Short Commentary on the Current Status of Ethiopia’s Unity Camp

Until few years ago, the Pan Ethiopian (or pro-unity political block) had the support of the north (Amhara), much of the South, & almost every major urban area at the center (including Addis) & Oromia. Now, this group seems politically dead or irrelevant!

Background: 
Before 2018, The unity camp had its leaders in exile, in prison, or some had raised arms against the regime. After the 2018 change within EPRDF however, the imprisoned became free, exiles & formerly armed groups returned…. well they came back amid huge fanfare.

Unfortunately for the moderate and pro-unity Ethiopian citizenry, however,the elites from this camp openly exhibited series of mistakes over the past year or so. Some of the mistakes can also be traced as far back as 2005/1997. In my view, the few crucial mistakes among the many are:

1) The pro-unity elites remain in denial of reality. For example: They continued their focused criticism of the once weak ethno-nationalist camp while fully embracing Eprdf, a coalition of ethno-nationalist parties itself. Note that Some within EPRDF are actually more extreme than those in opposition.

1.1) Ethno-nationalist camp is there to stay & boasts formidable political organization & growing number of followers. However, because pro-unity elites live in the world of denial, they simply underestimated the power of Ethnic parties. They forgot that no one negotiates if undermined.

2) Unity camp elites took their massive support for granted!!
Although slow, the rise of politically conscious citizenry that actually questions and wants answers seems to be tired of the camp. Low attendance of recent meetings & below par fundraising events are good examples.

3) The unity camp failed to embrace and organize the youth, which EPRDF & other ethno-nationalist movements and parties took advantage. The camp’s leadership composition also shows that the individuals are more or less the same folks whose credibility continued to be questioned by many.

4) Last but not least, the elites within the camp (especially G7), lost its integrity when they criticized or opposed individuals & groups that could have been their natural partners. The manner in which G7 interfered or weakened ESAT has also surprised its support base.

You could argue against any of these simple reasons above. But one thing remains true: The unity camp seems non-existent. Even if it’s still out there, it’s politically dead or irrelevant.

Yohannes Gedamu

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Short Commentary on the Current Status of Ethiopia’s Unity Camp