Fault Lines within the Ethiopian People Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF): Intraparty Network and Governance system
Ethiopia People Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRD) is a political party in charge of government power since 1991. EPRDF is established in 1989 out of Rebel group to party transformation with the view to oust the military government called Derg. It is a coalition of four parties political organization i.e. Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF)- which is an architect of EPRDF, Amhara National Democratic Movements (ANDM) in 1980, Oromo People Liberation Organization (OPDO ) and Southern Ethiopian People Democratic Movement ( SEPDM) However, in spite of the nominally coalition structure of the EPRDF, from the beginning the TPLF provided the leadership and ideological direction to other members of the coalition. To maintain the dominant position within the coalition the TPLF has transferred its rebel time internal governance network that focuses on traditional Marxist Leninist organizational lines, with an emphasis on “democratic centralism”; and a tradition of hierarchically organizational structure to the newly established political organization i.e. EPRDF. Consequently, the EPRDF intraparty network and governance system is dominated by the use of ML (Marxist-Leninist) authoritarian methods and hegemonic control, rigid hierarchical leadership; Democratic centralism, the dominance of the party apparatus behind the façade of regional and local autonomy, an extensive patron-client mechanisms; the use of force to silence opposition within and outside the party; intertwined State institutions and the party system and excessive reliance on party entity instead of state administration units; and gim gema (self-evaluation) are worth mentioning. These intraparty network and governance system have severely limited genuine democratization within the party as well as hampered the democratization process in the country. The party is facing increasing pressure and challenge from within the party and the public at large demanding equal status and fair political economic representation. In effect, EPRDF is in deep crisis shattered by internal divisions, crises as well as external public pressure forcing the party to entertain democratic principles and culture. Hence, it is recommended that the organizational structure and the values and principles governing the organization should be revisited within the framework of democracy which allows adaptability and flexibility given the various change agents in the socio-cultural, economic, political environment.
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