Exclusive: As the formation of Prosperity Party gains momentum here is its program

In a video message this morning, PM Abiy Ahmed said Southern Ethiopia Peoples Democratic Movement (SEPDM), the third party constituting EPRDF, was expected to approve the merger today

Editor’s Note:Please click here to download Prosperity Party’s Program exclusively obtained by Addis Standard.

Ephream Sileshi

Addis Abeba, November 28/2019 – Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s signature party, Prosperity Party, has received a significant boost yesterday when the general assemblies by Oromo Democratic Party (ODP) and Amhara Democratic Party (ADP), two of the four major parties that make up the ruling EPRDF (now in its final deathbed), decided to join it.

In a video message this morning, PM Abiy Ahmed said Southern Ethiopia Peoples Democratic Movement (SEPDM), the third party constituting EPRDF, was expected to approve the merger today, which was just announced at the time of the release of this news.

PM Abiy also said the birth of Prosperity Party was a step in the fulfillment of the struggle by Qeerroo, Fano, and Zerma, groups of youth associated with protests in Oromia and Amhara regional state as well as Guraghe zone in southern regional state, respectively, who are widely credited for paving ways for his assent to the premiership. In a move to dispel criticism on the legal front, the PM further said the party merger has followed all the necessary legal requirements and pushed back on additional criticisms that Prosperity Party was against the principles of federalism and is a means to bring back a unitary system.

In northern Ethiopia, however, both the Executive and Central Committees of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the third party constituting EPRDF, have rejected the merger citing legal reasons, while the decision from its general assembly is pending. Party Chairman Dr. Debretsion G/Michael told the media yesterday that dismantling EPRDF’s structure violets individuals parties’ rights to exist as parties.

Getachew Reda, TPLF executive member also told local media that “EPRDF is a coalition so to the extent that [if] there is going to be merger it’s going to be merger of the four constituent parties so TPLF has made its position clear, we are not against merger but merger is going to be based on at least two things.”

“The first is substantive one substantives is a sense that you have to have some program to work on. So there has to be a common program for a coalition to merge in to one party and we are not given any program.  Second the bylaws of the party determine the power relations between and among members. That is also equally important. a party is not a party unless it has a program and clearly defined bylaws that will determine the relationship between and among members. These two particular elements were missing,” says Getachew.

The other major development is the pending addition of Somali Democratic Party (SDP), which, in previous EPRDF arrangement, enjoyed membership only as “agar party” (allied party). SDP’s Executive and Central Committees have approved the merger in their meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, respectively, a major move considering earlier statement from Mohamed Shalle, SDP Central Committee Bureau Head, saying both the EC and the CC were not mandated to dissolve SDP. As of the publishing of this news, the meeting of the General Assembly of the party, the final stage where the last decision is supposed to be taken, is in progress. However, Addis Standard has learned that a positive decision will be made come Sunday, 01 December.

“The merger of the Somali Democratic Party (SDP) into the would-be established Prosperity Party (PP) heralds an era of more inclusivity and recognition for the marginalized Somali People in Ethiopia. This also brings a lot of opportunities for the Somali people to have a say in issues of national and regional importance,” Mohamed Olad, media and communications advisor to the President of Somali Regional State Mustafa Omer, told Addis Standard.

According to Mr. Olad, the program and bylaw of the Prosperity Party “opened the door for Somalis’ participation at the center while at the same time guaranteeing their autonomy and constitutional right for self-rule. The process of the merger is expected to be finalized on Sunday 1 December 2019 after the recommendations of the SDP Executive and Central Committees is referred to the General Assembly of the Party.”

Reports released through either state owned media or EPRDF’s own secretariat indicate other “agar” or allied parties have also made the decision to join. So far, the Afar National Democratic Party (ANDP), the Harari National League (HNL), the Benishangul Gumuz People Democratic Party (BGPDP) as well as Gambella People’s Unity Democratic Movement (GPUDM) have all decided to merge.

Prosperity Party bylaw, also exclusively released by Addis Standard, requires individual parties to dissolve their legal presence in order to become its members. AS

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