What to expect from Ethiopia’s ruling party upcoming assembly

What to expect from Ethiopia’s ruling party upcoming assembly

NBE Blog

By Andualem Sisay Gessesse –  The Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democracy Front (EPRDF), the ruling coalition in Ethiopia with four ethnic and language based member parties, is set to hold it general assembly in September.

People are now reflecting on what the formerly dominant party in the coalition- the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF), which has turned into opposition after Dr, Abiy Ahmed of the Oromo Peoples Democratic Organization (OPDO) took the leadership of the coalition and became Prime Minister of Ethiopia, will bring on the table and the outcomes of the general assembly.

One of my FB friends has listed the following three scenarios as outcomes:

  • 1) The coalition within the coalition will forge more unity and outveto the TPLF. The TPLF will accept the result and the congress will somehow make it.
  • 2) The TPLF will influence and win over elements from the other organizations, and outveto the Lemma-Gedu-Mufariat axis. The outcome will be a series of drama as that will unseat Abiy and his group.
  • 3) The difference within the EPRDF will be too sharp, and the individual organizations unyielding, that normal congress business cannot be conducted. The result will be the walk out of the TPLF from the coalition.

In my opinion, the TPLF has already lost the battle the day ANDM and OPDO came together and secured additional votes from South party and elected Abiy as the EPRDF chairman. That outcome has literally ended the domination of the TPLF within the EPRDF.

Now as my friend said the South party led by Muferiat is also part of the reformist team (The Lemma Team, which brought Dr. Abiy Ahmed to power).

Back to the upcoming meeting now TPLF has equal vote with any of the four member parties of EPRDF. That means if we say if the total number of participate are 2,000 cadres, TPLF has 500 members (votes) even though it is unfair to give that much vote for a party that represents only 5% of the population of Ethiopia.

Based on that the 2rd scenario (outcome of the meeting) my friend mentioned – TPLF convincing others – is very unlikely. Not only because of the number of votes, but also we haven’t heard so far any realistic agenda or argument from the TPLF that will stop the ongoing reform of the EPRDF and the achievements made so far by the reformists.

In my opinion, angry losing their dominance in the coalition and hungry to get back their power of torturing the Ethiopian people as we have seen from prison stories, the TPLF cadres may raise different issues criticizing what the reformist have been doing for the past months.

As we read on social media, they may raise issues such as, respect for constitution, the need for law and order, not interfering into the affairs of the regional states, why you didn’t gave to more land for our investors (Chinese), etc…

In my view this is understandable and expectable from a party that represents only 5% of the total population of Ethiopia (if representing all the Tigray people) after suddenly losing its power and became equal with the rest of Ethiopian people.

To be honest if I put myself in the shoes of those old guards of the TPLF, it will be hard for me to accept the fact that out of 100 Ethiopians, I represent only 5 or 6 people but not the remaining 94 or 95 people of Ethiopians.

So, it is indeed hard for the TPLF to start exercising ‘equal vote for every Ethiopian’ principle and to suddenly lose all those privileges being exercised for the past 27 years as a result of its dominance within the coalition.

Back to the other two scenarios my friend has mentioned, it is very unlikely for the TPLF to leave the coalition. In my view, such move will have many consequences and backfire to the TPLF and the people of Tigray, in general.

If only TPLF weighs the benefits Tigray as a region – not the people – gets or has been getting from the rest of Ethiopia with the benefits Tigray gives or has been giving to the rest of Ethiopia’, I think will make the TPLF to stay in the coalition.

I say it is much better and safer for the TPLF, which is mother and father of the EPRDF to stay with its children at this old age, even if it doesn’t agree on everything with its super smart kids – The Lemma Team.

But most of all, the more the TPLF resists or opposes the reform, the more Ethiopian people unite with the reformists supporting their justice, equality and unity agendas with forgiveness and love, as we have been witnessing since the Dr. Abiy Ahmed came to power about four months ago.