For a casual visitor, Addis Abeba looks lately like a city where…

For a casual visitor, Addis Abeba looks lately like a city where there is a fierce electoral battle between determined contending parties. Supporters of political groups and their leaders, as well as activists with varying ideological persuasions, all returning from exile, are adorning the city streets with flags of different colours, subtly representing their preferred agenda.

The ruling EPRDF, whose leadership is in disarray, appears to have chosen to let it go. For there has been no attempt to stop citizens from expressing their views. But behind closed doors, members of the ruling party’s executive committee were hard at work taking stock of the unravelling they have brought about.

The Executive Committee begins its meeting on Saturday, the second in two weeks, trying to chart a course for the upcoming congress of the EPRDF, gossip disclosed.

The meeting two weeks ago, a little tenser than usual, was not seen by many as productive, because the chairman, Abiy Ahmed (PhD), tried to convene it without submitting a report on the half-year performance of the party and the government it runs, claims gossip. But the complete silence of Lemma Megersa, deputy chairman of the OPDO, during the two-day session was well noted by those at the gossip corridor.

The two-day Executive Committee meeting is expected to discuss the report submitted by the chairman and each of the chairpersons of the coalition parties. But most importantly, it will set the agenda for the upcoming meeting by the 180-member Council of the EPRDF, and decide when to convene the Congress, an overdue item on the menu, claims gossip. The Congress, postponed two times in the history of the party, will likely be scheduled for the last week of September 2018, probably on the 30th, gossip revealed.

The central committees of each party in the governing coalition will have to finalise their respective meetings before September 25th, disclosed gossip. These meetings are expected to usher in changes and purges among the party’s top leadership, claims gossip.

The senior partner in the coalition, the TPLF, will possibly replace no less than four of its political bureau members, which may shift the balance of power from the current chairman, Debrestion G. Michael (PhD), to Alem Gebrewahid, secretary of the TPLF, gossip anticipates. Although no significant change is expected with the OPDO in the composition of its top leadership, there will likely be changes of personalities in its political bureau, claims gossip.

The leadership in the SEPDM is in chaos, and projecting its leadership evolution is hard to come by, says gossip. Nonetheless, the significant change of guard is expected with the leadership of the ANDM, whose veteran leaders, such as Bereket Simon, are lately in open hostility with its politburo. Increasingly responding to pressure from the growing nationalism in the region, the ANDM leadership is expected to purge and demote several of its veteran leaders who are within and outside of its central committee, gossip foresees.

The realignment of membership in each party’s central committee will have a direct bearing in the composition of the Council, which will have the mandate to re-elect the chairperson and deputy of the EPRDF. Both Abiy’s and his deputy’s, Demeke Mekonnen, cards will be on the table. Reelection will give them the mandate to run the affairs of the ruling party and the country for the next two years up until the next national elections in 2020, anticipated to be the most crucial since 2005, claims gossip.

Published on Sep 08,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 958]



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