Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who has many worrisome nights with the prospect of having over 10 million Ethiopians going hungry due to drought, had his latest cabinet meeting on Friday, placing at the top of the agenda, unrest in Gonder and several parts of Oromia Regional State, gossip disclosed. Following this meeting, many of the ministers whose constituencies are from areas affected by the unrest were dispatched immediately, hoping to resolve the discontent through dialogue, claims gossip.
Resurfacing after two years, the recent outbreak of popular resistance was provoked by the government’s Master Plan for Addis Abeba, which experts want to see integrate development plans with six zones of the Oromia Region surrounding the capital. But, gossip sees the undercurrent reasons creating profound discontent among the population due to maladministration of, and unemployment in communities who increasingly feel marginalized from political and economic life.
The interesting aspect of the current unrest is the time in which it is provoked, gossip observed. Indeed, rumours abound about a debate in the legislative body of the Oromia Regional State, a.k.a. Chefie Oromia, where some of the lawmakers were intent to strip towns such as Gelan and Dukem off their municipality status, thus putting them under Bishoftu in some form of district arrangement, gossip disclosed. Other legislators fiercely opposed the proposal, followed by public pronouncements made by regional authorities.
Add to this local officials of a small town in the west of the region, who provoked the rage of students by daring to slice plots belonging to a school to build their private houses, claims gossip. A low intensity confrontation with local law enforcement forces in the town produced unpleasant images of mishandling and a crackdown, which surfaced three weeks ago into the social media. The rest is history in the making, claims gossip.
If there is anything this series of spontaneous unrest and their recurrence tell, it is about what is not going right within the camp of the Revolutionary Democrats, claims gossip. They rather expose the cold EPRDFites have caught, and their weakened immune system seems unable to resist external pressure from unlikely bedfellows who appear to smartly take advantage of the opportunities presented before them, gossip claims.
Gossip finds it interesting to note a pattern in the spate of unrest. The Prime Minister and his allies in the governing party have been out in public sending signals on their declared resolve to deal with the vices within, gossip says. They have disclosed the existence of a report derived from a mother document, which revealed the extent of maladministration and corruption with a list of alleged perpetrators. They have been threatening to act on those undisclosed lots within but have blamed what has gone wrong on their governance.
Ironically, they are now busy and distracted putting out the fire which has flared right in front of them, not only demanding their attention but also time and resources, claims gossip. Now, here is an administration tied up in dealing with pressing matters of ensuring no human causality reported as a result of the drought; they have to ensure that the unrest does not escalate into larger conflicts; and the foreign forces its leaders fear will be delighted to feast on the trouble, will have no entrée, gossip observed.
Gossip sees that the declared resolve and determination of Hailemariam and his allies to clean their house will have to stay on the back burner until the emergencies are investigated and addressed. Real politicking is in the House of the Revolutionary Democrats, claims gossip.