After a marathon session of intraparty debate and criticism and self-criticism processes, the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the oldest among the four-party coalition, the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), announced the removal of his chairman and other prominent members. However, the question in everyone’s mind is whether leadership change is enough to arrest the recent political turmoil in Ethiopia as the fate of the nation hangs in the balance, explores Asrat Seyoum.
On the morning of August 21, 2012, Bereket Simon, a veteran of the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and the then Head of Government Communication Affairs Office, announced the passing away of Meles Zenawi, the party chairman for a quarter of a century. The week leading up to the official announcement of his death was shrouded with secrecy and rumors regarding his health condition. But, the party stayed absolutely adamant about his condition and denied all rumors.
Hence, that morning, one of queries that tested the communications minister was why the government and the party refused to be transparent regarding the health condition Meles. Bereket was rather bold in addressing the question and in claiming that “it is not really the culture of the party to reveal personal matters of its members; whether it concerns top leaders or not”.
Bereket made a stark revelation that the party culture – even when it is against well-accepted principles of transparency – would still gain prominence. In fact, he was attesting to the stranglehold that the party culture have on the day-to-day activities of the members.
This last month, the Ethiopian public came to witness this same party culture working. After a marathon session of interparty debate and criticism and self-criticism process, the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the oldest among the four-party coalition, the EPRDF, announced the removal of its chairman, Abay Woldu, and the demotion of Abay and Beyene Mikru, member of the executive committee and deputy chairman of the parastatal, the Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT, to the central committee.