Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said his government is in the process of dissolving all affiliate political parties formed along ethnic lines to substitute them by a national party that, “would represent all peoples across the nation.”
The ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) is a coalition of four political parties formed along ethnic lines namely, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the Amhara Democratic Party (ADP), the Oromo Democratic Party (ODP) and Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM) and five other allied political parties in charge of governing different regional states.
Late last year, Abiy proposed a presidential system to replace the existing parliamentary system which has been in place for 27 years. “With the presidential system any Ethiopian living in any corner of the country can directly be voted as a president of the country,” he said.
“After some time there will not be ESPDP, ANDP, BGPDUF, ADP and ODP parties” the premier said referring to member parties of the ruling EPRDF but did not mention whether his government had agreed with all parties concerned regarding their dissolution.
According to the premier, under the new “Ethiopian Party” all Ethiopians will be represented, their voices will be heard and any person from any corner could become the president of the country. “We are moving fast to form an Ethiopian party.”
The premier was speaking while he held discussion with over 3,000 community members, religious leaders, and elders from Harari, Gambella, Beninshangul Gumuz, Afar and Somali regional states on Sunday February 24th at his office in Addis Ababa.
The Premier also highlighted, “our age old structural problems cannot be changed overnight. It requires time to build institutional capacity that can carry the reforms by the government.”
The premier’s discussion followed a spate of fresh violence in the central and western Gonder zone of Amhara Regional State, where over 45000 people were displaced. Thousands of others also became homeless in the Legetafo Legedadi city administration, located in the Oromia Regional State Special Zone surrounding Addis Ababa, after the governing Oromia regional administration had demolished more than 3000 houses, claiming they were “illegally built” houses.
“Creating the Ethiopia we want requires everyone’s effort to engage actively and proactively in the democratisation process, said Mr Abiy.
The Premier stressed the need to move past age-old grievance narratives, develop a forward looking perspective and manifest the philosophy of MEDEMER (literally, synergy) to sustain the judicial, political, economic and institutional reforms undertaken over the past few months.
He further stressed the importance of understanding that the rule of law cannot be achieved by the barrel of a gun but through people who understand the value of peace and believe in themselves as the custodians of peace and the rule of law.
He further said reforms that are being undertaken to revitalise the economy will start addressing unemployment concerns through the government’s priority of increasing irrigation projects.