By Staff Reporter
November 19, 2019 (Ezega.com) -- Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said the proposed united national party, which will succeed the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), will bring not only material benefits but also the realization of all-rounded success to Ethiopia. The formation of the new party, named Ethiopian Prosperity Party (EPP), has been under consideration for several years. This year marks the first time the party took decisive steps to make the transition a reality.
Abiy’s remark came after the executive committee of the EPRDF decided Oromiffa, Tigrigna, Somali, and Afar languages to serve as national languages in addition to Amharic.
The committee has come up with a common understanding of EPRDF’s unification, program and legal framework for the proposed party, said PM Abiy Ahmed on his Facebook page on Tuesday, while commenting on the outcome of the meeting.
“It has passed the decisions after all ideas and comments were entertained freely and in a democratic way,” he said.
The premier said member parties endorsed EPRDF’s unification, forming the Ethiopian Prosperity Party (EPP) to bring not only material benefits but also pride, freedom and all-rounded prosperity to Ethiopia.
Abiy sends congratulatory messages to the Ethiopian people and members of the party. He said the EPP will work to transform the federal system and rectify mistakes in the past and promote inclusiveness and participatory democracy.
Asemahagn Asres, a central committee member of the Amhara Democratic Party (ADP), said the introduction of such a political party demonstrates that the right time has come for the people to be valued not based on their ethnic backgrounds but on their merit. The equality of nations and nationalities will be realized in their motherland, he added.
Commenting on TPLF’s resistance to the transformation of EPRDF into a united national party, Taye Dendea, a central committee member of Oromo Democratic Party (ODP), wrote on his Facebook page “TPLF’s grief is below the plan and let it do it again.”
The TPLF leaders believe the move towards a unified party was done without due process and insufficient consultations within the four-member organization. They oppose the charge to unification without a clear ideology, such as the revolutionary democracy ideology the organization championed in the past. They also oppose the inclusion of affiliate parties in such deliberations.
TPLF’s executive members who attended the meeting said they needed to discuss the merger plan with their people (electorates) who represented them in the first place, sources told Ezega.com.
The TPLF leaders were also quoted as saying that they will table the issue to the party's central committee members for discussion. In October this year, the TPLF Central Committee called the plan to change EPRDF from a coalition to a one-party system 'illegal' and it will not take part in it.
Earlier at the start of this round of meetings, six members of the TPLF Executive Members voted against the merger plan while two of them abstained. The two who abstained are believed to Dr. Debretsion Gebremichael, the Chairman of the TPLF, and Keria Ibrahim, a member of the Executive Committees of the TPLF and EPRDF, and the head of Ethiopian House of Federation. The move by these two members has triggered all kinds of speculations in social media as to their intent.
Judging from a video footage made public from the meetings, the TPLF members appeared to be in a state of despair by the situation unfolding in front of them. Also, a video posted on Youtube shows Getachew Reda, a member of the TPLF and EPRDF Executive committees and former Communications Minister, dozing off during one of these crucial meetings, which his detractors quickly attributed to 'heavy drinking' and an embarrassment to his organization and his followers.
TPLF central committee member Amanuel Asefa on social media said TPLF would not involve in such a merger which is against legal matters of the party and country’s constitution.
Organizational Affairs head of the Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice Party, Yeshiwas Assefa said the drive to form a united party shows the government’s commitment to switch sides from unitary government.
The late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who was also the leader of the TPLF, in recorded video being broadcast by state TV, said the affiliate political parties were not in a position to join the EPRDF due to the absence of adequate social institutions in these regions. The EPRDF affiliate organizations include Ethiopian Somali People's Democratic Party (ESPDP), Afar National Democratic Party (ANDP), and Gambela People's Democratic Movement (GPDM). This was not forgotten by these organizations, it seems, as their leaders criticized the TPLF for taking such an exclusive stance in the past. This time, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed did not need to argue against the TPLF. It was done for him by the Somalis and others.
The Ethiopian state media also showed footage of former Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin proposing the formation of a united national party six years ago in which affiliate parties are included sooner rather than later.
If the plan to merge goes ahead without the TPLF, as it looks likely at this time, it is not known in what manner the TPLF continues to exist at both the regional and national levels. It also remains to be seen if the new national party will challenge its rule over Tigray in the coming months and years.
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