EPRDF Merger to Direct Ethiopia to Supremacy of Ideas: Politicians

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ENA November 30/2019 EPRDF, a coalition of four parties, that shaped the country’s political arena for the past three decades with its ‘revolutionary democracy’ ideology is in the verge of forming a single party.

The Front that has been planning for a merger among its member and affiliated parties for a long time is working to realize the merger and form a single party.

Some political figures said that the ongoing merger would help to shift the country’s politics from ethnic based to a politics of ideas. 

They said the merger will positively influence the political landscape of the country by ensuring inclusive and civilized political participations.

Girma Seifu, political analyst and former MP told ENA that the merger is a pivotal solution for the current political and ethnic polarizations within and beyond EPRDF by opening up the political space for dialogue.

“For a long time, I myself have argued and even I have written in my Amharic book entitled: ‘Yetekeberut (Excellency)’ that the only solution EPRDF has only one way to escape from this mess is when the front transformed into one party,” said Girma who was the sole opposition MP in the previous parliament.  

Girma criticized for the Front, a coalition of three ethnic and one regional parties that represent four of the nine states, for not being participatory and inclusive to other ethnic groups.

“If a person from Gambella, Somali, Afar and Benshangule with a capacity and knowledge, can never be a prime minister or president of Ethiopia because of this EPRDF platform. That means nobody has a probability from the above regional states to take the highest power of the country,” he pointed out.

He added EPRDF’s merger is essential to bring political power based on individuals’ knowledge and merit rather than ethnic representation, which he said was the ways in the past years.

Political and human rights activist, Obang Metho agreed that the merger would change the political landscape, which was mainly based on ethnic identity.

According to Obang, this situation has created a favorable ground for parties to organize based on ethnic identity rather than ideology and preeminence of ideas.

For him the merger is a long overdue saying “it really would move Ethiopia to a more civilized politics, a politics of ideas and principles and into what a real genuine democratic.”

“So it is about time that you know they try to come and march and to move Ethiopia directly to join most civilized nation of the world. This endeavor will certainly allow the politics of idea not the political of ethnicity or identity,” he underscored.

Speaking through phone, Oromo Federalist Congress Party Chairperson, Prof. Merera Gudina said the merger is very important for the country to nurture a system that accommodates diversified political views, which the Front has failed to bring so far.

However, Merera argued that the merger alone could not bring a political landscape that allows the supremacy of ideas. Democratizing the party is important.

“The very important thing is for issue and civilized political process is a political party’s democratic nature. The move that EPRDF has been taking to take a new path through reinforcing merger is not the only guarantee for supremacy of ideas or politics of ideas. Therefore, its program and strategy is vital despite the structure of the party”, he said.

All member parties of the coalition, except TPLF, and affiliate parties have decided to be merged and form a single party following the approval of the merger by the Council of EPRDF this month.