Azeb Mesfin and EPRDF’s eighth congress – Eskinder Nega,Addis Ababa

October 1st, 2010 Print Print Email Email

Pronouncing himself a “TPLF/EPRDF supporter”, Zegye (last name not given), could not help exploding over the internet: “First, I would like to declare that I was a strong supporter of the TPLF/EPRDF. If I were Meles, I would have blocked her (Azeb Mesfin, Meles’ wife) ascendance to such high power (the Executive Committee of the TPLF) for the simple reason that it damages his image.” Another supporter was harsher: “ Is Azeb competent( much has been said about her behavior which is almost all negative and less reassuring) or is she there owing to her connection, as wife of PM Meles Zenawi?”

Few days after such rare utterances of dissent were daringly posted on pro-EPRDF websites, it was time for the eighth congress of the EPRDF; this time scheduled to be held in long booming Nazreth(when has Nazreth not been booming?), a hundred kilometers to the east of Addis Ababa.

The night before the opening of the congress, as one thousand and six hundred delegates were wined and dined at a lavish dinner hosted by the OPDO, Azeb’s ascendancy dominated whispered conversations between friends. The judgment: A major public relations disaster for the EPRDF. Luckily, many mused, the absence of an “aggressive press” has meant that it’s less than an open scandal.

But Azeb’s divisive ascendancy is more than mere public relations debacle for the EPRDF. At issue is whether opportunism, the debilitating culture that has always left three of EPRDF’s four constituent members in a permanent state of paralysis—a major factor for the enduring stability of the EPRDF— has gone mainstream in the TPLF, too—thus threatening the viability of the EPRDF in the cut-throat competition between Ethiopia’s political actors.

In a major reshuffle few weeks ago, the since the early 2000s , when the TPLF lost most of its veteran leaders, including its deputy, Tewlde Welde-Mairiam, the Executive Committee (EC), the party’s highest body, dropped one of its most trendy and experienced leaders, Arkebe Ekubay. With the departure of Seyoum Mesfin and Abay Tsehaye as well, presumably at their request ( Abay’s tenure at the top since the early 2000s has openly relied on Meles’ goodwill rather than his popularity; the same is true of most of the others, but much less blatantly), Meles has become the last of the veteran leadership(above CC during the insurgency) still in the Executive Committee.

The three new members of TPLF’s EC—in place of Seyoum, Abay and Arkebe—are Azeb Mesfin, voted in unanimously (sigh!); Beyene Mikru, a political non-entity; and Debre-Tsion Gebre-Mikael, a mysterious—and controversial—veteran of Ethiopia’s KGB(secret police.) The person widely expected to ascend to the Executive Committee, Getachew Belay, who made his name as a competent Minister of Revenues in Meles’ cabinet, was surprisingly sidelined. Whisked from his position as Minister and tasked with what many say is almost impossible, salvaging the troubled EFFORT, the unofficial—and haphazardly audited—business empire of the TPLF, Getachew’s relegation to toil in obscurity now seems more like an effort to ebb his rising popularity than a concern for EFFORT.

Abay Woldu, who replaced Seyoum Mesfin as Meles Zenawi’s deputy in the TPLF, is the presumed heir of Meles in the party; that is, if Meles keeps his word and resigns from his position in 2015.(But only if his party agrees to let him go—wink! wink! “I will not break with the party in which I have invested a lifetime,” he has said hotly.)

Abay Woldu is one of the middle-rankers of the insurgency who were catapulted to prominence after the expulsion of Seye Abraha et al from the party, and now constitute the majority in the EC. Their track record in Tigray, where they have dominated the regional government for the past decade under the leadership of Tsegaye Berhe, is at best mediocre. Tigary’s trend setting days had quitely come to an end after the dissolution of Gebru Asrat’s administration. ( Addis Ababa, for the duration of Arkebe Ekubay’s mayoralty, had briefly assumed that position. There is no trendsetting region now. Everything radiates from Meles.) Whether Abay Woldu et al will have the acumen to uphold the dominance of the TPLF is now a hotly disputed subject—mostly because almost no one believes that they owe their positions to merit.

This does not mean that the TPLF EC is wholly devoid of competent people. The Health Minister, Tewedros Adhanom, is broadly credited with sharp technocratic skills and a pleasant personality. But he is also instinctively apolitical, representing the genre that make up most of TPLF’s supporters—the silent (vast) majority that are enamored more by the spectacular successes of the party rather than
the power of its message.

Overall though, the sweeping neglect of the broad reservoir of really qualified people that the TPLF has at its disposal is breathtaking. And nothing embodies the resultant malaise—which breeds opportunism—more than the ascendancy of Azeb to the EC. While Azeb’s determination to break free from the anachronistic traditional Ethiopian first- lady role is no doubt commendable (and admirable), her bubbling enthusiasm also betrays a palpable lack of intellectual complexity. Her evident obliviousness to the damage she is causing her husband damns her even more in the eyes of her numerous critics—particularly those who admire him. And one can not help but wonder whether their relationship will eventually suffer under the pressure. (I hope not. And I mean it.) The awkwardness of the new setup was evident at the congress, where Azeb, in breach of protocol for a new member of the EC, but in deference to her status as a spouse, sat next to Meles; a seat usually reserved for more senior members of the EC.

Azeb now has multiple responsibilities as head of the Social Affairs Committee in Parliament; as EC member of both the TPLF and the EPRDF; and as the most-feared board member of EFFORT. However, there is nothing in her intellectual and job-related background to indicate that she is qualified and prepared to undertake these tasks. Meles most probably knows this. But maybe he needs time to realize that he is clearly failing in the delicate act of balancing his duties as a party leader and a supportive progressive husband.

In the meantime, we are at least treated to a spectacle akin to the best soap that TV could offer. Enjoy!

  1. እንግዳ
    | #1

    የወያኔ የስልጣን ሹም ሽር ለምን ይሄን ያህል እንዳስጨነቀን አይገባኝም:: የትግራይ ህዝብ እንደሆነ የሚደግፈው ህወሀት የሚባለውን ድርጅት ነው:: አርከበ ወጣ ወይም ወረደ: አዜብ ወጣች: ስዩም ተሻረ: ግድ የላቸውም: ትግሪኛ ተናጋሪ የዋናው ሹፌር ወንበር ላይ እስከተቀመጠ ድረስ:: ለትግሬዎች ዋናው ቁምነገር የበላይነታቸውን የሚነግራቸውና: የኢትዮጵያ ወርቅ ህዝብ መሆናቸውን የሚያሳዩበት የፊት መቀመጫ ላይ መፈናጠጥ ብቻ ነው:: የሚደሰኮረው በሔር በሔረሰቦች ፖለቲካ: ልማታዊ መንግስትና የመሳሰለው ለአብዛኛው የትግራይ ህዝብ አይገባውምም ቦታም አይሰጡትም:: ባለፉት ዓመታት ሆን ተብሎ ሲደረጉ በነበሩ ከተቀረው ኢትዮጵያዊ ወገናቸው የመለየትና የማጋጨት ስራን ወያኔ በብቃት አካሂዶታል:: ስለዚህ ከማናቸውም የህብረተሰብ ክፍል በባሰ ሁኔታ የትግራይ ህዝብ ህወሀት የሚያደርገውን ውሳኔ ከመቀበል ውጪ ምንም ማድረግ አይችልም:: በተዘዋዋሪ ሁሉም ነገር በመለስ ቁጥጥር ስር ሆኗል:: የአርከበም ጉዳይ ገና አልታወቀም:: ምናልባት በሚነስትርነት ማዕረግ የተሻለ ቦታም ሊያገኝ ይችላል:: በመጽሐፍ ቅዱስ ላይ እንደተጻፈው: ኤሳው በኩርናውን ለያዕቆብ አሳልፎ እንደሰጠው: የትግራይ ህዝብም ሁሉን ነገር አሳልፎ ሰጥቷል:: በኢትዮጵያ ፖለቲካ ላይ እንደ ህዝብ የሚኖራቸው ተፅዕኖ በነመለስ ፍቃድ ስር ሆኗል:: ስለዚህ የትግራይ ህዝብ ሁሉን ነገር ከመመልከትና እነ መለስ የወሰኑለትን ከመቀበል ውጪ በኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ የሚያደርገው ምንም ዓይነት ተፅዕኖ አይኖርም:: በሚያሳዝን ሁኔታ መሳሪያውን ደርግ ላይ ማንሳት የቻለው ህዝብ ዛሬ ተኳላሽቷል::ምናልባትም መጠየቅ ያለብን እውነት የትግራይ ህዝብ በደርግ ላይ ያመጸው ለፍትህ: ለእኩልነትና ለዲሞክራሲ ነው???

  2. Anonymous
    | #2

    what ever we say Meles is sick and out of his mind he should vist a doctor.Even queens never held such offical postions(they might have influance on their king hasband)in 21st century a man who claim to be democrat (which he is not) working behind to bring his wife to EC either he is sick or his heart has dared to underestmate the Ethiopian people.If this is the case as rumered a preparation to loot and colaps the country and run there is no place they can run away ethiopian have dictators before and non of tplf mafias will make it.Mark my word…

  3. አብዲ
    | #3


  4. aha!
    | #4

    Ethiopia Tikdem beetzaba yene/ astesab yemiat yiwdem. The major focus should be on Unity, Territorial Intgrity, Sovereignity of Ethiopia and Ethiopia and Ethiopians with liberal and/or social democracy/ideology, a contrasting ideology to to EPRDF and its mirror images. Bene Aebina bene meles were atatadenizun, they are are not our major concerns personally and collectively for the silent majority of Ethiopians , it is the secessionist and Ethinic politics they created and the exploitation and political and economic stranglehold of Ethiopia and the silent majority of Ethiopians by TPLF and TPLF and TPLF affiliated enterprises and the absence of private ownership of rural and urban properties by Ethiopians to any part of ethiopia, outside TPLF cadres and foreign investors. That the Ethiopia I envision. Any esay or protest that does not fit into that model is just a noise, and does not help us reach our common goals and destiny of on country, one language, one flag, etc bound with mosaic with multi culture and languages similar to a settings in a forest ecosystem or an organic enty of an individual plant, animal or human. Anything out of that context is bizzare and dysfunctional and unrealistic or unatural/man made.

  5. Anonymous
    | #5

    Zegye believes that Azeb is damaging Melese’s image. What a statement! Typical TPLF. I wonder what good images of Meles Zegye is talking about? Zegye, Azeb is one of many of your crooked corrupted members of TPLF — why blame only Azeb for all ill deeds of so many? One of the worst dictators of the world Meles has committed enough crimes on his own that he is proud of outside the contribution of his wicked wife Azeb. Zegye you are not bothered by: the power and Human Rights abuse of TPLF from controlling the whole Ethiopian government to locking up innocent people, torturing, killing, looting, the worst deal of land deals in Ethiopia. Zegye, as one of the biggest supporters of the Hitler of Ethiopia, you have no credibility. Azeb and the rest of all TPLF members have the blood of hundreds of thousands of innocent Ethiopians on their hands.

  6. ጎርፉ
    | #6

    የማገባኝ ነገር ቢኖር የነዚህ የጠረ ህዝብ መሪዎች ሚስቶቻቸው በበኩላቸው እንደባሎቻቸው ስልጣን ላይ ለመውጣት የሚቕምጡት መለስ አዲስ ቤተመንግስት እንደገባ ከመንግስቱ ምንያል እሱ የተለየ እንደሆን የሚያሳይ ቭኢድዮ አውጥቶ ነበር.በቭኢዲዮው ዉስጥ 1)መንግስቱን ሲያናንቅ “ከአሁን ቡዋል በውታደር ትካስሃ ላይ ምናምንቴ ቅርቆሮ እይለጠፈ ሻምበል, ኮረኔል ወዝተ የሚባል ነገር በወያነ ወታደር ወስጥ አይኖርም” አንድ አመት አልቆየም ዪህን ማንበብ መጻፍ የማዪችል ተጋዳላዪት ትከሻው ላይ ያን አዪነት ቆርቆሮ ትከጻው ላይ እያለጥፈ ወደጦር ሜዳ ማገደው. 2) መንግስቱ ያነን የዎርከር ፓርቲ ስያቕቁም መገመሪያ ተናጋሪ የንበርው የሻቢያ ሰርጎ ገብ መንግስቱ ዪህ ነው በማዪባል ውዳሴ ከንቱ ሲያወርድለት መግስቱ እውነት መስሎት ከፊቱ ላይ የሚነበው ደስታ ዪህ ነው አዪባልም ነበር–መለስ ዪህን ቭኢዲዮ ስያሰራጭ እኔ ዉዳሴ አልፈልግም ነበር አገላልጡ ትንሽ ቆይቶ ውዳሴ ከንቱ በወደሉ እሱም እንደሚወድ በሁለት በሺተኛ የኮሎምቢያ ዩነቨርሲትይ ፕሮፌሰሮች አስመስከረ. ቆራጡ መሪ አርቆ አስተዋይ አፍሪካ አዪታው የማታዉቀኡ አዪነት መሪ ሊቁ መሪ እያሉ ከልመና ከሚያገኛት ሽርፍራፊ እየተቀበሉ መውድሱን ተያያዝት መለስም ከኔ በላይ ላሳር አለ 3) የምእንግስቱ ሚስት የሴቶች ንጣ አዉጭ የሰቶች አለማቀፍ መሪ እየተብለች ለፎቶግራፉዋ ዬትዮጵያ ህዝብ እንዲሰግድ ተደረግ ምንም እኹዋን በባልኡዋ ስትደበደብ ብትቆይም አቶ መንግስቱም በጎን ሌላ ሴቶች ነበሩት አሁን ደግሞ የመለስ ሚስት የeffort ሊቀመንበር የፖሊት በሮ አባል ያዲ ያዳ በሂደታቸ በታሪክ ፊት መለስንም መንግስቱ አንድ የሚረጋቸው ብዙ ነገሮች ናቸው መለስ የዶግማቶ ኢምፔርያሊስት አቀንቃኝ ሲሆን መንግስቶ ደግሞ አ ሶሺያል ኢምፐርያሊስት ነበር ሁለቱም ኮምንዪዝምን ሺፋን አድርገው የሚጉዋዙ ብላሾች ናችው በንግግርም አንድ ናቸው መንግስቱ-እኔ ለኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ አጥንቴ bla bla መለስ–እኔ እናንተ ወርቅ ከሆናችሁ የትግራይ ህዝብ bla bla

  7. Zinabua
    | #7

    Azeb the richest woman in africa is loved and admired by all women in Ethiopia. She single handedly convinced all women to vote for her husband Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s party. Basically she leads all Ethiopian women who are more than half the population of Ethiopia. All women including Judge Birtukan Midekssa respect and follow Azeb Mesfin. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is lucky to have her on his side. She is also the leader of Organiztion Of African First Ladies (OALFA).

  8. wolkait
    | #8

    Please don’t lie, the story is based on fabricated ideas. What do you benefit from a lie?

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