The state of governance in the Oromia Regional State has become a recurrent nightmare for those in charge, gossip observed. Despite heavy-handed responses from federal law enforcement agencies, with enormous casualties in human life, there still remain pockets of confrontation between protesters and police as well as security personnel.
It is clear that the large population in the regional state continues to be discontented with the way the OPDO runs the affairs of Oromia. In the absence of a political roadmap to overcome resistance, no amount of securitization addresses the current impasse, gossip says.
What these relentless confrontations show is that the compromise politicians in the regional state made in backing down from the implementation of the Draft Master Plan for Addis Abeba and towns surrounding it is not enough, gossip observed. If there is any lesson the Revolutionary Democrats on the whole can take from this episode, it is that politics and governance in Oromia has changed forever, claims gossip. Very soon, this will be true of constituencies in other regional states in the republic, gossip foresees.
Neither is the widespread discontent attached to a particular issue, although popular dislike of the Draft Master Plan has served as a rallying factor, claims gossip. Thus the political battleground in the Revolutionary Democrats’ camp is to persuade leaders of the OPDO to accept wholesome responsibility of their failure in governance. They must also be persuaded to accept that the leadership entrusted with the biggest region having the largest population in the republic has neither the experience nor the competence to manage the current crisis.
A Concept Paper authored by the EPRDF and is now circulating among the leadership of the OPDO for discussion and debate, disclosed gossip. True to the Front’s culture, the Paper tries to provide insight into the politico-economic context in which the discontent persists, zooming in on the shortcomings of the leadership. The latter, on the other hand chose to externalize, at least at a rhetorical level, the source of the problem, gossip revealed.
On the balance though, holding the entire leadership of the OPDO responsible for the impasse has brought a deep concern about the very well being of the organisation, claims gossip. Many EPRDFites see the importance of OPDO surfing the storm with as few bruises as it could possibly get, says gossip.
The burden of maintaining fair balance between these forces weighs on none other than its OPDO’s current Chairman, Muktar Kedir. Praised by his close comrades as principled and strong, Muktar is a second generation EPRDFite who joined the party during the year before the downfall of the military government. Despite these positive attributes, living through a recurrent nightmare could be one reason for his absence from office lately, travelling to Bangkok for medical care, gossip disclosed.
It will be of little surprise if Muktar does not continue to serve in his position as Chairman of the party for far too long, claims gossip. The talk among senior leaders of the OPDO is that the appointment of his successor as leader for the party, and thus Chief of the regional state, may be in the offing, according to gossip. Two names that have surfaced at the gossip corridors are Bekir Shale, now serving as Director General of the Ethiopian Revenues & Customs Authority (ERCA), and Degefie Bula, former Speaker of the House of Federation, now serving as Ethiopia’s Ambassador to Uganda, gossip disclosed.