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Will Abiy’s ‘Medemer’ End Ethnic Separatism in Ethiopia?

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) accused the ruling coalition of working on transforming the coalition into a single united party, and it is making the project appear as if it is intended to demolish the federal form of government, and also a move to protect the powers of those who are currently leading the coalition.

TPLF Leaders. Photography: Madote

Experts say some TPLF members are hypocritical; since power is the ultimate goal, this rhetoric is used in order to resonate with the people. Once they have successfully gained their objectives, Tigray will likely be back to square one.

All relevant discourse and rhetoric focused on Tigray’s isolation, secession, and Tigray-Eritrea relations will probably cease once political power has been achieved.

But as Tigrayans TPLF makes up around 6% of the population, they would lose a lot of influence in the new merged party. Consequently, TPLF is toiling to mobilize what it calls “Federalist Forces” to defend the Federal system and the constitution.

People in Hawassa, Ethiopia, celebrate the results of a referendum on a new federal region for the country’s ethnic Sidama area on Nov. 23. Photography: MICHAEL TEWELDE/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Although there is growing, demands of numerous Ethiopian ethnic groups for their own statehood. Sidama region and similar petitions from a number of other ethnic groups suggest that there is a demand for a greater devolution of power.

Some regional parties have doubts that becoming a single party might undermine the rights of minority nations, nationalities, and peoples of Ethiopia, including their right to exercise self-administration. Forming a national party would reject article 39 of the constitution, which states the right to self-administration up to secession.

Medemer: Abiy’s Synergetic unity

EPRDF Convention in 2018. Photography: The Reporter Ethiopia


The move to form dominant national parties aims to change that landscape. However, it remains to be seen whether the new successor party to EPRDF will be a truly citizen-based party or one dominated by a certain ethnic group.

However, many Ethiopians welcome the move away from the prevailing ethnic-based political system, which they blame for Ethiopia’s ills, including ethnic clashes and border disputes that are also becoming religious conflicts at times.


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