Many in the gossip corridors found it perplexing to see the administration shooting…

Many in the gossip corridors found it perplexing to see the administration shooting itself in the foot last week. Bordering to political naivety, the office in Sufian Ahmed’s Ministry outlined potential risks in its prospectus to would be sovereign bond buyers, as brought out by the Financial Times. The paper could not have contained its disbelief over the unusual frankness in the document, One of the risks mentioned is a potential political instability following the upcoming national elections.

Signs of apprehension among the top leaders of the Revolutionary Democrats are evident, gossip observed. It is the first election to take place in the absence of their chief priest, the strong man of the ruling party. Lacking internal cohesion, a considerable number within the top leadership is worried less over the challenges coming from their political contenders as much as they are with the discontent among the electorate, gossip claims. They seem to have a resolve not to make the same mistake they did in 2005 in underestimating public dissatisfaction on issues of governance, corruption and breathing space, gossip observed.

Nevertheless, little do they seem to doubt the outcomes of the elections; they believe they will win, no matter what, claims gossip.

Traditionally, the legitimacy of Ethiopia’s national elections is influenced by the judgment of those tasked to keep an eye on the process and what takes place during polling dates. From the snap elections during the early 1990s of the transitional government to the most contested in 2005 and the winner-takes-it-all national elections five years subsequently, international observers have always been part of the political showdown.

And the way each group is perceived by the EPRRDFites, the opposition camp and the electorate vary, gossip observed. From the African Union, loved by the Revolutionary Democrats and loathed by the opposition, to the Carter Centre which all sides appear to love and hate at the same time, to the most controversial European Union, foreign observers are spice making pre and post election drama, claims gossip.

Not anymore though, gossip discovered. If not anyone, the European Union will not send its electoral observers in May 2015, skipping Ethiopia’s national elections where its name was marred in the eyes of the EPRDFites and their supporters as much as it is revered among their political opponents, gossip revealed.

There is a political twist to this affair though, according to gossip. EU officials were told by the late Meles back in 2010 that it was for the last time Ethiopia would invite them to observe its national elections, disclosed gossip. Whether this knowledge of Ethiopia’s government’s desire influenced the EU’s decision not to include Ethiopia in the list of 15 countries its officials plan to dispatch observers in 2015 is not clear, claims gossip.

It seems that the government of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn sees no point in inviting Brussels to send observers, knowing that Ethiopia is not in the list of EU priorities, despite the opinions of its diplomats in Addis Abeba, gossip claims. And the invitation is a prerequisite to consider whether or not to send observers.

It looks for now, Ethiopia’s political oppositions and the electorate need to manage up with electoral debacle where its primary component is missing, claims gossip.

Published on December 07, 2014 [ Vol 15 ,No 762]



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