By Amin Dahiry – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Monday, December 2, 2019.
Abiy Ahmed, Nobel Peace Prize Winner, an energetic and young premier for Ethiopia, who has brought political space for all Ethiopians and reconciled with Eritrea a long-time foe, is now facing his first political dead in his newly launched EPP “Ethiopian Prosperity Party”.
Lema Megersa, Defense Minister of Ethiopia, and former president of the Oromia region, a co-ethnic leader hailing the same Oromo ethnic group, was the closest ally and the right-hand man to Abiye Ahmed.
He was thought to be behind the Abiy’s victory to come to power, but however, he has now declared to opposing the Abiy’s newly launched party to merge the old ruling coalition of EPRDF into a new unified party.
Defense Minister Lemma Megersa said he disagrees with the rushed merger of political parties, according to an interview with the Voice of America. Lemma is the deputy chairman of Abiy’s Oromo Democratic Party.
Lemma said he also opposes Abiy’s new philosophy to unite the country, called “Medemer,” directly translated as “to add or synergize.” But Dr. Abiye has vowed general election would be democratic.
General elections are expected in May 2020, and the reaction from Defense Minister, political pundits say raises more challenges to the success of a new unity party.
pundits still hold that although the merger has the support of all coalition members, the opposition from Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which was a former leading member is a major worry. The ruling coalition has been in power for 30 years in Africa’s second-most populous country.