Ethiopia’s ruling coalition reacts to TPLF statement

TPLF has been trading off accusation with Amhara Democratic Party (ADP) and threatening to leave coalition out of disinterest to work with ADP. Now is it is trading accusations with the ruling coalition – EPRDF. This time around the accusations is not ignored.

borkena
October 18,2019

Ethiopia’s ruling coalition, Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), has reacted to a Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) statement which was issued about two days ago following non-stop meeting for seven days in Mekelle- the seat of Tigray region’s government.

EPRDF is composed of three ethnic-based political organizations and one multi-ethnic organization. And TPLF is one of the ethnic-based organizations that constitute the ruling coalition -EPRDF.

TPLF accused the ruling coalition of working on transforming the coalition into a single united party, and it is making the project appear as if it is intended to demolish the federal form of government, and also a move to protect the powers of those who are currently leading the coalition.

The coalition has issued a statement on Friday seemingly to clear itself from TPLF’s allegation. 

EPRDF did not want to respond to TPLF. But recurring and misleading information from TPLF could create confusion for the public and the organization found it to give general information, says EPRDF’s statement explaining why it is compelled to respond to what it called allegations from TPLF on individual and organizational capacity.

The statement then criticizes the allegations from two vantage points; party discipline and contents of the statement that TPLF issued.

In terms of party discipline, the EPRDF statement makes a point, in fact with excellent clarity, that the issue of transforming the existing coalition has been discussed since the coalition’s 5th congress in 2003, and recalls that TPLF itself was the harbinger of it until very recently. To what end, the party agreed to launch research – seemingly on ways of forming a single united party. What was rather controversial, according to EPRDF, within the coalition was the delay in the implementation of it. The statement also recalled that decision was made at the 11th organizational congress in Hawassa, in 2018, to conclude the research and form a single united national party, and TPLF was part of the decision-making process and agreed with the decision.

Ethiopia _ EPRDF _ TPLF
Vice chairman of EPRDF Demeke (Left) and Chairman Abiy Ahmed (right). Photo : SM

It further added that the process is still underway and no final decision is made. No feedback is received from member parties of the organization and also from parties that the umbrella organization considers as “agar” – member parties of EPRDF with no decision-making rights.

TPLF’s unilateral statement before the completion of the process is considered by the ruling coalition as an egregious violation of party discipline.

Malicious content

EPRDF also condemned the content of TPLF’s statement. It described it as a statement that projected the agreed-upon political project as if it is intended to create a unitary government by ending the Federal form of government.

“To make the unity within EPRDF appear as if it could cause the end of the federal system of government does not hold water,” EPRDF statement said.  In principle, continued the statement, changing the form of government needs the participation of all political parties in the country and the Ethiopian people. Unity within the ruling coalition does not suffice to make a change in the form of government.  TPLF was a part of the decision-making process when the research was launched and that the research to be conducted has nothing to do with a unitary form of government, said EPRDF’s statement.

Another malicious content in TPLF’s statement is that it tries to create the impression that the current leadership (a reference to Abiy Ahmed and his team in the party) introduced the idea to unite the party out of the blue to protect their power.  Event the completed study was tabled for discussion within the coalition before the coming of the current leadership, the statement recalled. And EPRDF sternly said that it is unacceptable to make the unity agenda within the party as something recently devised to stay in power.

The rationale for transforming the existing structure within the party

The party pointed out four key items in that regard:

1) Strength of the party is at risk whenever member parties violate party practices, rules, and regulations

2) The ruling party’s inability to create strong national unity by creating a single political-economy community

3)  The existing arrangement makes discriminations against parties that are painted as “agar” (translates to partners) while they are part of EPRDF government. They are excluded from the decision-making process which means that EPRDF is not inclusive of the people and regions that those parties represent

4) The existing arrangement does not give an opportunity for any citizen to be a member of the party directly except through ethnic-based organizations that constitute the ruling coalition. 

According to some ethnic Tigray opposition party figures, TPLF is likely to open war. But it remains unclear as to war against who. 



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