Gossip heard a political humour, making a round on the streets of Meqelle….

Gossip heard a political humour, making a round on the streets of Meqelle, the seat of the Tigray Regional State, following the congress of the TPLF. The incumbent chairman of the party, Abay Woldu, was “scored among the last in his class, but got first in his unit.” It is a joke made to show that the Americans adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” may not apply to the EPRDFites lately, gossip claims.

There is much that needed to be fixed in the world of Revolutionary Democrats, judging from what has transpired in their recent convention held in Meqelle. EPRDFites, from a farmer cadre up to the most senior veteran leader, and from those in the youngest to the most senior party in the coalition have spoken their minds in unison; the ruling EPRDF is deep in the woods and the menace to its very survival is more unnerving than it has ever been in the two decades of its existence, according to gossip.

Many were outspoken about the dangers to which the party has succumbed, while some bluntly said the leadership is shaped to preserve power at any the cost. Others spoke about the path they believe the party is taking into degeneration. Even the report endorsed by the leadership and presented to the convention was unusually candid about the fears and threats of such imminent degeneration.

Such were the ordeals of the EPRDF, its veterans and long serving leaders from Abay Tsehaye to Addisu Legesse, seemed to be sidelined from the final tally of elections to the central committees of their respective parties, as well as in the executive committee of the coalition.

But none has looked as discontented and outspoken on the menace of the party as Bereket Simon, the founding and veteran leader of ANDM-EPRDF, gossip heard. He has left his role as a leader of both platforms after 30 years, putting his concerns off his chest in Bahir Dar, where the ANDM had its recent meeting. He was critical of the path the party is taking, thus felt he had no place staying in it to provide leadership, gossip disclosed. Neither did he seem willing to accept his election to the central committee of ANDM, nor did he travel to Meqelle to attend the EPRDF convention, for the first time since its creation in the late 1980s, gossip disclosed. It was a scene which broke the hearts of many of the rank and file of the ANDM, claims gossip.

Such a turn of events has left an outcome of a leadership election which looks like the consequence of an uneasy compromise, claims gossip. Neither of the groups has won the day, gossip says. In the end, the staunch believers in the legacy of the party’s ideological father, the late Meles Zenawi, and their foes who adamantly call for conspicuous reforms of the party’s way of doing business have made their way into the executive committee of the EPRDF, claims gossip. While the latter contend that the only way Meles’ legacy can continue is by reforming the party’s way, they in turn are subject to accusations that their’s is a revisionist agenda, disclosed gossip.

At the heart of the political debate is the party’s failure to deliver on its promises of good governance, rule of law and shared prosperity, according to gossip. If there is any source of legitimacy the Revolutionary Democrats are left with to rule, it is in the growth in the economic front and their ability to maintain the nation stable and secure, claims gossip.

It is ironic for those in the gossip corridors to see a leadership whose obsession with seeing its political adversaries down on their knees seeking forgiveness and showing repentance, now agreeing to do the same to members of the public. Very soon, the executive committee of the EPRDF will meet in Addis Abeba to digest and eternalise the public’s outrage and frustration channelled through its rank and file at the convention, gossip disclosed. There are those in the leadership who think a public apology to the electorate is in order, for all the failures of the party; and soon enough, high level cadres of the party will go down to members of the public in every kebele across the nation – in the manner no different than the aftermath of the 2005 electoral debacle – and pledge their promises to do better, according to gossip.

Oddly enough, even their strongest supporters appear to have given up on ending acknowledgement of wrongs to the public and promises for the better, gossip observed. There is nothing less than action from the EPRDFites under the chairmanship of Hailemariam Desalegn which can redeem the party’s old glory in the eyes of its core supporters – who appear to be drifting away from the Revolutionary Democrats but who have lost their way for sheer lack of better alternatives – and restore their faith, claims gossip.


Published on Sep 07,2015 [ Vol 16 ,No 801]



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