If there was anyone among the EPRDFites who was too busy last week…

If there was anyone among the EPRDFites who was too busy last week, none would have come close to Teodros Adhanom (PhD), the minister of Foreign Affairs, gossip claims. Also a politbureau member of the TPLF, he had to juggle between two crucial meetings that were both impossible to miss, according to gossip.

Up in Arat Kilo, on Lorenzo Te’azaz Road, TPLFites were conducting their rather unusually long meeting (five days) of the central committee, gossip disclosed. Critical issues, such as the battle against corruption and the subsequent arrests of senior party members prominent in the federal government, allegedly involved in this vice, would probably take up much of their time, claims gossip. It shows that those in the EPRDF leadership, but close to the suspects, are too weak to speak in public for their allies, while they may also bid for their time, gossip claims. There would be noone among them politically naive enough to stand in defence of politicians accused of involvement in corruption, gossip observes.

Another thorny issue that may be indicative of the group and could prevail in the consolidation of power, is the appointment of the chairman to the endowment company affiliated to the TPLF. Ever since the departure to the Sudan of Abadi Zemo, EFFORT has been without a chairman. This is although one of the three deputies, Azeb Mesfin, widow of the late Meles Zenawi, has had enormous influence in its corporate affairs, according to gossip. Since its founding in the mid-1990s, EFFORT has had powerful political figures at its top, such as Seyee Abraha, Sebhat Nega and Seyoum Mesfin, all veterans of the armed struggle against the Marxist military rule of Mengistu Hailemariam (Col.).

Placement of at least three of the politbureau members of the TPLF in the federal government could also be another issue of discussion, at last week’s central committee meeting, claims gossip. There are only three or four of the nine members who have high profile positions in the federal government, while three others still serve as zone heads in Tigray, despite their place in the most powerful body of the party, disclosed gossip. If this be the case, Hailemariam Desalegn’s Administration may soon see a change in the cabinet that could be short of a reshuffle, claims gossip.

Gossip has also heard that the TPLFites might have discussed a proposal made by the chairman of the governing coalition, Hailemariam, although the exact nature of his proposition remains undisclosed. Nonetheless, if there is something their founding and long time chairman, Meles, has left without accomplishing, it could be the project of unifying the EPRDF into one national party, within a few years, claims gossip. The idea has been broached a couple of times at the ruling party’s conventions. Although it had appeared, for many of the delegates, too early to move forward, gossip observed.

Yet, there has been strong resistance to the idea, coming particularly from leaders of the TPLF and the OPDO, according to gossip.

Teodros could not have missed a meeting of such importance, even when he had called all his ambassadors and mission heads for a five-day annual briefing, held few kilometres down from Arat Kilo, inside the Ghion Hotel, on Ras Desta Damtew Street. Cut down to one week by the Minister himself, as opposed to the original two weeks his aides had proposed, the nation’s diplomatic elite was called to discuss how to develop a “grand strategy”. This was on top of the routine briefings diplomats assigned to overseas posts are accustomed to, gossip disclosed.

There were diplomats brought in by the Korean International Cooperation to talk on development and the nature of a developmental state, according to gossip. However, the highlight of the week was the professors of foreign policymaking and international affairs, invited from Yale University by the Minister, in order to help his diplomatic brass craft the “grand strategy”, according to gossip. These are reportedly the same professors who frequent the US State Department, coaching American Under-secretaries on how to design grand strategies in the service of their nations, reveals gossip.

Some of the diplomats were pleased with the lecture, although felt that time was too short to grasp the essence of the concept, which Yale University offers its students as a two-semester course, gossip discovered. It is a programme designed to equip “future leaders” in developing “a comprehensive plan of action, based on the calculated relationship of means to large needs”, according to gossip.

Published on September 08, 2013 [ Vol 14 ,No 697]



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