Fine Line: The student unrests occurred in many of the universities across the Oromia Regional State




The student unrests occurred in many of the universities across the Oromia Regional State and at the flagship university in the capital last week were instigated following the disclosure of Addis Abeba authorities’ desire to incorporate zones found in the outskirts of the capital to a draft master-plan.

There is hardly any in the Revolutionary Democrats’ camp to dismiss the students’ demand as irrelevant, gossip noticed. Many of them would concede it is within the rights of the students to rally – peacefully – in showing their protest to the planned master-plan, which many of the students see as a policy with a potential to displace millions of farmers from their lands, according to gossip.

If it was not for its regrettably tragic outcome in loss of lives, no less than 11 by the government’s own admission, the strain is seen as a crisis within the system by those who oppose the encroachment of a mega city of the surrounding rural communities, gossip observed. Many EPRDFites would agree that such are losses of dear lives which could have been avoidable had leaders of the ruling party in the regional state, OPDO, were able to offer political solutions, and those at the EPRDF had shown leadership, claims gossip.

Way before the dispute over Addis Abeba’s draft master-plan claimed public domain, the executive committee members of the OPDO had a meeting to trash the matter out, gossip disclosed. There were few occasions in the past whereby its members were sharply divided as much as they did with this issue of whether to bless or oppose the proposed master-plan, whose architects claim is no more than a blueprint for development in the mutual benefit of the capital and its environs, claims gossip.

Nonetheless, there remains voices in the rank and file and its core leadership who see the proposed plan no better than an encroachment to the constitutionally defined territory of the region, without first obtaining the consent of its residents and their leadership, according to gossip. Neither did it help much for those at the gossip corridor to see Kuma Demekissa, an old hand of the OPDO with an observatory seat at the executive committee, and Abdulaziz Mehamed, vice president of the regional state, to explain their positions on the regional television channel, but in the absence of a consensus within their committee, gossip disclosed.

It is seldom to see a member of the ruling coalition to conduct policymaking meetings at the highest level of the political ladder and leave it as that without making a decision despite dissenting voices, claims gossip. The executive committee was again wrapping up another round of meeting on the issue on Friday, May 2, 2014; almost days after unfortunate causalities in lives were made, claims gossip. Such indecisiveness in the part of OPDO leaders led not only to failure in the political leadership, but also a loss of personality who could be revered by the students to talk them out of the unrest, claims gossip.

No one in the OPDO appears to take a public position for or against the proposed master-plan, showing a leadership paralysis at its core, those at the gossip corridor would agree.

Neither are the days where there is a respected leader whose command his disciple obey with no rancour appears to be around anymore, claims gossip. Hailemariam Desalegn, chairman of the EPRDF, has no weight of his predecessor to have his wishes commanded outside of his own party, all in the name of party autonomy, gossip claims. While the crises in the Oromia Region was expanding from town to town, the EPRDfites have had their hands tied to offer political engagement to an issue that has no possibilities of solution with the intervention of the security establishment and defence forces, gossip revealed.

 



Published on May 4, 2014 [ Vol 14 ,No 731]


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