Democratic EPRP vs. Reactionary EPRP

Ethiopian Review Editorial

The news of EPRP’s split last week was received with great interest, even enthusiasm, among supporters of the pro-democracy camp. It would have been even better had a united EPRP transformed itself into a genuinely democratic party. But with the reactionary forces led by Ato Iyasu Alemayehu firmly in control of the party’s financial and other resources, a split up was an inevitable outcome.

The EPRP split occurred last week at the party’s congress that was held in the Washington DC Metro Area. There were about 200 delegates who came from as far as Australia to participate in the congress, which was convened to discuss and resolve strong disagreements inside the EPRP leadership.

As reported on Oct. 10, the two camps inside the EPRP leadership that have now gone on their separate ways are: The one led by Iyasu Alemayehu, Fasika Belete and others who wanted to maintain the status quo, and the other faction that is led by Ato Mersha Yoseph, Ato Solomon Gebreselassie, Dr Getachew Begashaw and others who wanted to institute openness and financial accountability in the leadership. The Mersha faction that calls itself “Democratic EPRP” also demanded that the EPRP leadership stop meddling in the internal affairs of Kinijit and other parties.

When the EPRP congress convened last week, the Iyasu Alemayehu faction (aka “Reactionary EPRP”) started to raise all kinds of procedural questions to block discussion on the proposals by the Mersha faction. After a long, heated debate on questions of rules and procedures, such as who is allowed to vote, over 65 members of the Democratic EPRP faction got up and walked out of the congress in frustration, after coming to the realization that the Iyasu faction was not willing to even hear their argument. Among those who did not walk out, there were many who supported or are part of the Democratic EPRP, but believe that walking out was not the right strategy at that point. After the dust has settled, it became clear that EPRP is now almost evenly divided into two camps.

After the split, Hibret Radio in Washington DC came under the control of the Democratic EPRP, to the great relief of Kinijit supporters in the DC area. The short wave Finote Radio remains under the control of Iyasu’s Reactionary EPRP. The Washington DC office also remains under the Reactionary EPRP’s control.

Ethiopian Review’s Research Unit has learned that within Democratic EPRP itself there are serious differences over strategy. For example, Ato Mersha Yoseph agrees with all of his comrades in the Democratic EPRP camp that the party must be democratized, but he differs with Dr Getachew Begashaw and others in that he advocates unilateral dialogue with Woyanne. Other members of the Democratic EPRP abhor the idea of unilateral dialogue with Woyanne. Instead, they prefer to strike a deal with Eritrea’s Isayas Afeworki and regroup the EPRP’s armed wing, EPRA, to launch military offensive against Woyanne. They believe that the only way Woyanne can come to the negotiation table without any condition is by force.

Democratic EPRP may split in to two camps over this very issue. It is not clear how much influence Mersha Yoseph has over the group, and whether he is in the minority on this issue.

From the Reactionary EPRP side, Iyasu Alemayehu is said to support the idea of working with the Eritrean regime, but his allies, Fasika Belete and others, disagree. In any case, it does not matter what the Iyasu faction believe any more, since it is all downhill for them from here on, taking Hailu Shawel with them to the ash bin of history. Iyasu’s Reactionary EPRP is an ideologically bankrupt group with no reason to exist as a political party. The only leverage it has right now is that it is in control of the party’s finances. But money alone without workable ideas is useless in a political organization.

Instead let’s focus on Democratic EPRP — which has the potential to emerge has a strong politico-military force. It seems this group is willing to learn from past mistakes, adopt new strategies, and do not see other organizations such as Kinijit, OLF, ONLF and others as enemies, but as partners.

In a matter of few days, it may become clear if the so-called Democratic EPRP is for real, or merely a result of power struggle between Iyasu and Mersha.

It should be noted here that what had just transpired inside the EPRP was no doubt influenced by Kinijit’s democratic ideals, or what Wzt. Bertukan Mideksa referred to as “Kinijit’s spirit.” Hopefully this spirit is currently working its magic on Woyanne as well. Do not be surprised if you wake up some day soon with the news that Woyanne is also split into two camps — Democratic Woyanne vs. Tribal Woyanne, with Democratic Woyanne having the upper hand. As Victory Hugo said, nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come.

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31 comments on “Democratic EPRP vs. Reactionary EPRP

  1. Aster on

    Yes,my friend,we want the wind of democratic change to blow on every nook and cranny! The spirit to sweep everywhere!

  2. ethiopian on

    Hi dear Elias, i feel sometimes to be addicted of the news in your website. Do good my dear brother!!!:-)

  3. johnson. on

    I think that is a good cranking position to start their faulty engine by overhauling their head to get reach for democracy hill.

  4. I have read the EPRP split and the causes of the split. To me, personality, it does not matter, whether the party split even more than twice let alone the current democratic verses reactionary. Because it is merley a party which has remained without any significant roll and contribution to Ethiopian people for more than 30 years. I can fairly say that EPRP is the party that has remained in Europe and North America as a harbor just for their leaders and some of its last remnants. Now the time is gone. Ethiopia wants Ethiopians who commit their time, energy, knowledge and even their life to the extent of scarifying it. The time already gone for party like EPRP. I wonder how the party brings the issue of democracy and reaction into discussion at the current time, unless otherwise it wants to notify us its mere existence and its process into democratization at the eleventh hour.

  5. igzeeo maharene on

    Welcome DEMOCRATIC EPRP.This is long awaited and an overdue phenominon.I would like to stress a cautious move with seeking a blessing from Isias.Do not retreat from the hamassen highland empty handed to Begemidir like you did from assimba.Better to deal with olf and onlf even though both are breathing with shabia’s lung. For us vetran eprps we do not mind offering our leftover energy and resources from the past as we sacrificed our soul and body in your haydays.

  6. HI! Elias you did good job. Why don’t you try to interview Mr. Marsh Yoseph to make things more clear for ppl.

  7. Zafu Mekonnen on

    I see two sides to this news analysis. The story of the two factions is interesting. Elias is also on the money in predicting further splits and atomization of the factions. Beyond such news value of the story, let us see the political value what the factions are doing.

    In my view neither faction has any political value or future because they do not have a clear idea of where their ideas fit in the contemporary Ethiopian politics or the Ethiopian political future.

    Let’s take the communist wing. Their handful follower still oppose western democratic ideas. they still believe some sort of socialist ideology. The power to govern, for them still comes from the gun. The issue is not getting guns from Eritrea or some other source. Iyassu or Fasika will never be agents of liberty or human freedom or democratic Ethiopia so long as they seek to get their power my means of arms. Birds of the same feather.

    The Mersha and Getachew faction is even more confused. In terms of tone and background, Getachew is the more moderate followed by Mersha. I found it amazing that Getachew Begashasw still thinks that he can get arms from Isayas and give liberty to the people. In other words, Getachew never fully understood what liberty and democracy are all about.

    Mersha’s unilateral negotiation with Meles is also futile. Negotiation in what context? To do what? To gain what? Why not ally with existing and stronger parties such Kinijit and join the 8-point negotiating strategy? This is why I say that EPRP, no matter how you slice it, it remains an irrelevant force in Ethiopian politics because its diehard leaders and followers have been frozen mentally, intellectually, and politically.

  8. Weyni on

    igzeeo (#5) said “…I would like to stress a cautious move with seeking a blessing from Isias…”.

    I heard EPRA were great fighters and military strategists. If that is true, I think, they should strike a deal with Isayas and EPPF and hit weyane where it hurts. Since EPPF is in shambles, there is no national military opposition, right now. So, EPRP should push on this military offensive.

  9. Derebe on

    Elias, there are times when you come up with good news and fairly balanced report such as the case of EPRP split. What I do not like is the news that they are involved in Kinijit affairs. I do not believe that they have any connection with Kinijit. If that is true, it is wrong on the part of Kinijit. Kinijit should stay away from them; they are chronically affected by malicious diseases of disestablishing other organizations. I do not think Kinijit is interested to work with them since particularly Hailu knows them during the initial time of establishment of Hibret. He was not happy about the way how they were functioning and their hidden agenda within the Hibret. First of all they are not popular in Ethiopia now and many Ethiopians think that they are ineffective as organization. They have not yet departed from their obsolete Communist ideology. The Ethiopian people have paid a high price in the past to get rid of this ideology. EPRP may ordain themselves to be a democrat; however, the Ethiopian people do not trust them. They already have one, Meles, at home who beat a drum and blow a trumpet proclaiming that he is a democrat. But in reality he is a Communist dictator. EPRPs are tactful and they could give false appearance that they are working together with Kinijit without actually Kinijit knowing or noticing their malicious behavior. You should not therefore be misled by such behavior. You should not trust them and please refrain from disseminating such news.

  10. Mogedegnaw on

    The split is welcome! Hope that the democrats will prevail at the end of the day.

    I also don’t believe in negotiating with the present woyane government. I strongly count on the removal of tyrant Meles Zenawi by his own companions within TPLF who are ready to give up their Divide and Rule strategy.

    TPLF has been working day and night for the last 18 years to destroy the UNITY of Ethiopia and its citizens. It is still trying to force us to give up our Ethiopian Identity. It will fail!!!

    Like Laureate Tsegaye G/Medhin stated, we Ethiopians hate rats from all animals and that woyane is a rat. He is 100% right. Woyane is a RAT!!! I even question if Meles and his culprits can be considered Ethiopians. For me they are no more.

    Ethiopia lezelalem tenoralech!!!

  11. Agena on

    What comes to mind, at least mine, is the old Abysinnian saying “lemayawqsh tategn!”.

    There is nothing in the suppossed ‘new intiative” EPRP had over 20 meeting with TPLF to form an alliance from 1974-79 . EPRP ,not only had an Unholy Allaince with WITH EPLF and ELF but they were Comerades-in Arms. Together they fought the thiopian Army . In fact it is ELF (Osman Salah Sabeh) who setup EPRP ..took them to Demascus ,Saddam Huessen,George Habash and armed them.And more
    This is from the “Generation” a book by the Founding Father Kiflu Tadesse

  12. Geremew Gonder on

    The title of your writing should have been ‘Democratic EPRP Vs. Authocratic EPRP’ as I see the two leaders, Fasika Belete and Iyassu Alemayehu – the long time king and prince of EPRP still to lead EPRP without accountablility, transparency and democratic principles within and outside of EPRP. They are not open to auditing. Almpst all asset of EPRP is in their names here and in Europe and Africa. I think they have a vested interest to bar all sorts of auditing.

  13. Anonymous on

    EPRP is a dead party. Their existence, whether democratic or reactionary, doesn’t solve any problem, is still obstacle for the struggle. Why in the hell they just give up and join other strong parties? EPRP is a party to be dissolved.

  14. Yikoyen on

    Woyanes (EPRDF) also call themselves democrats. In order for EPRP to make a real change they need to, first of all, admit their past mistakes and appologize to the people of Ethiopia for their Addis Ababa street killings and that they caused thousands of youth to be slaughtered by the monster Dergue. They also need to reorganize themselves starting from change of name.

  15. YeAmbo on

    We are giving relevancy to an irrelevant. We all paid our share with Ethiopianism aspiration EPRP brought forward. That is enough.
    Then I knew little about the whole hoopla. Now I know and I moved on with new ideas, bright ideas, better ideas for Eth. I don’t understand what is in the name of “Eihapa”. My Mom uses it to call a consipcous and mischivious things/indivuals as “ante Eihapa”. This says a lot to me.
    EPRP-ites if you have Ethiopia in mind, please move on. Why does it have to be “Eihapa” to save Eth. Move on with other groups.
    The rest of us should move on leaving ‘the irrelevants’behind.

  16. You got it wrong, Elias.
    Those who did not “walk out” as you put it, and did not see the culmination at both ends are those who strongly fought to save the organization from the sadening split. That obviously means that the split is not clear as you wished it to be, or? Your intelligence did not serve you well, as always.

  17. Mechal on

    If i were Elias Kifle’s professor of a research course, i would assign a grade of A- to his research on EPRP’s split–because he has done very well in presenting most of the facts. I would not assign him an A or A+ grade because he still misses some key facts such as Fasika’s difference with Iyasu on working with Eritrea’s Shabia. Reliable sources indicate that the Iyasu group led by Tegegne had gone to Eritrea about 8 months ago with the full knowledge and blessing of Fasika and Iyasu. Both Fasika and Iyasu believe in working with Shabia. The other key point missed is Elias’s conclusion that mersha is interested in unilateral dialogue with Woyane while Dr. getachew believes to work with Shabia. No. Both Mersaha and Getachew agree on working for democracy with other ethnic democratic forces, not with Eritrea. It is good to substanitate your research with facts. Good work, though, Elias!

  18. kebede on

    I breath safely, Elias, just only today. Time has come to shake the stony heads which remain painful to the Ethiopian people over years. I do not have any confidence on anyone in EPRP to democratize itself and contribute for democratization in Ethiopia. But to be able to stop the spread of any poison from these group is a temporarily relief for Ethiopia.

  19. Dinku on

    EPRP is not split. Few tired members has walked out before they end the meeting. EPRP is intact and solid. Elias, I think you got the news from the anja who walked out of the meeting. Infact it is a good news for your Esepa friends but it is a bad news for the people of Ethiopia. Elias let me make it clear for your ear, EPRP will prevail and lead the struggle for the freedom of the Ethiopian People.

  20. muziky68 on

    Selam Elias:

    The formation of the democratic EPRP is a good step in the right direction. However, your reports on the difference between Dr Getachew and Ato Mersha is not accurate. From my sources, the two have no problems and diferences. Second, Dr Getachew Begashaw does not take working with Issayas as an option. I know him very well. He has never had such idea. After all why would he support working with Issayas when Issayas end is near? What has the OLF and the EPPF accomplish by being headquartered or supported by Issayas? Why would a smart and bright individual like Dr Getachew Begashaw who is known as the “brain of EPRP” suggest policies that has already failed and proven not to work? I think this information may be coming from those who are known to spread misinformations and lies. (the Iyassu camps) Please Elias, make correction.


  21. yikerbelen on

    DEMOCRATIC EPRP must learn fromtheir past mistake and try to work with other democratic forces . they must do their shares. we hope EPRP is cure from it’s long time cancer sickness, now is the time to work with kinijit and others. LET iyassu;s and fasica’s gang alone, nobody will allow them even to sit and talk about ethiopia. They must be assolated from any ethiopia’s affairs. letthem do their business all over the world . eyassu and fasica are a master of kinijit’s problems now, we will treat them as they deserve.

  22. Tesfa on

    This must be the news of the year. I will concider to get closer to Democratic EPRP.congragulation Mersha.Please Mr.Iyasu tell your gangs in our city to spend some time in library and read the ABC of politics,at least they will have a break from there alcohol addiction.

  23. Korahubachihu on

    I think it is very interesting to see one party that evolves itself as the outcome of its internal and external contradictions. EPRP in this case was fahr behind the all modern parties. EPRP became the party of certain groups who new eachothers duiring its stagnant period and these people are with out vision,and renewed programme.EPRP once a time was moblizer of the youth unfortunately today it apears to be the reverse and isdtead it become to be the headache of our generation. Last weeks phenomennon with in the party in EPRP either will be a good start to its renewal or a good start to the end of its histor.
    God bless Ethiopia
    Kinijit is a spirit.

  24. Tesfaye on

    ወንድም ኢልያስ
    በመሰረቱ ኢሕእፓ ነን የሚሉ ዐንድ ዐስር ያህል ስልጣን ፈላጊዎች; የሞተ ፈረስ ጋላቢዎች ነበሩ ዐሉ:: ሰላሳ ዐርባ ዐመት እያሉ ቁጭ ብለው እድሚያቸውን ይቆጥራሉ:: ወይ ዐይማሩ ወይ ዐይበስሉ:: ወይ ዐይሞቱ ወይ ዐይድኑ::
    ዐሁን ደግሞ ተከፈልን ተጣላን እያሉ ያላዝናሉ:: ዐለን ዐትርሱን ነው:: ምናለ በንጹሃን ደም ያካበቱትን እየበሉ ዝም ቢሉ? ስንት ዘመን ሙሉ የማይለቅ እንዲህ ያለ የስልጣን ጥም ዐይቺም ሰምቺም ዐላውቅም:: እነዚሀ ላይ ቢትም ሂደው ስልጣን የሚፈልጉ ናቸው:: ፈጣሪ ይቅር ይበላቸው::


    I think we need to do effective research before we even bring for discussion or criticizing about something that we don’t know very well. First of all Elias did not put the story together right. Although some of his information about the split is right, the story written about Mershia & Dr. Getachew completely is false & wrong allegation. Not Dr,Getachew or Mersha could not have a power or authority to make their own policy or decisions by themselves in the democratic party. The policy maker are the party members not individuals. As a democratic party it will be discuses among members of the party before it became policy of the party. Hence, I can assure you that the democratic EPRP came out after strong struggle with in the party &has no blind followers. There shouldn’t have illusion or confusion about Mersha vs Dr.Getachew believes. AS far as I know both mersha & Getachew struggled hard to bring back democracy inside the organization both fought un democratic leadership’s of Mr. Eyassu(hamatuma)and Mr. Fasica. Eyasu & Fasica have been working against the policy of the organization. For example they have tried to take side when organization in politic cres (CUD).In EPRP(EHAPA)policy this is not acceptable. IF you know EPRP well then you know automatically this is not the organization culture. To summarize,both members are agreed to work on democratic EPRP. They both are ready & open to work with all position parties in Ethiopia as long as those political organizations are working for better Ethiopia. So there shouldn’t be any confusion that one is trying to work with Esayas one is trying to negotiate with Weyane. This is not true at all. There is no such thing. I don’t know where Elias got this story from. To much to say to make corrections on Elias story of Democratic EPRP vs reactnary EPRP.I red the comments from 1–23 If these comments, if rely written from different people, it is rely sad to read the contents of the comments. Except very few comments most comments are TERA NACHEW. How can one is trying to dis when one knows himself that he doesn’t know much about the organization. Some of the comment is trying to comment about EPRP asking apology to the people. Let me ask you this how in the hell EPRP ask apology the people. Please for give me that I die for your freedom & democracy or maybe ask Mengistu You didn’t do nothing If we don’t touch you wouldn’t killed us it’s all our mistakes. These should serve your purpose because it is a perfect apology.Please before you open your mouth go do some research If you rely want to know what happened during the time.EPRP never let his members to be killed deliberately . It was a struggle to bring democracy. Sometimes democracy could not come easily the road to democracy most of the time it is a babie ride. You should learn from Weyane by now.some of you trying to comment about communism while they don’t know anything about communism. One should ask if they red at list one book. Even if you red I bet you wouldn’t understand it because the dynamic of the theory is beyond your capacity of understanding ability.Don’t forget that,EPRP organized all those thousand intellectuals brave Ethiopian followers was under this theory. Maybe EPRP full each of them right?If I were you I would ask myself why & how it happened during that time? Rather than writing blindly awkward comments. That is then this now EPRP is no more a communist party now it transformed to social democrat party. Why the organization changed to social democracy you should go & do intellectual research. Also some of you are trying to preach about democracy.AS I heard over & over again Some political organiztion “say we are for democracy we are not foe war” What is democracy do we rely know what democracy means!! We don’t go far to explain. Democracy means freedom of speech freedom of expression of individuals. In general it is people rights of exercising their freedom .If you rely know about democracy you should encourage what democratic EPRP trying to do. What I red is instead most of you, from the binging naming labeling looking as undemocratic & redicule.You should know too, sometime to bring democracy you will forced to chose unavoidable path a dead end road, war.This don’t make you undemocratic!! Trust me Kinjit by itself can not bring democracy freedom for the country because of the complicity of Ethiopian politics it need an organization who knows Weyane very well. It need a strong tie & network among opposition parties. Dear comment writers If I were you I would respect EPRP why? Because at list never work with prominent enemy of the people in past with Derg now with Weyane. If you think EPRP was after personal benefit or interest or power you think wrong the organization could have done it long time ago. Derg had been very happy if EPRP choose to came & join the fascist in their palace. Weyane would widely open his hand to join EPRP at his palace If EPRP walk to Weyane .If EPRP had had a chance as Kinjit to express itself through the media I strongly believe you wouldn’t dare to comment about EPRP negatively. They said ” If you don’t get it you don’t get it”. To conclude all EPRP members are democrat wither Democratic EPRP or the other part the problem with in EPRP is only are rely these two dictators. When every members see things clearly through time all members join again together with their brothers & sisters.If one is happy just because EPRP split that is wrong we split to make a difference not to abolish the organization.This organization came through many dificaltes & straggle.Thosends,thosends members sacrifice for their beloved country to bring peace, democracy & happiness.I bealive one day time will come to know the truth & understand EPRP. Well for for those people who comment negatively in general about EPRP I will for give them. YEMAYAKUTEN AYAKUMENA BEYE ALEFALEHU!!At last If you rely want to abolish Weyane you should respect & work together.If You think that only one organaztion would take you there MENGEDUN CHERK YARGLACHU!!

  26. Dawit on

    It is refreshing that there are some EPRPs with common sense who can defy the ideaologists from the top, who fave forefeited any sense of credibility.

    We have to wait to see if the Democratic EPRP has any leg and substance to stand on. EPRP’s history has been tarnished by its association with the reactionary forces led by Hailu Shawl, in its medling inside Kingit instead of pushing for reconciliation.

    So many faux pas for EPRP and it is with great hesitation that we welcome the new democratic EPRP.


  27. Tazabi on

    I am glad they are not any more in the jungle. They have killed wise men and women without any remorse three decades ago. What do they want to do now? There will not be any EPRP that will be able to re generate itself. Most probably I would be able to say that EPRP destroyed itself than all its enemies combined.

    EPRP killed his own Politcal Bereau members in numbers while its enemies might had assassinated some great men and women of caliber.

    That created a deep, wide and irrepairable vacuum of power where it allowed MLLT to come to power without any formidable resistance. The whole nation and the new generation had to endure this worst lagacy forever.

    Factionalism and division is worthless and dead end. It is a national saga. They are continueing on their old legacy.
    I am not surperised.


  28. Zewengel on

    For any wise person the division of any Ethiopian organization at this time is not a good news, Instead this was the time to come together and create anti Weyane popular front. personally i was not happy about the division of Kinjit and I am not happy about the defection of some EPRP members now. I know EPRP has survived bigger defection than this one and it will over come this one due on time.For those of you who are working with Weyane this may give you very short of sense of accomplishment. But do not forget your time is approaching fast and you will be history very soon.

  29. Lulit on

    I don’t know about reactionary EPRP because I think it looks like recreational EPRP with (mehayem) grade 9 friends like GERMACHEW TESFAYE for EYASU ALEMAYEHU recreational trip to the US more than three times a year and have done nothing at all in the Ethiopian politics for the last 10 years please Eyasu you are ok in the Ethiopian politics but you are not good for EPRP any more please you have to change and please tell some of your friends like Germachew Tesfaye to finish high school TO HELP YOU MORE ON YOUR RECRATIONAL TRIP IN THE NAME OF EPRP.

  30. darage on

    Please change the name EPREP or go hide like others if you are smart.The rest are up to Ethiopians.

  31. Yichalal on

    November 10, 2007


    I had come, sometime a go to the ‘Yichalal’ terminology as a ‘motto’, on one of the websites and taught it can be one of the good terms to highlight the discussions of these days.

    It entertains optimism, perseverance and hope. I say individuals, especially the ‘elites’, are the power of friction, fraction or success. The majority has power for success. If one really looks into the gathering of the majority behind Kinijit, it shows that the people need the different political organizations work together for liberation. It is supported by the will of the people at most, not by Kinijit’s member’s hard work of mobilization.

    So, I say, the news of Democratic EPRP is good news for the majority of Ethiopians.
    If the leaders of different democratic groups come together with one idea ‘ETHIOPIA’, if they really feel the needs of the people in general, not secondary wishes of theirs only up front, they can agree and lead to make miracles for Ethiopia and Ethiopians. YICHALAL!

    It is good news that EPRP decided to work with other Democratic forces of Ethiopia. I believe this will be a good chance for all Ethiopians to work together for victory. The remaining group will also join the democratic alliance if this openness continues and members, old and new, feel confident due to the outcome of the open discussions. When a farmer breaks ground to plant something, he pulls a portion of it not the whole area at one stroke. When the one upfront pulled set to a fine condition, the rest gets pulled later and Ethiopia will prevail. YICHALAL.

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