The Revolutionary Democrats…

The Revolutionary Democrats are now set to hold their convention in the town of Meqelle, in August 2015, gossip disclosed. It is a decisive convention held every two years, and the second since the loss of their longest serving chairman, the late Meles Zenawi.

The convention in August is scheduled earlier than the usual fall season; there appears to be so much to fight over before the EPRDFites form their next administration where major restructuring of the cabinet and reshuffling of ministers are expected. However, there will barely be any policy shift. If at all, the convention will discuss the 64-page draft document on the second generation of the growth and transformation plan (GTP II), which Mekonnen Manyazewal, Commissioner for the Planning Commission, and his deputy, Getachew Adem, have jointly authored, gossip anticipates.

Little has changed in this document from its forerunner, but scale; although those who were campaigning for the inclusion of integrated economic operating zones appear to have lost the ideological battle, gossip noticed. Again, those who stood their ground to see GTP II focus on increasing farm productivity at household level; expanding manufacturing with the indigenous private sector; and promoting small and medium enterprises appear to have prevailed, judging by what the draft has articulated, gossip observed. At its best, the draft appears to represent a compromise between the two groups in the party, where there is a bit of this and a piece of that, gossip noticed.

Be this as it may, there has been a pervasive attitude within the leadership which says, “don’t fix it if it ain’t broken.”

Ironically, the EPRDFites, to their utter shock, have discovered that so much is broken, despite their stunning electoral victory which secured them all the seats in the federal and regional legislative councils. Unprecedented, it may appear on the surface.

The rank and file they fielded to contest the election were made to spend an average of a month in their respective constituencies in the run up to the voting day, gossip claims. Most returned to their headquarters with a rather grim assessment of the party’s standing among the electorate, claims gossip. They were told by their electorate, in no uncertain terms, that the EPRDF could have been voted into office on only its credentials in keeping the country stable in a volatile region, and its ability to maintain order, gossip disclosed. Although much of the electorate appears to be pleased with its achievements in taking the country forward in physical infrastructure and macroeconomic growth, they have reservations over the fair and equitable distribution of these gains, claims gossip.

Thus, the EPRDFites who went down to the grassroots were bombarded with complaints over the party’s shortcomings on poor governance, corruption and lack of justice, according to gossip.

The leadership subsequently decided to have each party in the ruling coalition carry out a methodological opinion poll in its respective region to have more organised feedback than the anecdotal information it had received from its rank and file, gossip revealed. The EPRDFites charged with this task, at an executive committee level, have met in Adama (Nazareth) two weeks ago to tabularise the results from the four regions where the Revolutionary Democrats have a strong grip, gossip disclosed. The result was a rather rude awakening, in a way no less appalling than they had experienced in the aftermath of the 2005 national elections, claims gossip. They were taken aback, for the public uproar could be tantamount to civil unrest, to say the least, claims gossip.

The party’s record of good governance, clean administration and deliverance of justice is dreadful, particularly in the regional states of Tigray, Amhara and Oromia, claims gossip. Unmistakably, the top leadership of the ruling party has come to realise that it has always been on the rough ride of the road, struggling to come out of the woods of their governance deficit, gossip claims.

Whether or not the results of the public opinion poll the Adama team has concluded will be tabled at the convention in Meqelle is yet to be seen, according to gossip. If it does, it will be one critical test of the political resolve of the Revolutionary Democrats to cleanse themselves off of their rank and file without precedence, gossip foresees.

Published on Jul 06,2015 [ Vol 16 ,No 792]



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