“What’s Going On”, Marvin Gaye.
Since 2016 Ethiopian politics has been the politics of chaos, the political disorder has reached its limit, the last 12 months have been a stress-test for Abiy admin and EPRDF coalition. It is difficult to understand what’s happening inside the political elites of EPRDF. I have the belief that EPRDF itself doesn’t seem to be clear on what’s happening to the country and to the front itself. One of the difficulties is loosening democratic centralism inside EPRDF, each front is playing its own game. For the last 27 years the strength of EPRDF has been its democratic centralism, they seem to forget that “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. It’s well known that some kind of secretive group within EPRDF has been emerged however they couldn’t able to disclose themselves baldly. The perplexing thing is we know who those individuals are however we don’t know their programs and vision to the country. Usually what happens is you found out the secret agenda, but you don’t know the proprietor of that hidden agenda, in this case it is the reverse. One thing is certain, the situation is unique, terrifying and the consequence will be far-reaching. We have the so-called team Lema and team Gedu who are orchestrating the assignment, but we don’t know their ideology and strategy that unites those two groups. If they are contemplating to form a new political party, they need to make it clear and let the Ethiopian people know about their programs. If they are orchestrating to weaken one party (TPLF) which looks exactly that then the consequence will be beyond those two groups, it will be the beginning of the end, the “era of the princes” will be repeated all over again.
Winning a battle vs winning a war.
Everyone seems to have a clear idea that there is a big fight within EPRDF, at high level there are two groups inside EPRDF:
1. Those that are interested to win a battle, but they don’t know they could lose the war.
2. Those that are okay to lose the battle but interested to win the war.
So far each of them may have won and lost certain battles but at the end, a group with core value, uncompromising principle and greater strategy will win the war. The different chess moves that we see inside EPRDF is very difficult to understand. Naturally populist individuals are more interested to win battles, they are more interested to appease their supporters by winning short-sells however that may lead them to lose the overarching goal.
The uniting factor of team Lema and team Gedu is common enemy, TPLF. They don’t share core value and principle that unites both. Strategically ODP needs TPLF to succeed, nonetheless tactically they are focusing to beat TPLF. Thus, even though losing the war is at stake, team Lema and team Gedu will focus on winning battles. On the contrary TPLF may seem losing the battle however it’s more likely than not they will win the war. They say, “
TPLF’s retreat from federal government reminds me the “1989 Shire battle against Derg”. In 1988 Tigray was freed from Derg, however TPLF strategically withdraw most of Tigray towns and let Derg control it. Derg controlled most of Tigray towns without a single bullet. Derg assumed TPLF was done, game over and declared TPLF can’t recover from it. In July 1988 the 604 th core entered Shire with no significant resistance. Seven months later what happened to Derg Red Army is left for historians and history books. Two years and three months later taking the battle of Shire as turning point, TPLF controlled Addis Ababa. The rest is history.