It is a season of political alignments and adjustments in Ethiopia ahead of elections slated for 2020. In the capital Addis Ababa on Friday, ten opposition parties from across the country also announced a plan to work together.
The ten include two former rebel groups that returned from exile in Eritrea taking advantage of the opened political space in the aftermath of the coming into office of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
Although details of the said agreement remains sketchy, the parties listed as signatories were: Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) – the two returnee rebel groups.
Others were: Afar Peoples Liberation Party (APLP), Sidama Peoples Liberation Mov’t (SPLM), Agew National Council (ANC). Kafa Green Party (KGP),Benishangul Gumuz Peoples, Liberation Mov’t (BPLM), Kimant Democratic Party (KDP), Gambella Peoples Liberation Mov’t (GPLM) & Mocha Democratic Party.
The ruling coalition recently metamorphosed into the Prosperity Party with eight parties led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The new national party replaces the disbanded Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front, EPRDF.
The EPRDF’s dissolution was opposed by a key member, the Tigray Peoples Liberation Movement, TPLF, who refused to join what they called an ‘illegal’ merger.
PM Abiy’s party is also rumoured to be split on the new party, proof of that came recently in the open opposition to the Prosperity Party issue by Defence Minister and Abiy’s right hand man Lemma Megerssa.