In the midst of leadership paralysis, the Revolutionary Democrats have…

In the midst of leadership paralysis, the Revolutionary Democrats have continued to be overwhelmed by resistance from within, gossip observed. Suffice to say that the elections of Lemma Megerssa and Worqneh Gebeyehu (PhD) – the other hopeful was Diriba Kuma, mayor of Addis Abeba – to the most senior positions in the OPDO, came without prior knowledge of the senior leaders of the EPRDF and the allied parties, gossip disclosed.

The two other senior parties in the ruling coalition seem to have locked horns, unable to determine what to do in response to the pressure from their rank and file – either to reform or face the consequences of inaction – says gossip. But to the dismay of those outside of the EPRDFite sphere, and certainly those young men and women battling the security establishment on the streets, the calls from within are neither for policy changes nor pluralism, according to gossip.

The political heat from within comes essentially from a desire to see two things happening: the autonomous conduct of each party in the coalition and the continuation of the party’s succession agenda without any “ifs” or “buts”, gossip disclosed. The OPDO has pursued the first agenda despite strong reservations from the top echelons of the EPRDF, claims gossip.

The question as to whether the ruling party is still faithful to its policy of succession was a subject of intense discussion last week at the TPLF central committee meeting held in Meqelle, gossip disclosed. It was called to discuss the path the party has taken over the past 15 years and take stock of achievements, as well as identify shortcomings, according to gossip. The result was a 30-minute communiqué, which was a rundown of glory and accomplishments. If any, there is a pledge to “reshuffle” its leadership, which indicates that there could be a change in the chair and deputy chairmen when the leadership concludes its meeting over the weekend.

Although there are powerful forces in the TPLF who would like to see the chairman, Abay Woldu, leave, he has proven to be a steadfast politician to date, gossip observed. But not without a challenge; his fate will have been sealed by the time this newspaper goes to press over the weekend.

However, the presence of TPLF grandees in the meeting two weeks ago – although some of them were not elected to the central committee – was a potent issue raised by none other than Azeb Mesfin, widow of the late Meles Zenawi, reveals gossip. With a notable absence at a preceding meeting by the TPLF Council, Azeb challenged the grandees’ presence, characterising it as an attempt to play the role of “caretaker” to the leadership in charge, gossip disclosed.

Abay Woldu has attributed the presence of veteran TPLFites – such as Abay Tsehaye, Seyoum Mesfin, Sebhat Nega, Arkebe Oqubay (PhD) and Teodros Hagos – to the party’s evaluation of its performance over the past decade, thus their presence is justified, claims gossip.

There is, of course, a wider disgruntlement over how the ruling party is carrying out its business of governance, gossip observed. There is an informal group of leaders – comprising chairs of each party in the coalition, their respective secretary-generals and grandees from each – who gather frequently to provide situational analysis over the current predicament of the country, gossip reveals. It is this group that appears to have a rather unusual influence in charting the course ahead when the party finds itself boxed in, as the case has been over the past year, claims gossip.

Although this came about as a result of the frustration of veteran leaders observing how things have drifted off course lately, it is this group that is seen by others in the party – more so the younger generation of EPRDFites – with dismay. This is due to its perceived role in undermining the legally elected and mandated leadership in charge now, gossip disclosed.

Published on Oct 04,2016 [ Vol 17 ,No 857]



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