As Dr Abiy Ahmed becomes chairman of EPRDF, we may need to enter cautious optimism into the record. Optimism because may be, just may be, the spark of change from within may be kept alive through him and his team mate Lemma Megersa.

Such optimism in the face of TPLF’s machination to stay in charge no matter what, is needed in order for OPDO to further eclipse the TPLF out of the dominant position that forever sought to repress the hope for the emergence of a democratic order in that conflict-ridden country.

Caution is needed because the work of transformation from within requires a strong and courageous leadership that disdains opportunism. And by all accounts, Dr Abiy does not seem to have it–unless he shores it up while in office in recognition of the popular pressure for a thorough-going transformation.

For now, though, his election must be lauded as a tactical triumph over TPLF who, for far too long, have asserted unabashed supremacy in the party and in the country and sought to use this occasion, too, to further humiliate the Oromo, the Amhara, and the other peoples in the wider Ethiopia.

Our peoples need to remember that, while this is not what they fought hard for, this too is the result of their struggle. They should relish in the fact that their sacrifice made it possible for #TeamLemma to emerge and for Abiy to get to the chairmanship. However, they should always remember that they did not resist TPLF only to put another weakling in power in their place so that he could act as (another) TPLF ‘with a humanitarian face’.

As a people who honor their martyrs and cherish their victory, they need to remain watchful to prevent EPRDF from (re)producing more of the same.

The resistance continues!

Tsegaye Ararssa

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