TPLFites have mustered in Meqelle trying to sort out …

Yet another week, the TPLFites have mustered in Meqelle trying to sort out what ails their leadership. Resumed last Tuesday, the meeting by members of its Central Committee focuses on “criticism and self-criticism,” of its senior leaders, a leftist tradition of individual redemption through pulling the plug on someone and confession.

So far, the process has covered the deeds or misdeeds of three political bureau members: Abay Woldu, chairman of the Front; Debretsion G. Michael (PhD), its deputy; and Azeb Mesfin, the embattled member of the politburo, gossip revealed. Her show of defiance in walking out from the meeting two weeks ago, amounting to political suicide in the Front’s culture, was confronted by forcing her to submit a written apology before she was admitted back to it, disclosed gossip.

Bar Tedros Adhanom (PhD), who has left the leadership for an internationally prestigious job as Director General of the WHO, five members of the politburo are left with. They are awaiting a rather remorselessly grilling process before they get sterilised to continue as members of the most powerful and secretive body of the TPLF, claims gossip. There will likely be two or three of them confronted with the fate of replacement, making the reshuffling of the politburo inevitable, gossip foresees.

Gossip sees little disagreement over what the revamped TPLF leadership would like to accomplish. It is to re-engineer the top leadership with a recomposition of leaders who belong to the second generation of the struggle and highly driven, claims gossip. The task for such leadership is to consolidate the fragmented power at the top, restore the unity of purpose and action, as well as reclaim the Front’s “rightful” place in the national politics, according to gossip.

There appears to be as much consensus among the Central Committee members – which comprises the veterans whose presence in the meeting is a matter of disapproval by some of the politburo members for they had retired a decade ago – that the status quo has proven to be far from adequate to this mission, claims gossip. The disparaging paper authored by the duo – Alem Gebrewahid and Beyene Mikiru – has succeeded in establishing that much, gossip disclosed.

The political battle ahead is to pick a set of new leaders from among the politburo members for which names are flying around with intense contestations, gossip observed. The most touted name by the veterans, the rising star among the new generation of the TPLFites, Alem appears to fit the profile for the job, claims gossip. Born to farmers, he is a TPLF child, brought up and educated by the Front since the age of nine, to claim the most powerful office of the TPLF Secretariat, gossip revealed. He was not elected even to the Central Committee up until 2008, during the ninth Congress of the Front.

Ironically, his age appears to be a disadvantage in contrast to Debretsion, a technically able man with doctoral studies in technology. Although he had joined the liberation struggle much earlier, he is considered to be a second-generation TPLFite leader for he joined the politburo only in 2010, after the Front began its succession plan a decade ago.

Another hopeful of the top office, a veteran of the struggling joining it in the early 1970s, is Feteleworq Gebreegziabher, a.k.a Monjorino. A stalwart of the Tigray Regional State, serving it in various bureaus from education, trade, industry to urban development and transport, she was first elected to the Central Committee in 2006, during the Eighth Congress of the Front. Now serving as TPLF’s person in EPRDF’s Council under Shiferaw Shigutie, she too faces formidable challenges to her rise to power for lack of experience in leading top political institutions at the regional and federal levels, says gossip. Feteleworq is also perceived no less polarising and dividing figure in the leadership as her nemesis in the politburo, Azeb, claims gossip.

It is such lockdown in the TPFL leadership that makes its reshuffling the most anticipated among those at the gossip corridor, perhaps for the first time since the crisis in the early 2000s, gossip recalled. If the status quo is to change – not yet a done deal – its leaders will be determined to stop the rise of their adversaries, gossip foresees.

The biggest contention, thus, will be over the nomination for the chairperson position, which will be made in public, claims gossip. The actual selection is to be made in secret ballots by 45 members of the Central Committee, who may have surprises in store, says gossip.

Published on Nov 26,2017 [ Vol 18 ,No 918]



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