The Proposed Dissolution of the EPRDF and the Formation of a New National Party: my take, in brief

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The Proposed Dissolution of the EPRDF and the Formation of a New National Party: my take, in brief

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed wants to make EPRDF history. He wants to get beyond EPRDF and wants to do this as fast as he can so that he can get on with things he considers important. I am worried that his proposed solution to EPRDF’s problems could generate more problems than it solves.

We don’t quite know the complete shape of the proposed party from what I understand, it involves the dissolution of the EPRDF and the complete fusion of the four constituent units of the EPRDF and partner parties into a single unified pan-Ethiopian national party. This implies that EPRDF’s constituent members – ODP, ADP, TPLF (not joining), SEPDM, and their partners – will cease to exist as separate political entities, and the parties and their memberships will merge in a shared infrastructure to form a single national party. This also means that the new party is no longer an Amhara, Oromo, Tigray, Somali, or Southern Party – not in the same sense that it used to be. It will be an Ethiopian party that will speak in the name of the entire Ethiopian people, and not specifically as a distinct voice and representative of the Oromo, the Amhara, the Tigrayans, and the SNNPs and the nations and nationalities represented by partner organizations. The new party, it is reported, is most likely to be called Prosperity Party or Ethiopian Prosperity Party.

If this is indeed what is being proposed to solve the crisis of representation and legitimacy that plagues the EPRDF, it is like taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut. This is very bad for everyone – bad for the PM, bad for ODP, colossally bad for the prospect of democratic transition, and bad for the character of the multinational federation.

Abiy and his colleagues may have the best intentions but the new structure carries so much risk at this highly uncertain time. Given what EPRDF is and what it has become, its centrality to Ethiopia’s pain and cure, the proposed solution to EPRDF’s problem creates more problems than it solves. It is so structurally vulnerable, and fraught with adverse political and constitutional consequences, that it is not worth the risks at this particular time.

I hope commonsense prevails and the party and its constituent members explore other avenues (of which there are many) to steer the country through this election and beyond, and not reinvent the wheel at this uncertain time.

Via: Awol Kassim Allo


EPRDF!

I understand it as a tactical alliance engineered by TPLF between four regional political organizations that it created to smoothen its rule over the entire nation, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia.

It’s name is “Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front” but it has neither represented the Ethiopian people fully nor exercised any democracy. It rather discriminated at some group and put democracy upside down.

How?

1) EPRDF excluded people of five of the nine regions from effective decision making for over two decades on a premises that they are pastoralists and they are not up to the expected level to exercise/support revolutionary democracy. I have no idea how livelihood is related to the political ideology one can support/exercise.

2) EPRDF has also violated one of the major principles of representative democracy by representing unequal population by equal number of representatives in the central and executive committee. The Oromo people (close to 40% of the Ethiopian population) and the Tigray people (about 6% of the population) was represented by the same number in the central and executive committee and have equal vote in decision making. This is simply putting democratic principles upside down.

3) TPLF created the regional parties, engineered their alliance, put its number at equal level with OPDO/ODP that represents the largest population in the country and even more controlled the decision making process through what it calls democratic centralism.

Major Problem:

Now, TPLF is not in its position that means EPRDF doesn’t exist. Because ERPDF is a strategic name of TPLF. Therefore, political forces accommodated in this strategic alliance called EPRDF as well as those sitting on the gate should discuss how to move forward in unison.

In doing so, it is important to capitalize on any of the achievements. But there are critical things that needs to change. This means EPRDF needs to have a better organizational structure. The new structure whether it is a front, a party, a collaboration or a collation…..should:

1) Accommodate political forces from all the nine regions (should represent all Ethiopian people)
2) Follow the principle of representative democracy (i. e discard democratic centralism). Ethiopia follows multinational Federalism and people should be represented according to their number at any level of decision making.

Organizational structure that improve these two over EPRDF is good to go as far as I am concerned. But it is equally important to be careful not to confuse these clear needs with other unrelated concepts like ዉህደት, Baqsuu & Unification, which creates more problem than it can solve as Awol Kassim Allo said.


As far as my understanding is concerned, “ዉህደት”, “Baqsuu”, “Unification” are not in anyway applicable and feasible in Ethiopian political discourse & structuring. From my assessment so far, I also understood that most politicians have the same understanding and therefore do not dare to try this project of the 18th century.

What I don’t understand is why they don’t come out and explain themselves to the public.

Is this like testing the water thing?

Birhanu M Lenjiso

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