Ethiopia: Fine Line – the Profound Leadership Crisis in the Oromia Regional State Resurfaced

 

The profound leadership crisis in the Oromia Regional State resurfaced last week, following the inevitable resignation of Alemayehu Atomsa, chief of the regional government and chairman of the OPDO, the ruling party in the region, gossip observed.

Soon after he was elected to these offices back in 2010, Alemayehu fell ill and has thus been pretty much absent from the affairs of the largest region in the republic. While the regional state has been run by its deputy chief, Abulaziz Mehamed, the OPDO has been entrusted in the hands of its deputy, Muktar Kedir, also minister of Capacity Building. Both have served as deputy heads of the regional state and bureau chiefs of the region’s capacity building since 2005, gossip recalls.

What was bizarre for many at the gossip corridors was not the resignation of Alemayehu, which had been predicted, claims gossip. Ironically, the Politburo of the party has opted to accept the resignation without first deciding on who will replace him, both as chief of a party and the regional administration, gossip disclosed. The factions of Abadula Gemeda, Kuma Demekisa and Aster Mamo are not even be able to agree over nominations, thus leaving a regional state exposed to fierce critics over a deteriorating state of governance, claims gossip.

Top brass EPRDFites in general are being consumed over concerns of good governance across the country, or the lack thereof, gossip observed. A ruling coalition bracing itself for a national election in a little over a year has leaders losing sleep over how to prepare for the electoral showdown, according to gossip. Very soon, they will assemble their campaign team, whose members will be assigned to produce their electoral manifesto, disclosed gossip.

They seem to have the view that their party will have no meaningful challenge from a rather fractured and incoherent opposition, gossip observed. Nonetheless, they should also be reminded of the seasonality of Ethiopian politics, where the flash floods often come from nowhere at the last minute, claims gossip.

Their campaign team will have to develop its electoral strategy under the shadow of two past elections; in 2005, they suffered a blow due to protest votes, and in 2010 the outcome turned out to be near complete hegemony in Parliament and all regional administrations, gossip recalls. Some of their leaders detest both outcomes, for, neither are they ready to concede political power nor would they mind having a modicum of opposition presence in the legislative houses, claims gossip.

With a growing concern over the lag of public infrastructure, the EPRDFites realise that the ongoing projects will not be ready in time to highlight their accomplishments, gossip observed. The numerous projects under construction will have to be kept aside for the national election in 2020, according to gossip.

The somewhat cherry picked agenda appears to be in relation to the growing public discontent over the worsening state of governance, including a recent admission by law enforcement agencies that they practice torture, gossip disclosed. Thus, brace to hear a lot about the party’s resolve and commitment to fighting corruption among its leaders and ensuring good governance.

Some of their leaders, however, are busy thinking about the post-2015 election, gossip disclosed. The Abay-Bereket team, assigned to advise the Prime Minister on strategic policy directions, is currently brainstorming a new policy mantra that will carry the party beyond the coming elections, claims gossip. They seem to realise that the policy frameworks and strategic manuals left for them by the late Meles Zenawi only have so much to sustain the party, according to gossip.

Concluding that Ethiopia’s wealth is created from the rural but subsistent economy, the Abay-Bereket team is keen to see that growth in this economy is saved as much as possible, gossip disclosed. One way of achieving this is by developing policies that will encourage businesses investment into small industries across rural Ethiopia, which will generate employment and feed the rural economy nearby, claims gossip.

Again, brace to hear a lot more mantra coming from the EPRDFites and their government officials on a massive “rural industrialisation” campaign come 2015 and after, gossip disclosed.