The political crisis in Ethiopia deepens amid EPRDF's stagnation on the way forward

(OPride) – The political and security crisis in Ethiopia shows no signs of diminishing. The authorities imposed the curfew every night in several public colleges and universities after a series of inter-ethnic clashes and the murder of dozens of students. The teaching-learning process has been affected in at least nine institutions of higher education.

The free slaughter of 16 innocent civilians, five of a family, in Chelenko by federal troops on December 11 has stoked more protests in Oromia. The atrocity caused a quick condemnation of the president of the state, Lemma Megersa. Oromia officials accused the central government of deploying the federal army and police without their request, contrary to the constitutional stipulation prohibiting such deployment without a formal request from the state.

Problems within the governing coalition generate new concerns about the growth of the fragile state. Even pro-government badysts are sounding the alarm. For example, in his December 16 editorial, Strathink opined that the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) is in trouble, lost, stumbling, at a crossroads [19659008] & # 39; or as the activists of Tigrayan say, "it is eaten alive from within".

EPRDF leaders admit it internally, according to documents recently released by OPride. For example, in early November, the incoming president of the dominant Tigress Popular Liberation Front (TPLF), Debretsion Gebremichael wrote: " The current security situation in Ethiopia is very disconcerting: the country is moving from one crisis to another The loss of confidence that EPRDF may not be able to resolve the crisis greatly confuses the concern. "

The 36-member EPRDF Executive Council is now in "die or die" amid fierce disagreements "on how to move forward." during the week, it was reported that the session was suspended without agreement after the members of the Oromo and Amhara ruling coalition demanded the end of the Tigrayan supremacy and the economic and political marginalization of their constituencies, which together make up two thirds of the 100 million inhabitants of the country.

After the strike, TPLF brought the members of the old guard to calm tensions. But this also apparently was counterproductive, culminating in heated exchanges, among others, between Abay Tsehaye, a former imperious Federal Affairs Minister, and representatives of the Oromo Popular Democratic Organization (OPDO).

TPLF, fresh out of a 35-day marathon meeting, promises to restore its dominance. In an interview with Fana Broadcasting, affiliated with the state, the new party president, Debretsion, threatened to crush those who blame their party for the growing problems in the Amhara and Oromia regions. Debretsion said Tigers' hegemonic claims are fabricated by foreign enemies of the state to weaken TPLF, sow discord in the country and overthrow the rightful government.

The fact that Debretsion emphasized the psychological and physical damage to some Tigreans and the "slander" against his party, while silencing the murder of thousands of Oromo protesters for more than three years and the displacement of more than half a million Oromo by Liyu Somali police with direct links to Tigrean generals, it points to his intentions to crack down on any challenge to Tigrean's supremacy. Such repressions have been useless in the past to contain the protests and resistance of the Oromo, the largest of the more than 80 ethnic groups in Ethiopia.

The security plan issued by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn last month included suggestions that the military could take over the state media, such as the popular Oromia Broadcasting Network (OBN). Debretsion has been reflecting on that acquisition already in September, according to a cache of leaked documents seen by OPride.

In a series of conversation topics he shared with some government officials, Debretsion lamented the silence of OPDO when TPLF is defamed and concerted campaigns against federal institutions and the military. He noted that, as a result of Tigrayan's alleged orchestration behind the scenes, "the armed groups of the government have begun to fight each other."

He said: "There are unfounded claims that there is a force that orchestra [the internal crisis] from behind" to "sabotage our security institutions" and promised to get to the bottom of this. He added that the questions about "hegemony of TPLF and Tigreans are being very exploited". This, in turn, has caused the "exhaustion of public confidence".

In a major escalation of tensions, OPride learned that TPLF had resolved reverse gains made by OPDO's new leadership at its expense. In this regard, Tigrayan leaders are filing a motion to dissolve EPRDF and form a single strong party, a move summarily rejected by OPDO and the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM), another coalition partner. The intelligence arm of TPLF is now supposedly coaxing ANDM to get ahead of the incipient Amhara and Oromo alliance. The supporters of TPLF seem alarmed by the threat posed to their supremacy by the increasing badertiveness of OPDO and its proposals for ANDM.

Underlining the high-risk nature of the meeting, Tigrai Online, a Diaspora-based website known for carrying the reflections of the Tigress oligarchy, today urged the authorities to "take drastic measures … [against] some Regional leaders [who] are openly challenging the federal government. "

The blog characterized the attempts of the regional leaders of Oromia to affirm the rights of the state as a "coup d'état". One more sign that the recently installed Tigrean leaders are under pressure from their supporters to cancel any threat to their hegemony, another means of communication affiliated with TPLF, Aiga Forum has published editorials calling on the authorities to move firmly against the populist leaders, an implicit blow to Lemma and members of her cabinet. Aiga described the current meeting as a "calculation of accounts" moment and warned that nothing and no one would be saved.

If your proposed merger of the EPRDF fails in a single strong match, the new TPLF is reported to be planning to reintegrate former OPDO leaders who are sympathetic and loyal to TPLF. In a surprise move a year ago, OPDO eliminated its president, Muktar Kedir, and vice president, Aster Mamo, and elected a new and young leadership team led by Lemma, who has since gained considerable support among the Oromo population for his reformist agenda.

Fortunately, it is unlikely that the tactic of recovering old faces or a coarse measure to take over OBN materializes. On the one hand, Aster is "exiled" in Canada, where she works as an ambbadador. Mukar and Bakar Shale, the former head of the OPDO Secretariat, seem disconnected and busy with their first semester Ph.D. courses in South Korea. According to reports, Kuma Demeksa, former president of Oromia, was the former OPDO official in which Aiga joins TPLF. That leaves Diriba Kuma and Girma Biru, who reportedly offered at least a tepid support for the OPDO reform agenda. In short, if Lemma's group stands firm, however much it may wish to, TPLF simply can not clone loyalists who can carry out their orders in Oromia.

Oromo activists fear that TPLF plans to take control of OBN. 16, the locals in Adama reported a strong military presence near the state broadcaster, which in recent months has demonstrated a commitment to accountability journalism. The unusual military deployment left many wondering if this was a dress rehearsal for a movement against OBN and OPDO. In fact, the demonstration of force could be part of TPLF's grand plan to control the narrative about the simmering crisis. Debretsion ended his speech with the following recommendation: "Let the communication be centralized and done by the center". Allow regional states to stop issuing public statements about the Oromo-Somali conflict to local and foreign media. "

Analysts warn that any action by military and intelligence leaders of TPLF against OPDO, including the return of the Oromo-speaking old guard presided over the flagrant abuse of power and human rights violations, will be a catalyst for civil war.

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