A week after Abadula Gemeda, a veteran and high ranking official of the ruling OPDO/EPRDF Front and Speaker of the Parliament has resigned, another veteran founding official of the ANDM/EPRDF, adviser of the PM and the Deputy Head of the Policy Studies Center, Bereket Simon has resigned, the BBC Amharic website reported. Bereket is one of the most senior and “powerful” officials of the government. Unlike Abadula he had never resigned before but in the past few weeks he had resigned from all his government posts of heading the Board of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) and the state-owned company of ANDM, Tiret. Bereket is one of the founders of the EPRDF, who has been vocal since their days in the bush as rebel fighters.
The News of the resignation of these two officials within a period of two weeks has gotten the public to speculate about the reasons behind their resignations. What can we possibly speculate?
- Abadula Gemeda said that his main reason to resign from a government post was the “disrespect to his people and his party.” He did not mention the disrespectful group but it is possibly the group within the Federal government that is directly intervening and indirectly ruling the Oromia regional state, possibly the Command Post, which is led by senior TPLF/EPRDF generals and security officers such as General Samora Yenus among others. This reason may not hold water given the personal characteristics, suspected involvements in corrupt practices of the person and the heavy-handed measures that TPLFs could take on dissenting individuals especially their own members and officials. Similarly, if Bereket Simon comes back after 26 years of direct leadership and role on every developmental and criminal decisions and activities in the country and says I am resigning because “my people are being mistreated,” it is very unlikely that it could be bought.
- Most people speculate that the current resignations are symptoms of internal divisions within the government especially after October 2016, when the State of Emergency was declared. Many sources state that senior civilian officials like Bereket and Abadula, who had the clout to influence decisions before that have now began to totally lose it to the Command Post. Although the Emergency was lifted in August 2017, the Command Post continues to be in command. The civilian and political leadership feels it has lost the least power it had. These eventualities led these leaders to resign. Bereket reportedly has been offering new recommendations to the government and ANDM but none were given heed or implemented.
- The third conspiracy argues that these leaders are allegedly involved in corrupt businesses and are accused of committing crimes against their opponents and the public. Recently, senior government officials have been arrested or reshuffled for alleged corrupt practices. However, so-called senior and untouchable officials in the ranks of Bereket and Abadula have not been implicated or accused, although many still accuse them of corruption. Therefore, the speculation is that “resignation is the new from of reorganization” i.e. distancing the corrupt leaders from the regime and re-framimg them as heroes of the public, who have come to save the Front and the country from a demise.
- The fourth speculation is that since international human rights groups and US government congressmen have started a new program and resolution calling for the targeted sanction and ban of Ethiopian government officials who have committed crimes against humanity as well as a call for the creation of a government better designed to serve the interests of the Ethiopian people, they are tactically evading justice by resigning. This is another sanction call on the pipeline. We will know the real reasons and what transpires in due course of time.
In the meantime, the core and axis of the EPRDF coalition, TPLF’s Central Committee meeting has continued for a third consecutive week in Mekelle.