After their partly dramatic sojourns in North America, many of the
EPRDFites have retreated to the four regional towns
and Addis Abeba for training and a return to the
halls of sermons, gossip learned. The holy book is
of course the credo of a democratic developmental
state, à la carte Southeast Asia, and as authored by
the chief priest.
The long-term objective of this series of longwinded trainings is the
fate of the ruling party a decade or more from now,
according to gossip. It is a very divisive issue of
transforming the party machinery into a united
party, from its current standing of a coalition of
four, disclosed gossip.
It is divisive because there are formidable forces within the
Revolutionary Democratic coalition who see their
respective interests put on the line. These include,
in particular, the old hands from the TPLF, and
joined by those from the OPDO, claimed gossip.
Even among those who agree that the EPRDF has to become a single party,
there is a good deal of difference in the timeframe
in which this can be achieved. Some senior leaders
see it happening as soon as four or six years, while
others of similar stature in the party envision a
little longer time, from eight to 10 years.
Only time will tell to what extent they will succeed in this. Many of
the leaders who camped out at these training
facilities declared “mission accomplished” after
their recent voyages to North America, a trip
designed to dazzle a formidable challenge to their
rule, coming from the Diaspora, claimed gossip.
Ironically, success is a very illusive concept, and depends from where
it is viewed. If they were keen to preach the gospel
of transformation to the Diaspora, the opponents
there were also found to have transformed their line
of attack, as was evident in Washington DC, claimed
gossip. Ironically, the state TV echoed the same
declaration of victory against what Girma Birru et
al felt to be a disruptive force.
If success is to be measured by the role and contribution that returnee
Ethiopians were hoped to make in the private sector,
then their appearance had little to show, claimed
gossip. The reason and the manner in which these
people were selected have never been clear, even to
the 12 who were part of the delegation, gossip
Many only learned what they were in for a few days before they were
dispatched during a meeting with Brehane G. Kirstos,
an old hand on the foreign affairs front and a state
minister of Foreign Affairs.
Known to be candid and forthright, he told the dozens, comprising
people such as but not limited to Zemedeneh Negatu,
Daniel Gad, Brehane Assefa, Yousuf Rejja, Tadewos
Belete, Yoadan Tilahun, and Addis Alemayehu (the
businessman behind Afro FM), to tell their Diaspora
folks the good, the bad, and the ugly about life
under the Revolutionary Democrats, disclosed gossip.
In exchange for what was supposed to be an honest testimony of their
experiences in doing business in today’s Ethiopia,
each were provided with a free round-trip ticket
worth at least 1,500 dollars and an allowance of
3,000 dollars. The total comes close to a one
million Birr investment made in these people,
Oddly enough, the ministry has had little to show for this investment,
which gossip learned was financed by a donor
organisation. Many of the organisers in North
America were not prepared to accommodate them in
formal meetings; some found out the inclusion of the
“returnees” only when they appeared at the events,
Only three of the 12 had the opportunity to speak (in Washington DC,
Boston, and Atlanta); the majority returned without
offering what they had in mind, according to gossip.
The verdict in the gossip corridors was that this was not all bad, and
gave some quite a sense of relief, in a way!