EPRDF’s Merger Should Move the Country Forward, Evade Unitary System

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Addis Ababa november15/2019 Some political parties said the proposed merger of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Front (EPRDF) is a decision that has to be taken to move the country forward, while others warned the merger could lead into more difficult unitary system.

 Recently, EPRDF announced its plan to transform itself into a new single national party in a move to widen democratic culture in Ethiopia.

According to the Front, the merger will have a momentous input to build up unity and ensure equal participation of all associates of EPRDF on the decision-making process.

Speaking to ENA, former member of House of Peoples’ Representatives, Beyene Petros said the idea of merger is a right decision that could help Ethiopia to deepen democratic culture through involving different voices in party affairs.

He recalled that EPRDF was insisting for merger among competitive political parties irrespective of self fusion within its Front. However, Beyene said the proposed merger seems a constructive move.  

“EPRDF has always been insisted on competitive political parties to merge, but I can say that EPRDF itself never been best model for us because the four parties, leading the country in coalition, never united together as single party despite the huge opportunity they hold on their hands. So, the recent decision for merger seems a constructive idea,”he said.

A senior politician and ex-parliamentarian, Girma Seyfu, appreciates the merger as practical engagement to promote peaceful coexistence across the country.

Appreciating the merger, Girma said creating a strong single party would enable parties to consolidate themselves for greater effectiveness.  

“I appreciate the efforts, because this is a very great opportunity to form a strong party but it needs to respect the decision of others that refused to merge as a single party,” he added.

Conversely, Geda System Promoting Party President, Robele Tadesse warned that EPRDF’s merger is a move to create a unitary system in Ethiopia.

Though Robele believes merger of political parties is crucial for effectiveness of parties in the process of democratization, but EPRDF’s fusion may lead to the denial of collective rights of citizens.

“On the context of Ethiopia, the federal system based on ethnic backdrop, so how could they manage to merge after all their premises is based on ethnicity. I doubt that could be viable and it may pose intricacy on our federal system,” he said.

President of Wolita Nation Democratic Front, Tekle Borena, has supported the stance of Robele, regarding EPRDF’s merger.

“We are worried that the merger of the parties could end the federal system, the federal system could fade away through times. Power decentralization could be affected and the regional states turned into unitary one,” he said.

Temesgen Burka, Research Coordinator at EPRDF’s Democratic System Development Center, said the concept of merger does not mean denying the existing federalism system but it will be a way for prosperous and unity in diversity.

“The merger of the coalition parties and affiliates will be an umbrella for the party to come together under one shade for the national development,” he said.

EPRDF has taken best experiences from other countries including Switzerland, Belgium, Nigeria and India, he pointed out.

The idea of merger has been a point of discussion since the 5th conference of EPRDF held in 1996 EC and agreements were reached on the plan in all meetings of the Front.

Recently Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said merger of Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Front (EPRDF) and other political parties as a single national party will be publicized soon.