalition will no longer exist.
The state of emergency and repressive measures taken ever since is believed to have accentuated the wrangling.
The task of picking the next prime minister,however, was not less acrimonious within the coalition. The Dominant party within the coalition, TPLF, seem to have its favorites but is unable to get away with its choice , usually a manipulable and puppet like figure as many Ethiopians believe, as contenders within the coalition are becoming increasing bold and assertive, unlike the case in the past. Demeke Mekonen (ANDM) and Shiferaw Shigute (SEPDM) are some of TPLF favorites. TPLF also seem to be interested in Workeneh Gebeyehu, currently foreign minister, who is from OPDO ; the problem is that he does not seem to have control over and influence over the party which means that he has little or nothing to offer TPLF except loyalty.
And there are a different kinds of OPDO leaders who are increasingly seen as reformers with a desire to “bring about change” ; Abiy Ahmed and Lemma Megersa. They have a considerable support even outside of their ethnic party but it is not without skepticism as to what their real motive is.
In any case, the secretive executive meeting has probably picked the next prime minister already and what the council will do when it meets next week is to confirm the “nomination”
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