Three former member parties of Ethiopia’s ruling coalition, EPRDF, and five agar (“support’) parties, as they used to be called during the entire lifetime of the coalition which sort of officially ended on Sunday, December 1, 2019, have inked their signature in the capital Addis Ababa officially signaling that time for Prosperity Party is ushering.
Prime minister Abiy Ahmed updated his fans on social media about what is considered to be a milestone moment in Ethiopian politics in three languages.
He wrote, “A momentous signing occasion marking the unification of our Party. The unification process will continue maintaining legality and due process.”
According to a report by state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporation (FBC), Chairpersons of the parties who approved the merger to form the Prosperity Party (PP) have attended the signing ceremony.
As well, senior government officials including Demeke Mekonnen, who is Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister, and Muferiat Kamil, minister for the Ministry of Peace – one of the most powerful institutions in the country next to the office of the prime minister, have attended the meeting.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed made a speech during the ceremony. He said that Prosperity Party holds two twin agenda items; development and democracy. “It is a reliable bridge that is based on truth and knowledge to transit Ethiopia [ to prosperity]”
He also mentioned that the party has prepared program and party regulation, which is yet to be made public, and a 10 years plan to usher “Ethiopia to prosperity.”
The umbrella coalition organization of Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), was composed of four major ethnic-based (except SEPDM) political organizations and five other support organizations. The latter groups were marginalized, by design and with party regulations, did not have the power to decide on national matters or to hold the highest office in the country. The new party, Prosperity Party, is organized in a way to end what many members call, rightly, injustice in that regard.
Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a party that engineered and dominated the now phased out coalition, declined to join the new party on alleged grounds that it was formed in a way that violates the political and legal procedures. It said “what happened in the name of a merger is the formation of a new party,” and argued that EPRDF leadership does not have the mandate to abandon “revolutionary democracy.”
Individuals figures outside of TPLF have also opposed the merger. Ethiopia’s Defense Minister, Lemma Megersa, who was also a key ally and former boss of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, stated his opposition to the formation of a singer merged party out of the EPRDF coalition in an interview with VOA Afan Oromo language saying that a) he does not believe in it which seems to imply that he prefers the ethnic-based arrangement b) it’s not timely.
Moments from the signing occasion marking the unification of EPRDF into Prosperity Party in the presence of PM @AbiyAhmedAli.
— Office of the Prime Minister – Ethiopia (@PMEthiopia) December 1, 2019
Political organizations that formed the Prosperity Party are :
- Afar National Democratic Party (ANDP)
- Benishangul-Gumuz Democratic Party (BDP)
- Oromo Democratic Party (ODP)
- Amhara Democratic Party (ADP)
- Southern Ethiopian Peoples’ Democratic Movement (SEPDM)
- Somali Democratic Party
- Gambela Peoples Democratic Movement (GPDM)
- Harari National League (HNL)