It is unusual for a federal agency to get estranged with the very administration it…

It is unusual for a federal agency to get estranged with the very administration it belongs to. Yet, that is what is happening with the Ethiopian Policy Studies & Research Centre (EPSRC), runs under the directorship of Abay Tsehaye, one of the founders and veterans of the TPLF. For the second time in a couple of years, the Centre has made a new report public, thereby capturing public interest for daring to poke the administration of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

The report on accountability, or lack thereof, explores the reasons behind public institutions’ failure to hold the executive accountable. It took over six months for a research group comprising eight – from the Centre, the Civil Service Ministry, and the Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority – to investigate the issue. No less is the verdict aghast to the officialdom, claims gossip.

Although the legislative bodies, civil societies and the media are allotted their fair share of the blame, the report concluded that the administration abhors being held accountable.

Interestingly, such is a report away from fortressed-shelves of the administration, and available to the public’s purview. Like its preceded reports, it was made public and debated among the ruling party leaders, in the open.

The report and the manner in which it was made public was, in fact, one of the two issues intensively debated during a recent meeting of the executive committee members of the EPRDF, gossip disclosed.

The leadership of the EPRDF fears that such bold and provocative reports, which call a spade a spade, would exacerbate the general climate of uncertainty and anxiety when they are made public before they are polished, claims gossip. The executive committee thus decided not to let such reports released to the public until internal deliberations are carried out, and the administration makes policy from their findings, gossip disclosed.

It is ironic to see the same federal agency which brought the plight of the public media to the fore ends up itself muzzled by the leadership it criticised as “dictatorial and anti-democratic.”

Nonetheless, the two veterans in charge of the Centre – Abay and Bereket Simon – were charmed to take the task of speaking truth to power by the chairman of the ruling EPRDF, claims gossip. Despite earlier resistance by the second-generation leaders of the party who serve in the executive committee, Hailemariam had created a parallel entity resonating the “council of elders” to advise his administration and generate prudent policies, according to gossip.

Perhaps frustrated with their intrepid approach, he is the one who slams the door on them now, claims gossip. It is anyone’s guess if the two veterans to get dispirited, become politically correct or step up the challenge, gossip wonders. Predictably, there is a feud emerging there, although it won’t be the only one in the world of the Revolutionary Democrats, claims gossip.

The tension between the EPRDFites on the driving seats and the seniors has continued to manifest itself in various ways. Take, for instance, the rather harsh criticisms Kuma Demeksa and Girma Birru, both serving as ambassadors, were subjected to at the meeting by OPDO’s current leaders, claims gossip. They dared to express their concerns on the OPDO’s current assertive politics, gossip disclosed.

Judging from the recent engagement at the central committee, another feud is likely to evolve between those who see the party’s determination to open up for engagement with the opposition and the ongoing “reform” as “a revisionist” bent. Their nemesis sees the first as hidebound in the name of preserving Meles’s legacy, gossip foresees. Despite this, the EPRDFites have agreed, with overwhelming numbers, for the open up policy, with only two vocal voices against it, gossip disclosed. Azeb Mesfin and Fetleworq Gebgregziyabher, both members of the TPLF political bureau, see no use in opening up to the wretched opposition before the ruling party completes its homework, claims gossip.


Published on Apr 14,2017 [ Vol 17 ,No 884]



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