The Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM), the ruling party …

The Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM), the ruling party in the Amhara Regional State, has completed its conference in the town of Bahir Dar for middle and high-ranking leaders. It was one of a kind in a way; the agendas tabled at the conference were far from listening to the general progress and performance reports of the various functions of the regional state it leads, claims gossip.

Potent issues were raised last week, at the backdrop of deeper public discontent and violent protests in the regional states and across the country, prompting its leaders into an animated debate, gossip disclosed. Ideological betrayal and chauvinism, as well as anti-democratic and opportunistic culture entrenched in the party, were words thrown all over during the four-day meeting some described as “intense”, according to gossip.

The conference concluded that the leadership took measures in making its members taw the ideological line inconsistent to what was agreed in earlier congresses; while the fight against rent-seeking and rent-collection behaviour among its leaders is puny. Neither is the conference content in the efforts to nip the practice of networking (a relationship among leaders devoid of principle) in the bud, for the party remains challenged due to practices of “chauvinism, narrow nationalism and religious extremism,” says gossip.

In a way, this conference is a prelude to what is yet to come among members of the coalition of the ruling EPRDF, gossip sees. The Revolutionary Democrats, thousands of whom were in a series of high-level training in the hope of achieving ideological clarity and cohesion, will once again congregate in their respective capitals to lift themselves off the political wonderland before the next major party convention, claims gossip.

The EPRDF is set to hold its convention in March 2018, two and a half years since it had its last in Mekelle. So much has happened and went in the wilderness since then, including the declaration of a state of emergency for the first time since the party assumed power in 1991, gossip recalled. Political power has lost its centre of gravity, pulled by various forces to theirs.

The relationship, interactions and engagements between leaders in the federal government and regional states and among the regions; the first and second generations of leaders in each party; and the various federal institutions, including those of law enforcement and the military, have changed forever, and never to get back to its former place, claims gossip.

Thus, the next few months will see the formation of alliances and their avulsions within each member party of the coalition leading – possibly – to power consolidation, gossip foresees. Despite the many jargons to fly around, no issue will be more lethal than the deployment of an anti-corruption zeal to purge and prosecute politicians who have lost the ideological battle but refused to surrender, claims gossip.

There is already a campaign launched by the Prime Minister, the Prosecutor General and the Police Commissioner against over 150 suspects who have allegedly been involved in an abuse of office for personal gains. There is, however, a broader consensus within and outside of the party that it remains low both in its intensity and level, claims gossip.

In the mind of many, how high in the ladder of power this campaign reaches remains the unanswered question, gossip observed. There is a position paper produced and distributed among the most senior officials of the Administration of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to determine this. It has brought sharp division among them on how high and wide to take the fight, some believing that going the full length and breadth of what has been suggested in the position paper will lead to a complete loss of public confidence in the integrity of the state and its functionaries, claims gossip.

It is, however, clear that the fate of this regime will inevitably be sealed in the next few months with the loss or victory of its determined leaders in fighting corruption and restore the integrity of and the faith in the state, claims gossip.

Published on Sep 30,2017 [ Vol 18 ,No 909]



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