Monsieur Meles Zenawi wants to leave office, if that is alright
with his party he chaired for over two decades now.
This he has said himself in different times, forms
and ways. The trouble is, he does not want to
abandon the party should he leave office, and would
like to negotiate with the leadership on how to
relinquish executive power come the national
elections next year.
For all there is to tell, both the leadership and the rank
and file of the ruling party sees his position in
office as indispensable. The leadership appears to
have made up its mind that Meles has to stay in
office at least for one more term. Period!
The Prime Minister is torn apart on the issue, according to
gossip. Personally, he would prefer to resign and
remain the Chief of his party, gossip disclosed.
That is for two reasons: He might feel physically
exhausted after 18 years of on the robe type of life
style - he might be one of the few leaders in the
world with no official record of annual vacations
taken. On the other hand, he wants to reform his
party with all the terrific ideas that have been
popping up in his mind, claims gossip.
He may believe that it is about time for the Revolutionary
Democrats to transform themselves in order to become
a party of the coming era; the world has changed, so
should the EPRDF. There lies the challenge, and thus
his passion to overcome it, according to gossip.
Nevertheless, should he believe that he has spent enough
time in the top executive position, that is also a
view shared by the international community in Addis
he often refers to as development partners. The
trouble is, they can not see an alternative to his
persona in or outside the ruling party, claims
gossip. It is of course obvious many of those in
Addis Abeba's diplomatic circle find it hard to see
the opposition as strong enough to assume an
alternative role, although the only period where
they had been divided over this issue was during the
2005 national elections.
The Europeans flirtation with the idea that the opposition
may come close to takeover government was equally
matched with the ardent view from their American
colleagues that the Revolutionary Democrats were too
strong to concede power and the opposition too
feeble and divided to maintain their hold even if
they were to win. Four years down the road, they
both seem to agree that the continuity of EPRDF rule
for the years to come is inevitable.
The issue they may be pondering about is the likely
successor to Monsieur Meles should he be
determined to leave office. Two names consistently
popup within the international community, gossip
Girma Birru, minister of Trade and Industry and an
Executive Committee member of the EPRDF, is
considered to have the potential, as well as the
calibre to assume a leadership role. He is seen as a
politician that is well read, hardworking and
charismatic. Girma has a political background
beginning from the years of student movement as an
EPRP operative back in the 1970s. But some see as
his drawback a popular perception that he is elitist
and detached from the average person within and
outside of his party.
The darling of the west is, of course, Tewodros Adhanom
(PhD), minister of Health. An executive member of
the ruling party and the lone non-ex-fighter
politburo member of the TPLF, Tewodros is also the
local media's favourite EPRDF leader because of his
humble, down-to-earth attitude and his
accessibility. He is seen by the international
community as having a combination of the leadership
personality and the populist flavour that is seen as
lacking in Girma, gossip says. And he is a new
generation politician with little or no background
of the messy and intolerant political culture of the
Should any of these happen to be - in any likelihood - a
Prime Minister, then the highest echelon of
executive power would be taken, for the first time
in 18 years, by a politician who has not been a
combatant during the insurgency.