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Ethiopia’s ruling party says “reform facing challenges”

Ruling party believes political groups engaged in manufacturing conflict posing threat not just to peace and rule of law but to the reform measures itself. Internally, unity of thought and action is identified as a challenge.

EPRDF _ Ethiopia
Ruling party chairman and vice chairman
Photo : EPRDF official page on FB

January 18,2019

Ethiopia’s ruling party, Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), executive committee has issued a statement today.

The 36 members’ body which draws 9 members from each of the four ethnic-based parties that constitute EPRDF was having its regular meeting for the past three days.

It aimed at conducting performance evaluation to see progress and implementations of decisions passed during the eleventh party congress, which took place in Hawassa in October 2018, and also to discuss challenges that the reformist administration is facing.

According to the statement, the executive committee identified the release of political prisoners, broadening of political space in the country, freedom of speech and expression (in this CPJ has confirmed that Ethiopia is now without a journalist in prison), and human rights situation in the country as positive developments.

In the realm of diplomacy and foreign policy, the executive committee hailed rapprochement and economic cooperation with Eritrea as a positive development.

Improvement of the status of women in the society and their participation in government leadership positions in unprecedented manner is also evaluated as progress achieved during the EPRDF administration that is leading the “change” in Ethiopia.

On the other hand, the party identified external and internal challenges that are posing threat to the reform measures which has been underway since the party elected Abiy Ahmed as prime minister of Ethiopia following the sudden resignation of his predecessor Hailemariam Desalegne in February 2018. And the party seems to be in agreement that these challenges have caused concern, even fear, about the future of the reform.

Internally, growing suspicion among member parties within the coalition, lack of clarity on the nature of the change and the role to be played so as to ensure continuity of the reform (in all its forms), lack of unity of thought and action, and lack of support from lower structure are identified as challenges testing the party thereby endangering what the party called a change with massive popular support.

Externally, the party sees political groups with tendency to create difference and identity based agenda so as to pursue their political motive as the main challenge for it brought about, according to the party, deaths of citizens, massive displacement and damages to properties in different parts of the country. The situation caused challenges to ensure peace and rule of law in the country.

The statement did not name names but it is known to many Ethiopians that a militant faction of Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and some TPLF elements that reject the change in Ethipia have been posing security and other challenges in different parts of the country.

Apart from the deaths of hundreds of civilians in the past several months and among other things, this past week alone government confirmed that about 17 branches of private and state owned banks have been robbed in Wollega region of Ethiopia. Parties who carried out the robbery have openly admitted that they are members of militant OLF faction.

The executive committee of the party says hostile political forces to the reform have been engaged in illegal arms trade and circulation, manufacturing conflict (mostly ethnic based ones) and economic sabotages including the circulation of illegal foreign currencies.

In terms of economic challenges, despite a serious of measure taken to ease foreign currency crunch and attain economic recovery, the party evaluated that there is a persistent structural economic challenge and unemployment has become a serious concern.

With regards to stability in the country, EPRDF also noted gaps in the role and function of media to promote peace and unity of the country.

As part of actions to be taken to reverse challenges that are posing threat to the reform, the executive committee resolved to work hard in minimizing unemployment by adopting different measures including investment in agriculture, irrigation and manufacturing sector. As well, the Executive Committee passed decisions to maintain peace and the rule of law in the country.
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