The Revolutionary Democrats…

The Revolutionary Democrats concluded their council meeting on September 16, 2018. It was held ahead of the most anticipated Congress scheduled for the first week of next month in the town of Hawassa. The council meeting was called immediately after the EPRDF Executive Committee met two weeks ago, where Chairman Abiy Ahmed (PhD) presented a progress report, gossip disclosed.

The Executive Committee issued a measured report at the conclusion, not necessarily capturing the spirit of the meeting, claims gossip.

It was leaders of the TPLF who had insisted on talking about the very fundamentals of the governing coalition, says gossip. They wanted to reassert the raison d`etre for the coalition and would like to see its core principles reaffirmed, disclosed gossip. In particular, its Secretary, Alem Gebrewahid, was seen vocally engaging the Chairman on issues ranging from domestic political reforms to the rapprochement with Eritrea, gossip revealed.

This comes at the heels of a ruling party whose ironclad culture of centralism has eroded, ushering in a new era of politics based on a balance of power, according to gossip. The coercive position of a particular group in the ruling party has been lost, compelling Abiy to hold the Front together through his knack for negotiations and compromises within and beyond, claims gossip.

He will be tested come the next Congress, where no less than three agendas will be tabled for deliberations, gossip foresees. Prior to that, each party in the coalition will have to revise a recent policy endorsed to let founding and veteran members of the ruling coalition have a lifetime privilege of attending the Front’s various high-level summits, says gossip.

Not permitted to vote on agendas debated, the founding leaders of the Front’s member parties had been asked to take part in the political bureaus and central committee meetings in recent years. It was seen as a sign of reverence by the second-generation EPRDFites, while the latter was hoping to tap on the veterans’ wisdom and institutional memory. Nonetheless, their undue influence on current leaders of the EPRDF had caused misgivings among many in charge of the good old party, claims gossip.

The founding leaders of the EPRDF have been honoured with a rewarding exit, in an acknowledgement of their services and contributions to the ruling party, claims gossip. Close to 15 of the veteran leaders, who have served at the politburos of each party in the coalition, will be granted housing built by the state, gossip disclosed. They are also entitled to medical treatment overseas and the benefit of two vehicles each with security details, disclosed gossip. Some of them are also serving Prime Minister Abiy as special envoys, such as Abadula Gemeda, who recently traveled to Australia; Seyoum Mesfin to Japan; and Bereket Simon and Hilawie Yoseph to China, gossip revealed.

Perhaps in the absence of the veterans not currently serving in the central committees of their respective parties, the next Congress of the EPRDF will debate issues including whether to unify the Front into a single national party. It will also deliberate on the need and relevance of incorporating allied parties in the peripheral states as full voting members of the ruling coalition, gossip anticipates. The Front’s leadership has already commissioned studies on how to approach both issues, gossip disclosed.

The likely outcome of the Congress will be the reelection of Abiy as a Chairman of the EPRDF; he will continue to consolidate power in the run-up to the next national elections, claims gossip. There will follow a major shake-up of his cabinet, which may see the downgrading of some ministries to agency level, such as the Ministry of Construction, gossip foresees.

At a grand scale though, the year ahead may see a series of alignments and realignments of political forces within the ruling EPRDF and outside of it in the wider political landscape, claims gossip.

Published on Sep 15,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 959]



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