A rift among the leadership of the Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP) continues as veteran party leader Lidetu Ayalew contested the decision of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) to uphold its ruling that Chanie Kebede (PhD) is the legitimate president of the party.
The contention within the party started to brew after the controversial election of Adane Tadesse as president of the party replacing Chanie. The move to elect Adane came after a disagreement among the members regarding the manner the party’s stances are being manifested in the ongoing negotiations national parties are having with the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).
For the second time now, the NEBE reaffirmed that the legitimate president of the party is Chanie. Previously, the board had informed the party that the election of Adane did not follow the due process of party presidential election which should be carried out based on the bylaws of the party.
Some members had signed a letter sent to the board informing that they have replaced Chanie with Adane.
Confirming the action of the board, Wondimu Golla, the deputy head of the office of the NEBE, told The Reporter that the board had investigated the case meticulously and found out that the election process and a meeting called by petition to approve the new president elect were all against the bylaws of the party.
But, Lidetu, one of the founders and a member of the National Council contests the statement by Wondimu saying that the Board is working in favor of few individuals than the newly elected leadership. The election, he argued, was conducted based on the bylaws of EDP.
Lidetu is also of the view that, although the board required the party to correct some flaws in the election of the new administration and conduct it according to the bylaws, the current round of decision does not conform with the request which was a question of clarity.
“Apart from other reservations, NEBE took issue with the fact that the assembly at which the new president was elected did not constitute quorum,” Lidetu explained. “However, in its latest letter sent to us, the board declined to accept the newly elected president arguing the letter sent to it was signed by the secretary rather than the president. They also said the letter failed to mention the place and time the meeting was held.”
Lidetu also said that, the reason the party members that called the meeting in a petition used the sign of the secretary is because of the failure of the board to recognize the newly elected president. Article 24 of the party’s bylaws allows this, he emphasized.
Countering this, Wondimu stated that the indicated article is applicable only in the absence of the president. In this case, there is a president who is against all this process that elected a new president and demoted him, he argued. Hence, the verdict is passed based on the bylaws of the party and the board recognized the current president, he said.
Unsatisfied by this all, Lidetu requested the intervention from the government.
“If the government is not behind all this drama, it should intervene and provide a lasting solution; if it remains silent, this proves the regime’s nature,” Lidetu exclaimed.
Finally, Lidetu stated that taking the nature of the regime in to account, this is not new and confusing; therefore, he vowed that they will continue their efforts and struggle to bring democratic political system in the country.