December 6, 2019
With more than 100 opposition political parties, many of which are ethnic nationalist parties, Ethiopia is perhaps the leading country in Africa, if not the world, with a high number of political parties.
In recent times many of them are toiling to craft coalitions in the tradition of dying Ethiopia’s ruling coalition. Coalition politics is not entirely new to Ethiopia, however.
Two days ago Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) initiated “Federalist Forces” announced the formation of “Federalist Forum” after two days of meeting in Mekelle. It is a new attempt on the part of TPLF after members of the coalition it architected rejected its political ideology, albeit after 28 years. The new attempt is branded as a political force with a vision “to defend the constitution and the Federal system.”
It seems Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), whose leader vowed a landslide win in the upcoming Ethiopian election, is also trying to forge its coalition.
VOA Amharic service reported on Friday that 10 opposition groups in the country have reached an agreement to “work together.” Most of them are liberation Fronts, ethnic-based ones, and they aspire to form a coalition.
The agreement was signed at Elilly International Hotel in the capital Addis Ababa.
According to VOA Amharic service, the parties reached an agreement to work together are:
- Afar People’s Liberation Party
- Benishangul People’s Liberation Movement for Peace and Freedom
- Gambella People’s Liberation Front
- Kaffa Green Party
- Qimant Democratic Party
- Mocha Democratic Party
- Ogaden National Liberation Front (OLF)
- Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)
- Sidama Liberation Front (SLF)
- Agaw National Council
Oromo Liberation Front chairman, Dawud Ibsa, said the agreement is an initial step to work together during the next national election.
“The coalition is based on equality and aims to create unity based on justice,” Woldamanuel Zenebe, representative of the Qimant Democratic Party, is cited as saying.
Not all the parties have attended the signing ceremony of the “agreement.” Gambella Liberation Front, Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), and Agaw National Council did not attend it. ONLF said that it was unable to attend the meeting due to schedule related reasons. The other two parties did not explain their absence.
Most of the parties on the list were known to have a secessionist agenda in the past. Some, for example, Oromo Liberation Front, have tried to challenge the Ethiopian government through an armed struggle for a long time but their armed struggle did not bear fruit. They entered Ethiopia for a “peaceful struggle” after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration invited armed political groups to return to Ethiopia and struggle peacefully in 2018.
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