Ethiopia:”Populism, opportunism ethnic extremism, rule of law major challenges,” says EPRDF as it completes meeting

As the ruling party in Ethiopia concludes its executive meeting, it vowes to struggle against ethnic extremism, among other issues.

EPRDF _ Ethiopia

August 9, 2019

Ethiopia’s ruling coalition executive committee disclosed that it has completed its meeting which was underway for the past two days.

Fekadu Tessema, executive committee member and head of political parties and civic affairs of the party, appeared on state television, Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation, on Friday evening, to talk about items discussed during the meeting and decisions.

Current affairs in the country, organizational affairs, and leadership posture within the party were among agenda items, according to Fekadu.

From that he said, strength and weaknesses of the coalition party were evaluated in light of the issued mentioned above

Populism and opportunism within the party leadership is the key issue that is identified as a weakness. The party believes that those weaknesses have hampered the party and the country not to reach the “desired heights”in the vocabulary of the party, politically or otherwise.

Ethnic extremism is another issue that the party identified as a weakness.  While ethnic identity has to be respected, it is important to reconcile them with Ethiopian identity. In that regard, the committee said that the leadership should free itself from purchasing ethnic radicalism circulating in social media.

The party also noted that the task of enforcing the rule of law resulted in the restriction of human and democratic rights in the past and that the people paid sacrifice to get out of the situation but said, EPRDF EC, there are gaps in the way people enjoy their freedoms after the “change.”

So as to change the trend, EC agreed the need to strike a balance between freedom and security. it resolved that demands (political or otherwise) need to be channeled in “civilized and sober” manner and that the demands also need to be weighed on the basis of its relevance for Ethiopia – who gets to say as to a certain demand is in the interest of Ethiopia or not is not spelled out but implied – the ruling party.

Fekadu Tesema also said that an agreement has been reached among member parties that any movement that tends to be illegal, anarchist with interest in the use of force will pay a price for it. The party believes that such tendencies will be a challenge to freedom and that party will work with the people to fix them, and will “not compromise the rule of law.”

In regards to intra-coalition relation, the committee has discussed issues that affect party unity. Fekadu said the “change” happened due to measures that EPRDF took from within although there was popular pressure from the outside, and that all member parties have contributed to the “change.” 

Practices and views that erode unity within the party are to be changed. In that light, the party has evaluated, and agreed, that no single member party of the coalition should point a finger at another member but should rather evaluate itself in relation to the “change.”  It is to be remembered that TPLF and ADP had been trading accusations in connection with the June 22 incident which claimed the lives of five regional and federal government officials.

Also, along the line of enforcing the rule of law, the party passed a decision that the right of citizens to live in any part of Ethiopia and generate wealth has to be respected.

In terms of institutionalizing the “change,” the party plans to legislate relevant laws and engage the public in that direction.

The party also seems to have noted that there is no clarity as to what “the change” is all about. Bringing about clarity regarding what the government calls “change” is another action plan that the party intends to undertake in the weeks and months ahead.

From the point of view of outside actors, the party needs mass media to work in the direction of building tolerance, unity and the rule of law and vowed to support them in that direction.

The situation in Southern Ethiopia was also one of the top agenda items in the meeting. EPRDF executive committee has accepted SEPDM’s, one of the members of the ruling coalition governing southern Ethiopian People’s nations and nationalities region, structural arrangement plan based on a study by a group of experts.

However, SEPDM has yet clearly disclosed as to what form of administrative arrangements it is going to adapt. Violence in connection with Sidama ethnic-statehood question has claimed at least 53 lives and many more have been wounded, not to mention the destruction of property, in the month of July.

Last but not least, the executive committee has discussed the upcoming national election. The party reaffirmed its stand that the election will take place in accordance with the constitution, and has resolved to make preparations as a party and on the level of government.

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