EPRDF to become a unitary party

By Elias Kifle

Ethiopia’s ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), has been undergoing major overhaul after its former chairman Meles Zenawi died in July. For the first time in the coalition’s 23-year-old existence, the top leadership went from the Tigrean People Liberation Front (TPLF) to a junior member organization, the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDF) led by Hailemariam Desalegn. The second top position also went to a non-TPLF member, ANDM’s Demeke Mekonnen. This major transformation is the unintended consequence of Meles Zenawi’s consolidation of personal power at the expense of TPLF.

There could be even more transformation if a groups of members led by ANDM’s Bereket Simon have their way. After successfully marginalizing the TPLF and promoting Hailemariam to the top position, Bereket & Co. are now systematically building support for the idea of transforming EPRDF from a coalition of four parties into a unitary party, in the model of the Chinese Community Party, according to Ethiopian Review sources close to EPRDF.

Bereket and most EPRDF senior leaders, including Hailemariam, have made a determination to keep Ethiopia a one-party state, the sources say. Again, their role model is China. In the absence of a serious opposition, it seem for now nothing will be able to stop them.