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It appears as though there was hardly a time in the past when Addis Abeba was deserted of its officialdom, as was the case this past week, gossip observed.

What the Revolutionary Democrats have been plotting for almost over a year to turn the tide of public opinion in their favour has finally come to be tested, disclosed gossip. Their change in tactics from playing defensive in the spin war game to going on the offence has been laid bare, with the who-is-who in their rank and file having sojourned mainly to the United States (US), Canada, the United Kingdom (UK), and Germany.

They are ready to dazzle the Diaspora; in return they want to mobilise huge amounts of money to finance public infrastructure. They also want to see the vocal members of the Diaspora (they view them as a minority) be neutralised after winning the minds and hearts of what they claim is the silent majority, claimed gossip.

The EPRDFites want to overwhelm those in the Diaspora with at least 14 such meetings taking place yesterday and today, all at the same time. Yet, all these meetings are by invitation only, in an apparent design to keep militant opponents at bay, gossip discovered.

However, what is the point of travelling as far as the land of the free simply to meet converts and true believers?

Whether supporters or critics, the EPRDFites will have to face the music in places where some are powerfully resistant,

Hailemariam Desalegn, deputy chairman of the EPRDF, and Kassa Teklebrehan will have their debate at Howard University in Washington DC. It is thought to be one of the toughest places due to those offering resilient opposition to the rules of the Revolutionary Democrats that is concentrated in the city, a proportion higher than any other place in North America, gossip projected.

Arkebe Oqubay was in California while the darling of the West, Tewodros Adhanom (PhD), may have arrived in Columbus, Ohio, together with Melaku Fenta. Teklewold Atnafu would be in New York. Both places are not considered threatening to these officials, due to the relatively smaller number of Ethiopians residing there, according to gossip. Many of them do not appear politically embattled.

The possible new thing about these visits is not the size of the delegation or the manner in which the meetings would take place. This time around, the EPRDFites are accompanied by members of the business community, particularly those who have moved back to Ethiopia over the past decade and are believed to have succeeded in their respective venutres, gossip disclosed.

Take Tadewos Getachew, who owns property on Africa Avenue and luxury resorts in Bishoftu (Nazarath) and Bahir Dar; or Yosuf Rejja, the person behind Talent Search; as well as Brehane Assefa, a financial guru with an advisory role to Neway Gebreab, chief economic advisor to the Prime Minister; not to mention Yoadan Tilahun behind Flawless Events.

These returnees were invited by Mebrat Beyene, director of Diaspora at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), to participate in these meetings to share their experiences of settling back in Ethiopia with members of the Diaspora, gossip claimed.

How exactly these returnees were selected is a wild guess being contemplated in the gossip corridors of town.




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