EPRDF may allow non party members to participate in government

Prime Ministe Hailemariam Dessalegn

The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) the ruling coalition may have new policy strategies and changes in the bureaucratic arena after the beginning of the new reform that the party says will take place in the coming Ethiopian New Year.

The chairman of the EPRDF, who has been in power since the downfall of the Derg regime, and head of the government, Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn gave a press conference to the public media early in the week and confirmed reforms will take place when the House of Peoples’ Representatives resumed its session.

During his address the PM said that this will be the  second reform after the 2001 reform that followed the TPLF split.

In the new reform the party may invite non party members in the leadership arena according to the PM.

He said that the party’s former culture will be continued in the new leadership arrangement from the coming October, which is the beginning of the parliament’s second year session.

“For the sake of the public interest non party members that shall lead the government system and policy will be included in the government leadership,” the PM said.

It will be a new change for the EPRDF culture in the party system that preferred to assign EPRDF and allied ethnic based party members from the ground to top level of the government bureaucratic positions, according to experts.

The bureaucratic arena has been dominated by the party members mainly since the 2005 election when the party expanded its members aggressively.

Since conflicts erupted in Amhara Region recently and Oromia regional states in the past few months, the leadership of the ruling party has been busy evaluating its past performance which is now being followed by a tabled new reform strategy.

Experts stated that one of the reasons for the lack of good governance is the capacity of the leadership in the governmental system.

On different occasions the government accepted that a lack of good governance and corruption are the latest problems in the system that needs to be tackled.

According to the PM it will be a major area that the government will give attention to in the coming year.

The conflict has become serious in Amhara in the recent days and has contributed to death and damage in properties.

Even though he did not point his finger, he accused external forces who do not want to see Ethiopia take advantage of its natural resources and are trying to worsen and spread out the violence by pumping a huge amount of money into the country.

“The government will do all it can to tackle these challenges, including internal and external problems,” he said.

Hailemariam said that the government has the responsibility to ensure the rule of law and full capacity. He disclosed that he ordered the National defence Forces to control the instability as per the law.

The current issue has grabbed the attention of other states and organizations. The government has been briefing the diplomatic community regularly in the past few months about the current situation in the country.

The country’s strong ally the USA also stated its concern about the latest issue.

The outgoing US Ambassador to Ethiopia, Patrica Haslach, in her farewell remark pointed out the latest article of Tom Malinowski, the US Assistant Secretary for Human Rights, who said that because of the friendship and common interests our two nations share, the US has a stake in Ethiopia’s prosperity, stability and success. “When Ethiopia does well, it is able to inspire and help others. On the other hand, a protracted crisis in Ethiopia would undermine the goals that both nations are trying to achieve together,” he said in an article posted on different media outlets and the embassy’s Facebook page. “I want you to know that our message is clear:  anyone who wants Ethiopia to develop and to succeed must understand that Ethiopia will be strongest when all voices are heard and the government is accountable to all. Unlawful detention and abuse must end,” she said.

Other rights groups have amplified their comments about the issue. On Thursday September 2, in a rare move, the African Union (AU) Commission chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma spoke about the situation.

She said the socio-political situation in Ethiopia has led to a number of reported deaths, temporary disruptions of public and private businesses, as well as occasional interruption of telecommunication services. Dr Dlamini Zuma expresses her condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives, and also wished a speedy recovery to the injured.