Ever since the impeachment of Tamrat Layne …

Ever since the impeachment of Tamrat Layne, an EPRDFite who had served as a Prime Minister during the transitional government, Ethiopia’s House of Peoples’ Representative has been devoid of drama. It has had speakers who believed Parliament is not a place of squabbles, but a place for serious business of the public’s undertaking.

Lately, though, Parliament has shown its side of the House of Cards, claims gossip. The request for resignation by none other than its Speaker, Abadula Gemeda, has sent a wave of shock last week, an incident very unusual in the world of the Revolutionary Democrats, according to gossip.

EPRDFites see themselves primarily as revolutionaries, who neither retire nor resign. As such they consider themselves as foot soldiers of the party, who accept their assignments to any task the party bigwigs believe fit their role and capacity, regardless of their wishes.

The expression of dissent or defiance in public is not tolerated, lest it violates the ironclad discipline in democratic centralism. Should leaders want to take a different path, then they ought to be on their own, leaving the party altogether. Precedence is what their leaders fear most, claims gossip.

The Abadula affair demolished a long-held organisational culture when he tendered his resignation from his position as a Speaker, and not as a member of Parliament or his leadership in the OPDO. First submitted to the Office of the President, copied to the Office of Parliament, his decision to step down was made in full consent of the top leadership of the OPDO, gossip disclosed.

Unlike the previous resignation by many leaders of the ruling party, Abadula continues to remain within. He opened Parliament earlier last week, attended a state dinner held the same night at the Jubilee Palace on Menelik II Avenue and was seen signing a deal with a foreign consulting firm to establish an endowment company.

There was however real politicking behind the curtain last week, disclosed gossip. Hailemariam Desalegn, chairman of the ruling EPRDF, was busy running meetings – for three days – attended by chairs, deputy chairs and secretaries of each party in the coalition, gossip revealed. Held with a notable absence of Lemma Megersa, chairman of the OPDO who is currently overseas for medical treatment, the meeting was called to determine on the pending appeal for resignation, claims gossip.

On the second day, Abadula was called over to the meeting to explain himself in what led him to tender his resignation, gossip disclosed. It was done at the backdrop of his commitment to the public that once his request is granted, he owes the public explanations on what prompted him to make such an unprecedented decision.

Gossip finds it difficult to discern what has transpired in the high-level meeting last week, although it was clear Abadula talked about the reasons for his resignation, claims gossip. The hypothesis is out there though.

Those at the gossip corridor postulate that it could be due to one or a combination of three political developments in the country. Coming back from a visit to a place bordering the Somali Regional State, he might have felt helpless to stop the carnage on the population between the two regional states and dissatisfied on how law enforcement handled the crisis, claims gossip. He might as well feel under pressure as a result of the ongoing wave of arrests of those allegedly involved in grand corruption, including the self-exiled developer known to be a close friend of his, gossip claims.

Most importantly though, Abadula may feel increasingly at odds with leaders of the other parties for the latter might have pointed their fingers at him for the drifting away of the OPDO from the EPRDF orbit, claims gossip.

Ever since the election to the OPDO leadership of the axis – Lemma Megersa, Worqineh Gebeyehu (PhD) and Abiy Ahmed (PhD) – the OPDO has become a problem child of the EPRDF in a fundamental departure from its past, according to gossip. It has become increasingly demanding and assertive of the political agenda that rocks its polarised and militant constituencies, claims gossip. And the leaders at the helm of the OPDO are his protégée, says gossip.

Published on Oct 15,2017 [ Vol 18 ,No 912]



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