With secrecy being the defining trait of the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the executive committee meeting of the party, which is being held behind closed doors, on Wednesday December 20, came out with a rather confession like communiqué which resembles the one issued by the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
The communiqué admitted that the cause for the bloody conflicts in different parts of the country is the party leadership’s weakness which legal experts take as an admittance of guilt, hence, accountable by law.
“The leadership’s weakness immensely contributed to the current precarious situation in the country,” the statement acknowledged.
The EPRDF’s executive committee meeting, expected to be an enduring one like that of the TPLF, stated that there is a growing mistrust among the member parties of the Front and the deep renewal that the party was going through for the past two years was not deep enough to change this.
But for Lidetu Ayalew, Ethiopian Democratic Party’s (EDP) central committee member, it is a general statement in which he found nothing worthy of the expectations he had.
“I was anticipating new things from this meeting of the EPRDF’s executive committee, not trusting the nature of the party but because of the pressure the current situation in the country might exert on it to do so,” Lidetu told The Reporter. “Probably the new thing is the admittance of the inter-party divisions.”
In a statement that appeared to be a rare one, it is for the first time that the EPRDF admitted to the creation of strong sense of suspicion among its four member parties. Some two years back Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn had dismissed this saying it is the doomsayers’ dream to say that there is suspicion and lack of trust among the four parties making the coalition.
The four member parties of the coalition are the TPLF, the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM), the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) and the Southern Ethiopia Peoples’ Democratic Movement (SEPDM).
This communiqué from the party came at a time that the country is being rocked by mass violence from every corner.
Earlier in the week, Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn expressed his grief over the tragic killing of ethnic Ethio-Somalis who were under police protection in west Hararghe Zone of the Oromia Regional State. He also assured the public that all the proper measures will be taken against the perpetrators of the crime.
The party’s executive committee meeting which is progressing behind closed doors has been criticized for its secrecy while the issues discussed are of national importance. Thus far, the EPRDF has refrained from saying anything about the agenda it is discussing and the expected outcomes.
Lidetu believes that the party focused on issues of implementation rather than the real systemic and legal issues which created the situation the country is found in.
“There needs to be an admittance of being anti-democratic and creating one party dominated political system,” he asserted. “I don’t believe EPRDF will be able to solve the problems observed if it is going to discuss on the subjects raised in the statement in the remaining days of the executive committee meeting.”
He also believes that the source of the recent problem in the country is the ethnic based politics and this should be addressed. The party should assess its stance on the ethnic politics and come up with a solution, according to Lidetu.
“The whole project of ethnic politics should be assessed and identify what the merits and demerits of ethnic politics,” Lidetu observed.
The executive committee has also invited members of the previous leadership to participate in this important meeting as was the case with TPLF’s 35-day central committee meeting, which was concluded recently.