There is sometimes a bright side to severe crises, even the kind which the Revolutionary Democrats…

There is sometimes a bright side to severe crises, even the kind which the Revolutionary Democrats are confronted with, gossip observed. They can draw a sense of pride in their accomplishments in making the public, including their friends and foes, captivated by their internal organisational affairs and by the manner in which they elect their chairperson. It was not like this just a couple of years ago, claims gossip.

Members of the public, particularly those with middle and upper-middle class backgrounds who live in the capital, are seen eagerly learning the structure of the EPRDF and the differences between its constituent parties, gossip says.

Ironically, when the fate of a nation is so profoundly tied to that of a dominant ruling party, people have little choice but to educate themselves and try to understand what makes the politburos and the central committees of each party different from the Executive Committee and the Council of the Front, according to gossip. This ignited interest to know their membership compositions and voting structure could make experienced political strategists in liberal democracies envious of the Revolutionary Democrats ,who are stuck in a series of meetings for the past two years, gossip claims.

The latest has been a meeting held by the 36 members of the Executive Committee of the EPRDF, which began on March 11, 2018. Although there was a widespread misconception that it was this body that would have elected the chairperson to replace Hailemariam Desalegn, who resigned from the chair over a month ago, the issue did not even make it to the agenda, gossip disclosed.

However, contrary to what many in the Committee had thought, the meeting was chaired by the outgoing Chairman, despite his resignation, and it discussed reports submitted by the chairpersons of each party in the coalition, according to gossip. These were reports that addressed the performance of the respective parties in examining the depth and breadth of the “deep renewal” that the Revolutionary Democrats believe will help them sail through this political storm, gossip reveals.

Also attended by non-voting veterans of the EPRDFites, except for Abadula Gemeda, the stalwart of the OPDO, the Committee also talked about the way in which the declared state of emergency is enforced and listened to reports on its results, gossip disclosed. What could be of particular interest is what was third on the agenda, gossip claims.

Does Ethiopia face a threat from external subversive forces which are bent on orchestrating regime change?

Many of the Executive Committee members appear to believe that this is the case, gossip asserts. It was not without any background that Siraj Fegessa, minister of Defense and head of the secretariat of the Command Post, tasked to enforce the state of emergency, stated, in his recent briefing to the media, that a sort of colour revolution is in motion for months now, gossip claims.

The conclusions from this meeting are being repackaged in a report to be presented to the 180-member Council that was called for Tuesday, March 20, gossip disclosed. Before facing members of the Council though, the Executive Committee was having its tradition of “criticism and self-criticism,” a form of leftist ritual of recrimination and self-recrimination of individual leaders, claims gossip. It is here where leaders with the aspirations to attain the top job are made or destroyed, gossip says.

The Committee, nonetheless, seems to abandon its tradition of reaching a consensus on who to pick as chairperson before going to confront the Council, gossip claims. Gossip predicts two possible outcomes from the Council`s meeting next week.

Council members will be tasked to randomly nominate those that will run for the chair and deputy chair positions of the EPRDF; if approved by 60pc of the Council members, their candidacy will be accepted to be voted for in secret ballots, but they will contend with two other candidates who should pass through the same process. This could be unlikely for the EPRDFites who cannot afford to have last minute surprises, according to gossip.

The politically sound and less polarising scenario is to work to get a consensus to postpone the election to their convention in August, gossip claims. That would require them to elevate their deputy chairman, Demeke Mekonnen, who is also deputy prime minister, to the position of acting in charge of both offices, gossip says. This appears to be a scenario palatable to the various factions, which would neither lose nor gain from the power struggle right now, gossip claims.

Published on Mar 18,2018 [ Vol 18 ,No 934]



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