BefeQadu Z. Hailu
(A note inspired by a Facebook post of Yemane Mitiku)
The people in social media and beyond are perplexed about what is going on within EPRDF. Almost all assumptions are made based on the news that reached the public from what is happening behind closed doors. However, it can be reached at a point where we can be sure there is internal struggle which is manifested in a lot of issues that resulted in personal cults of team Lemma Megersa of OPDO and sometimes Gedu Andargachew of ANDM. Herebelow, I put what I have observed from commentators why people appreciate the sensational progress OPDO in standing against widely accepted TPLF’s supremacy as well as why they reject it.
Who Rejects Team Lemma and Why?
1. Those cadres who want to protect TPLF’s supremacy within EPRDF and the Federal State;
2. Those OPDO cadres who want to submit to TPLF and replace current leaders of OPDO;
3. Those activists who don’t know political games apart from their hates to a group and affection to the other;
4. Those people who want to be champions of the other possibility – to say “I told you so” in any case when TPLF wins over OPDO;
5. Those people who honor TPLF/EPRDF more than it deserves to be – these people think every complicated step is a designed conspiracy by TPLF/EPRDF as if it (TPLF) had been using well designed strategies to suppress dissents previously instead of using violence;
6. Those opposition groups and figures who think change can only be possible through their touches and blessings; and,
7. Those people who think the way to change is black and white, as if one way or no way is the solution and as if there is no evolutionary way nor alternative ways exist to make changes.
Who Romanticizes Team Lemma and Why?
1. Those people who hoped OPDO’s resistance will stop the dominance of TPLF within EPRDF, consequently impoving representation in power, as well as correcting social and economic imbalances among citizens;
2. Those people who hoped oppositions will get a chance to reorganize and end up in a victory in the middle of the hustle within EPRDF;
3. Those people who hoped there will be a chance of democratization the internal power struggle of EPRDFites because they need supports from the public to win over the competition;
4. Those people who felt relieved (for the time being) from the endless labeling and name calling of Amhara and Oromo politicians because of Lemma led OPDO-ANDM alliance movement;
5. Those people whose only problem is TPLF’s dominance in and among EPRDF members;
6. Those fanatic Oromo nationalists who are happy as long as an Oromo person is in the fore frontline of the game;
What to, and Not to Hope
The Internal struggle for power within EPRDF is the result of people’s resistance against repression. Members of EPRDF used public resistance to their advantage; however, this doesn’t mean the people cannot take advantage over the internal struggle and whatever is coming out of it.
Some public protests in Oromia ended peacefully without the usual brutal crackdown of security forces; some policemen who fired live bullets among civilian demonstrators in Shashemene were brought to court; Oromia government strongly demanded federal forces to stop interfering in regional affairs; Oromia regional state assigned previously tortured, OLFite-labeled, repeatedly jailed person in a key position in the regional justice office (case of Taye Denda’a). Looking at these promising evidences and more, there is too much to hope. But also, some things should be cautiously watched: the exaggerated blaming of Somali state alone in the clashes involved Ethiopian Somalis with Oromos, incidents in which “others” were singled out in the region and the ethnic based tensions in the universties located in the region should be of serious concern.
Having said this, below, I put forward assumptions I wish to remind folks to (and not to) hope from the current phenomenon.
1. Hope for the end of TPLF supermacy (with the risk of replacing it with OPDO supermacy);
2. Hope for the opening of political space to some degrees (with the risk of losing it again once OPDO (or ANDM) has consolidated power);
3. Hope for the resolution of sickening Oromo-Amhara politicians disagreement of what happened in the past and what we should do in the future (with the risk of following majority dictatorship which favors only the major two ethnic groups); and,
4. Hope for more regional autonomy to come (with the risk of losing the strength of federal government).
All the hopes listed above are based on the possibility TPLF won’t revive back; otherwise, all the hopes for change will be overridden and the status quo will proceed with more complicated authoritarian pattern. The chance of TPLF winning back is dependent on two factors: the first is on its capability to break the timely alliance between OPDO and ANDM, and the other is that TPLF will use its access to intelligence and its might in the military.