The rank and file of the Amhara Peoples’ National Movement …

The rank and file of the Amhara Peoples’ National Movement (ANDM) concluded its congregation two weeks ago. Gossip sees it as a defining moment for the party since its rebranding in the early 1990s, from its original form as a leftist guerrilla movement fighting a military junta, in the 1980s.

Debating on issues of “ideological betrayal” and the rise of “chauvinist element” in the midst of even its top leadership, it was a moment for Bereket Simon, the veteran ideologue of the party, to get vindicated, claims gossip. His sheer intellectual prowess, coupled with his enthusiasm in breaking down the current malaise as a leadership paralysis, has left the army of cadres captivated, gossip claims.

However, ascertaining the party has travelled off the grid over the past few years and should reclaim its ideological clarity has done little for Bereket in the way of seeing a leadership shake-up, gossip disclosed. ANDM cadres have instead proven their loyalty to Demeke Mekonnen and Gedu Andargachew, chair and deputy chair of the ANDM, respectively, who also are idolised for symbolising the rising “Amhara democratic nationalism”.

Ironically, among the duo was a notable absence from the Bahir Dar meeting, gossip observed. Kassa T. Brehan, the political bureau member of the ANDM who has been a close associate of both Demeke and Gedu, was in Adigrat and Meqelle during the meeting, attending public festivities of Mesqel. Very unusual for a senior leader to miss such an important meeting, Kassa’s decision to skip it was taken among those at the gossip corridor as a show of his displeasure of his recent appointment as Ethiopia’s envoy to the United States, from the rank of a minister, gossip disclosed.

With no shake-up in the ANDM core leadership – it remains fragmented in many ways though – eyes are now on what may transpire with the direction of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the senior member of the EDRDF alliance. Its current and veteran leaders have camped the whole of last week in Meqelle, debating on issues of a rather grand scale, gossip says.

The fate of the EPRDF, of the country, and the impact this may have on the people and region of Tigray were the issues tabled for discussion, gossip claimed. Unlike the other parties in the coalition, few in the TPLF seem to be content with the way things are evolving in the country, says gossip. The few there tend to believe that whatever alarmist echo comes on the gravity of situations in the country, it is way exaggerated than the reality on the ground, gossip says.

But the majority of the TPLF leadership appears to be consumed by deeper concerns on the leadership crisis in the country as a result of “attitude alien to a revolutionary, incompetence and rising corruption,” reveals gossip. How to respond to these threats to the very foundation of a regime they played a significant role in forming, is a subject of sharp differences among the TPLFites, claims gossip.

The political bureau members of the TPLF remain polarised on several issues, including on policy towards Eritrea; engagement with the political opposition and electoral law reforms; and the direction the country takes in industrialisation, claims gossip. However, it was Arkebe Oqubay (PhD), a veteran leader of the TPLF but not a member of the political bureau, who had his moment last week in captivating the attention of TPLF cadres, gossip disclosed. Details on his statements are yet to flicker to the gossip corridors though.

Gossip sees it unlikely though for him have a comeback to the political bureau, which has a vacant seat after Teodros Adhanom (PhD) left for a United Nation`s job as head of the World Health Organization (WHO). It is thus very likely for the TPLFites to have elections to fill in the seat, thereby have a leadership shakeup, gossip foresees. If that be the case, Asmelash W. Sellasie, aka Abay Nefso, has more chances of joining the political bureau than any other member of the central committee, claims gossip.

In the likelihood that there will be a  re-election for the political bureau, those at the gossip corridor predict a change of guard at the top. Abay Woldu, chairman of the party for a decade now, may be replaced either by Debretsion W. Michael (PhD), currently a deputy chairman of the TPLF, or Alem Gebrewahid, its secretary. Such a political turnout could signal the repositioning of the TPLF leadership in the run-up to the EPRDF convention in March 2018, which is seen by some of its most veteran leaders as a make or break moment for the TPLFites, EPRDFites and even the nation, claims gossip.

Published on Oct 08,2017 [ Vol 18 ,No 911]



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