By Jawar Mohammed
September 26, 2012 (Gulele Post) – The OPDO central committee that met this past week failed to elect a replacement for its ailing party chairman and president of Oromia, Alemayehu Atomsa. It is the second time that such an attempt to elect a new leader has been adjourned without success. During the first round that took place mid-August in Adama, the TPLF attempted to impose Aster Mamo. But she failed to garner even one third of the vote. The boiling confrontation was halted when Meles’ death was announced.
Still, the TPLF brought Mamo to sit in the EPRDF executive committee meeting with the aim of boosting her stature, even though she is not one of the nine that represent the OPDO in the 36 member EPRDF executive committee. Her and Workneh Gebeyehu’s ( Federal police commissioner) presence at that meeting without been officially delegated by OPDO , was seen as a direct affront to the leadership for their resistance two weeks earlier. The TPLF has often masterminded who could represent the OPDO in the coalition, but never has directly promoted someone to the EPRDF CC without at least symbolic and official endorsement by the parent party. Therefore, this blatant act was seen as deeply offensive, even by those in the OPDO who held reconciliatory tone towards the TPLF during the previous meeting in Adama.
The attack on the OPDO was intensified during the runup to the election to fill the seats vacated by Meles. Bereket Simon’s office purposely spread rumors alleging that the OPDO had been withholding Hailemariam’s appointment, while the truth was that the OPDO raised no objection because they were quite certain that appointment of Hailemariam Desalegn and Demeke Mekonnen was a done deal, as it has been a plan in place since 2010. Moreover, the TPLF men began encouraging selected individuals, particularly Kuma, to compete against Hailemariam – which is contrary to the OPDO’s collective decision to stay out. Having convinced members of the rest of the coalition to vote for the two, the TPLF was setting up the OPDO for sure defeat and the humiliation of its key leaders (the EPRDF CC is made up of 180 members, therefore even had all of the OPDO voted in favour of their candidate and won over some sympathizers from other parties, they would still have been outvoted).
Nevertheless, after Kuma was forced to withdraw due to intense protest by the OPDO, Azeb Mesfin , Meles’ widow, suddenly nominated Sufian Ahmed, who had no clue what was happening. Although Bereket Simon refrained from publicly naming the third candidate that lost to Hailemariam and Demeke, he immediately ‘leaked’ it to his friends, who announced to the world that Sufian was the loser with a mere five votes out of 180.
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