Sebhat Nega thinks that EPRDF is abandoning Revolutionary Democracy and Principles of Democratic Developmental State
Sebhat Nega, a co-founder of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) – a party that was established in the mid or late 70’s, has essentially dominated the organizations’ politics nearly four decades as an ideologue and a king maker.
Sources who claim to be insider to TPLF even attribute the rise to power of the late Meles Zenawi within TPLF to Sebhat Nega.
Since TPLF was dominant over the ruling coalition, Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), until it lost it following what looked like a stiff resistance from a coalition within the ruling coalition, Sebhat was rather seen as one of the most influential figure within the ruling coalition even at a time when he was no longer EPRDF executive committee which is composed of 36 members drawn from four ethnic parties that constitute the coalition.
Outside of his party, he is known for his offensive political remarks. Some of his remarks even sound like ethnic slurs.
Now in his mid 80’s and mostly confined to Mekele, the capital of Tigray regional state, following what many observers say is the political defeat of TPLF within the ruling coalition that ushered to the emergency of new leadership in the party, he is making negative remarks about coalition itself.
Erstwhile, he tend to paint an image of EPRDF (when TPLF was ruling in the name of it) that is wise and invincible that stood the tests of time and with a capability to renew itself.
Yesterday, he had an interview with VOA Amharic reporter in Tigray and he says that “he is does not know as to who is leading EPRDF. He does not know if EPRDF is alive or not.” He added that he is not sure about it and wants to leave it with a question mark, rather.
Obviously, he did not mean that he doesn’t know that the ruling coalition executive committee elected Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as chairman of the ruling coalition.
It was apparently his way of trashing the current leadership one grounds of policy changes since Abiy Ahmed took over power.
The party’s public relation head, Sadat Nasha, reminded the former TPLF master that the ongoing reform measures in the country are based on decision from the party’s high ranking body.
Sebhat Nega’s response? “We [EPRDF] did not say let us change revolutionary democracy [ideology]. We did not say let us change Democratic Developmental State principles; Democratic Developmental State brought about astonishing victory to Ethiopia and the World has witnessed it.”
Mr. Sadat does not buy the argument that EPRDF has ignored the principle. “As things stand now,” he said, “no one has abandoned Democratic Developmental State. Both democracy and development are necessary.”
Regarding the ideology, Mr. Sadat claimed “we did not uphold revolutionary democracy [as an ideology],” which sounds inaccurate, to say the least, given the history of the ruling party in the past 27 seven years.
What political pundits argue, however, is that the experiences of the past 27 years in terms of ideology brought about political mess in the country and that the party need to throw away its nonfunctional ideology to the dust bin of history and come up with something relevant for the new generation – something that is considerate of objective realities locally and at a global level as well.
“Not only that EPRDF is alive but also it is leading the country and enjoying support from the public, ” said Mr. Sadat in response to Sebhat’s political ridicule that “he does not know if EPRDF is alive or not.”
For Mr. Sadat, it is perhaps a product of the thinking that “EPRDF will be weakened if I [seemingly a reference to Sebhat] am not part of it”
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