The Revolutionary Democrats` last week…

It is not an easy task to decipher what just happened in the world of the Revolutionary Democrats` last week. It is too early to pass the verdict on whether the ascendance to power of Abiy Ahmed (PhD) signals the end of democratic centralism within the EPRDF or ushers a new era of inner-party democracy, says gossip.

What passes for certain, however, is the monumentality of the event where an insurgent from within rose to the highest power of the ruling party, and on his way to being installed by parliament as the next Prime Minister. Credit is due where it belongs though. The EPRDF has carried out what could be termed as a credible election within its rank and file. Abiy has earned the chairmanship of the ruling coalition, seeking it and winning a landslide victory in the end, claims gossip.

It was not smooth sailing as it might have been an extraordinary feat in its outcome. The TPLFites were as much hell-bent to stop Abiy, seeing his determination to conquer power as un-revolutionary. They had appeared to have banked on Demeke Mekonnen of the ANDM in the beginning, gossip disclosed. They had lost their ticket few hours before the voting began after Demeke withdrew his candidacy, claims gossip.

What compelled Demeke to opt-out from running for the top office of the party remains arguable, according to gossip. Divisions within his party over his prospect; fear of losing his deputy position after giving up for a bid to the chair; and failure of the TPLFites to guarantee bloc vote in his favour could be some of the reasons, claims gossip. The latter was particularly important because the TPLF leadership was seen as acting in a shilly-shally manner between Demeke and Shiferaw Shigutie of the SEPDM, gossip revealed.

Nominated by Alem Gebrewahid, TPLF`s secretary, Shiferaw, in the end, got much of the 58 votes from the TPLFites in the Council, disclosed gossip. It was clear that he was not able to get a significant number of votes from his own party where he was recently elected to chair. His political nemesis, Hailemariam Desalegn, was believed to be instrumental in delivering over half of the votes from the South to Abiy, thus played a decisive role in shaping the outcome, claims gossip.

Another challenger to the throne was Debrestion Gebre-Michael (PhD), nominated by Kebede Chane of the ANDM, revealed gossip. To be fair to him, he was nominated last minute after Demeke`s withdrawal was announced; to the contrary, his nomination was accepted against a strong opposition from the TPLFites, according to gossip. Neither had he sought the chairmanship nor lobbied for it as Abiy has unabashedly campaigned for weeks, claims gossip.

Abiy was nominated by his staunch ally, Lemma Megersa of the OPDO, who stood up to defend his comrade from barrages of criticisms upon the nomination, gossip disclosed.

Accused of political sins of infidelity to the cause of Revolutionary Democracy, he had to face criticisms of many from a turncoat neoliberal and a populist to a power-monger and an inexperienced leader, gossip disclosed. Most vocals against Abiy`s candidacy included, however, Getachew Ambaye and Bereket Simon of the ANDM; Getachew Reda of the TPLF; and Siraj Fegesa of the SEPDM, gossip revealed.

The two politicians – Abadula Gemeda, notable to the early rise of Abiy, and Hailemariam, the staunchest supporter in the end – were seen mute during the debate over the nomination, claims gossip. But powerfully vocal in defence of Abiy were Lemma, Worqneh Gebeyehu (PhD) and Girma Birru, all from the OPDO, gossip disclosed.

To his credit, Abiy was proven to be impressive in absorbing the criticisms directed at him as he was articulate in defending his record in the party and the government, claims gossip. Receiving the 108 of the 170 votes cast, Abiy got the blessing of his predecessor, who had told Council members not only of his physical exhaustion for his resignation but also claimed to have been harassed while in office, gossip disclosed.

Another hurt soul could be Demeke`s, claims gossip, for his allies in the TPLF could not muster enough votes in his favour, leading to his frustrations that they were not confident in him.

Published on Apr 01,2018 [ Vol 18 ,No 936]



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