Lemma Megersa breaks silence

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In what seems to be a big upset to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his administration, his closest ally and friend, Lemma Megerssa, who is currently the Minister of Defense and deputy chairman of the Oromo Democratic Party (ODP), has openly expressed his difference with the PM’s ‘philosophy’ known as medemer or synergy as well as the “hurried” steps taken to merge the incumbent EPRDF and its affiliate parties into a single unified party—Prosperity Party.

Even though there have been growing speculation about differences created between the two, news of Lemma’s open defiance to pillars of Abiy’s administration caught everyone by surprise.

Last week, Lemma told VOA’s Afaan Oromo division about his position regarding the recent decisions made by the central committees of EPRDF, the Oromo Democratic Party (ODP), Amhara Democratic Party (ADP) and Southern People’s Democratic Movement Party (SPDMP) to merge with each other and their affiliates.

It can be recalled that Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) also refused to be part of the merger and criticized the merger labeling it as “illegal.”

Similarly, Lemma, who has been very instrumental in the political dynamics of Ethiopia in the past two years, which eventually brought Abiy to power in 2018, has echoed his rejection of the merger.

“Merging this party is not timely as there are many dangers. We are in a transition,” said Lemma, speaking in Afaan Oromo. “This is borrowed time; it is not ours. We are facing several problems from different places during this borrowed time.”

“It’s not the time to come up with something new, but a time to solve problems that we should be focused on,” he said adding: “We should focus on maintaining peace and stability and focus on macroeconomics, especially, people’s struggle with the rising cost of living.”

Moreover, explaining his displeasure with the medmer philosophy, Lemma who is currently in the United States said that Medemer should start from the base. He also stressed that the political intention behind it must first be scrutinized.

“For Medemer, it shouldn’t start from somewhere else, but should be about Oromos and the Ida’amu (synergy) of Oromos. It is strengthening the unity starting from the Kebelle, Woreda, and zonal levels to the top,” Addis Standard reported quoting Lemma’s interview with VOA.

As far as Lemma’s political role is concerned, it is not clear what his next step will be; even though he said he will continue with the ‘party’ or leave.

“Until they tell me to leave the organization, I will struggle holding on to the difference I have,” he said.

7 December 2019 reporter

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3 Responses to Lemma Megersa breaks silence

  1. The view of Ato Lemma Mergesa are divisive and narrow and not in the interest of Ethiopia.

    How have DR. ABIYE AHMED a MEDEMER ie an Ambassador of Divine has the peace deal affected Ethiopia’s political and economic development?

    The DAWN at the Horn of Africa? Let us welcome the Light that is about to illumine Ethiopia.

    Eritrea remains an important outlet as Ethiopia continues to develop.

    Thus far, there has been more easing of political tensions than sustainable progress on the economic front. The return to Ethiopia of Ethiopian opposition leaders and their armed groups has removed a painful irritant but also exacerbated political disputes that have long bedeviled governance. Peace manifests on Ethiopia internally.

    A Year After the Ethiopia-Eritrea Peace Deal, What Is the Impact?
    Warming ties are part of a tectonic shift in the Horn of Africa, but the end results are far from certain.

    Ethiopia and Eritrea signed a peace agreement just over a year ago to end two decades of a “frozen war.” The accord, which resolved a seemingly intractable border dispute after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office and accepted an independent commission’s 2002 boundary decision, was greeted with tremendous optimism in both countries and by international observers. Following the first anniversary of the agreement last month, USIP’s the director of Africa programs, and a senior advisor on Africa, assess the peace deal’s impact on the states’ bilateral relations, Eritrea’s persistent internal policies, Ethiopia’s economic and political development and stability in the Horn of Africa.

    A poster of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia, left, and President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea is displayed during a festival in Asmara, Eritrea,.
    A poster of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia, left, and President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea is displayed during a festival in Asmara, Eritrea, .

    How has the Ethiopia-Eritrea relationship evolved over the last year?
    Phelan: At first it seemed the dynamic and unexpected events in warming relations might break through entrenched resistance. However, this fragile relationship, while improved, has reverted to its norms, minus the looming military threat. While Ethiopia has continued to encourage institutionalizing new trade and travel opportunities with Eritrea, Abiy faces internal politics that have become far more contentious, hampering any further quick advances. Eritrea has reverted to extreme caution around anything that might erode President Isaias Afwerki’s complete control.

    In a much-anticipated speech on Independence Day in May, Isaias acknowledged “the beginnings of a new era” but then harkened back to the virtue of resilience and “a patient appraisal of the unfolding reality.” While that doesn’t foreclose a positive and productive relationship, the countries’ respective size and economic dynamism will likely govern the pace at which each is willing to move forward. Ultimately, Isaias has acknowledged the “principal aim is to transform the primordial subsistence economy to a modern and developed industrial economy.”

    : Ending the “no war, no peace” period between Ethiopia and Eritrea remains a historic milestone.

    The stories of families reunited after decades highlights the deep personal costs of conflict and the immediate possibilities of peace. However, over the past year, people expected that the peace would result in additional, sustainable improvements. And in some cases, progress has now been stalled or even reversed. For example, Eritrea closed the border crossing between the countries again. To date, the peace has largely remained at elite, political levels—and even personalized between Abiy and Isaias. Individual relationships are important to build peace but insufficient—and even risky, if those relationships sour—to sustain peace and avoid a return to conflict in the medium term. There need to be predictable, agreed upon ways to resolve disputes when they arise.

    Eritrean authorities have historically justified their restrictive security state by citing the conflict with Ethiopia. A year after the peace deal, has the government lifted its harsh control?
    Phelan: In short, no. The renewal of neighborly relations, including Abiy’s express acceptance of the U.N.-brokered 2000 peace agreement delimiting the contentious border, hasn’t loosened Eritrea’s most restrictive policies. The Ethiopia-Eritrea thaw has enabled progress in Eritrea’s regional disputes with Djibouti and Somalia, but Isaias appears less confident in the internal ramifications of the new environment. He continues to insist on slow going, saying “before charting out new and permanent sustainable development programs, it is imperative that we conduct extensive political, economic and security appraisals.”

    Many in the international community hoped that the Ethiopia-Eritrea rapprochement would help to open new channels of engagement and communication with Eritrea and Eritreans. This is still very much a work in progress. Further dialogue—with the government, academics, civil society, and citizens—will be necessary to fully understand the state of play in the country, explore openings for reform, and identify priorities and barriers to progress.

    How has the peace deal affected Ethiopia’s political and economic development?

    : It remains to be seen. While it’s certainly possible Ethiopia will continue to lead the continent in GDP growth regardless of Eritrea, growth would be faster with an open and engaged economy to its north. Ethiopia has already made use of other ports across the Horn of Africa (including Djibouti and Somalia) but Eritrea remains an important outlet as Ethiopia continues to develop. Thus far, there has been more easing of political tensions than sustainable progress on the economic front. The return to Ethiopia of Ethiopian opposition leaders and their armed groups has removed a painful irritant but also exacerbated political disputes that have long bedeviled governance.

    The mutual outreach to resolve regional disputes by Ethiopia and Eritrea with Djibouti and Somalia has settled some of the regional tension that has long disrupted relations and international interest in investment and trade. While facilitating the removal of sanctions, these steps are only a part of the regional dynamic. Gulf states have joined the Chinese, and increasingly Russia, Turkey, and Egypt in aligning and investing with individual .

    A Year After the Ethiopia-Eritrea Peace Deal, What Is the Impact?
    Warming ties are part of a tectonic shift in the Horn of Africa, but the end results are far from certain.

    “frozen war.” The accord, which resolved a seemingly intractable border dispute after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Africa, assess the peace deal’s impact on the states’ bilateral relations, Eritrea’s persistent internal policies, Ethiopia’s economic and political development and stability in the Horn of Africa.

    At first it seemed the dynamic and unexpected events in warming relations might break through entrenched resistance. However, this fragile relationship, while improved, has reverted to its norms, minus the looming military threat. While Ethiopia has continued to encourage institutionalizing new trade and travel opportunities with Eritrea, Abiy faces internal politics that have become far more contentious, hampering any further quick advances. Eritrea has reverted to extreme caution around anything that might erode President Isaias Afwerki’s complete control.

    In a much-anticipated speech on Independence Day in May, Isaias acknowledged “the beginnings of a new era” but then harkened back to the virtue of resilience and “a patient appraisal of the unfolding reality.” While that doesn’t foreclose a positive and productive relationship, the countries’ respective size and economic dynamism will likely govern the pace at which each is willing to move forward. Ultimately, Isaias has acknowledged the “principal aim is to transform the primordial subsistence economy to a modern and developed industrial economy.”

    : Ending the “no war, no peace” period between Ethiopia and Eritrea remains a historic milestone. The stories of families reunited after decades highlights the deep personal costs of conflict and the immediate possibilities of peace. However, over the past year, people expected that the peace would result in additional, sustainable improvements. And in some cases, progress has now been stalled or even reversed. For example, Eritrea closed the border crossing between the countries again. To date, the peace has largely remained at elite, political levels—and even personalized between Abiy and Isaias. Individual relationships are important to build peace but insufficient—and even risky, if those relationships sour—to sustain peace and avoid a return to conflict in the medium term. There need to be predictable, agreed upon ways to resolve disputes when they arise.

    Eritrean authorities have historically justified their restrictive security state by citing the conflict with Ethiopia. A year after the peace deal, has the government lifted its harsh control?

    In short, no. The renewal of neighborly relations, including Abiy’s express acceptance of the U.N.-brokered 2000 peace agreement delimiting the contentious border, hasn’t loosened Eritrea’s most restrictive policies. The Ethiopia-Eritrea thaw has enabled progress in Eritrea’s regional disputes with Djibouti and Somalia, but Isaias appears less confident in the internal ramifications of the new environment. He continues to insist on slow going, saying “before charting out new and permanent sustainable development programs, it is imperative that we conduct extensive political, economic and security appraisals.”

    Many in the international community hoped that the Ethiopia-Eritrea rapprochement would help to open new channels of engagement and communication with Eritrea and Eritreans. This is still very much a work in progress. Further dialogue—with the government, academics, civil society, and citizens—will be necessary to fully understand the state of play in the country, explore openings for reform, and identify priorities and barriers to progress.

    How has the peace deal affected Ethiopia’s political and economic development?
    Phelan: It remains to be seen. While it’s certainly possible Ethiopia will continue to lead the continent in GDP growth regardless of Eritrea, growth would be faster with an open and engaged economy to its north. Ethiopia has already made use of other ports across the Horn of Africa (including Djibouti and Somalia) but Eritrea remains an important outlet as Ethiopia continues to develop. Thus far, there has been more easing of political tensions than sustainable progress on the economic front. The return to Ethiopia of Ethiopian opposition leaders and their armed groups has removed a painful irritant but also exacerbated political disputes that have long bedeviled governance.

    The mutual outreach to resolve regional disputes by Ethiopia and Eritrea with Djibouti and Somalia has settled some of the regional tension that has long disrupted relations and international interest in investment and trade. While facilitating the removal of sanctions, these steps are only a part of the regional dynamic. Gulf states have joined the Chinese, and increasingly Russia, Turkey, and Egypt in aligning and investing with individual governments in the region. MEDEMER effect to Ethiopia and the region.

    We know that peace agreements are more successful and most likely to stick when they are inclusive.

    A year out, has Ethiopia-Eritrea peace had a stabilizing impact on the Horn of Africa?

    Yes. Eritrea and Ethiopia have been willing to work together toward the resolution of long-standing regional tensions, reportedly agreeing that a more stable Horn of Africa would bolster investor confidence and benefit the region.

    Eritrea has renewed ties with Djibouti after more than a decade-long border dispute, and with the assistance of Ethiopia, and again Dr. Abiye Ahmed MEDEMER efforts is in talks to resolve additional matters.

    Eritrea has also renewed diplomatic relations with Somalia, where its support for proxy forces a decade ago resulted in severe U.N. sanctions.

    After the rapprochement between Asmara and Mogadishu, the U.N. lifted sanctions on Eritrea, although it maintained the arms embargo.

    The Horn of Africa is experiencing a tectonic transition. Again historic Medemer effect as practiced by Dr. Abiye Ahmed.

    But things are far from settled. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has welcomed Eritrea’s increased regional engagement—largely through the Ethiopia-Somalia-Eritrea Joint Declaration. Dr. Abiye Medemer effect.

    Consultations led by the African Union and an IGAD Taskforce are animating discussions on priorities and approaches for regional integration, including the relationship with countries on the eastern side of the Red Sea. Eritrea’s willingness to engage constructively and actively is a test of the Ethiopia-Eritrea relationship. While Eritrea has begun to participate in a nascent initiative to establish a “Red Sea Security Council,” championed by Egypt and Saudi Arabia, this notably involves only littoral states and therefore excludes Ethiopia. Ethiopia has been and remains a champion of IGAD, a leader within the African Union, and active participant in global bodies like the United Nations. It’s hard to imagine further consolidation and regional stabilization without Eritrea embracing a more multilateral approach within these bodies.

    When massive transformation is happening in Africa it is HISTORICAL HEROIC and HARBINGER of PEACE.

    Dr. Abiye Ahmed is the catalyst of Transformation .

    Nitin varia.

    Nitin N Varia
    December 13, 2019 at 10:14 pm
    Reply

  2. Abiy is nothing but a gigilo , who is hoping to become a pimp by retiring from a life of a gigilo to be become a pimp that pimps Ethiopians.

    Birtui
    December 14, 2019 at 1:04 am
    Reply

  3. Has Lemma truly broken silence? Has he? How is it that the silence he claims to have “broken” is not heard crying? How is it, it’s not bruised, much less bleeding? How is it, it’s still smiling, touting at us saying: “You can’t catch me..” “You can’t catch me”?

    Could it be that Lemma has just smartly sent us on a goose chase? Are these not matters of family the deliberation of which, we the public are not privy to? If any differences among them – the members of the family, don’t those differences fall in that same category too – “not for public consumption”?

    One thing is evident: it is not a cloak-and-dagger affair. He tells us: “Until they tell me to leave the organization, I will struggle holding on to the difference I have.” This tells that it’s actually not hot enough inside there for him to be coerced to jump out, nor is it cold enough for him to want to walk out on his own, in search for warmth elsewhere. So, by claiming to have broken the silence, Lemma only means to delude the gullible.

    Meimatungu
    December 14, 2019 at 9:11 am
    Reply

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