January 6, 2020
TPLF has just concluded the Extraordinary congress in Mekelle, Tigray to decide whether to join the newly formed Prosperity Party or not. The TPLF Party decision is now official – it will not join the newly formed Prosperity Party. This decision creates officially a constitutional crisis in Ethiopia.
Four and half years ago the Ethiopian people elected EPRDF to govern the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) through its coalition parties namely OPDO later changed to ODP, SEPDM, ANDM later changed to ADP, and TPLF. The former three members of the EPRDF coalition parties (excluding TPLF) and five other Regional political parties, Gambela (GPDUP), Beni-Shangul Gumuz (BGPDUF), Afar (ANDP), Somali (ESPDP) and Harari (HNL) all decided to merge themselves and establish a new party called Prosperity Party and thereby dissolving their own individual party statuses provided to them earlier by the Ethiopian Election Board. The dissolution happened voluntary since the Ethiopian Election law requires – if two or more political parties are merging, they must dissolve their original political party and surrender their original party registration to the Ethiopian Election Board.
The Ethiopian Election Board Chairwoman, Ms. Birtukan Mideqsa has confirmed recently, the Prosperity Party has applied for recognition. Accordingly, through the newly decreed proclamation of political parties, and after evaluating the Prosperity Parties’ application, the Ethiopian Election Board has decided to recognize the Prosperity Party as it has fulfilled all the necessary requirements for registration. The recognition and registration of the Prosperity Party and the dissolution of individual parties that created newly merged Prosperity Party adds to the constitutional crisis and creates a vacuum of leadership of the FDRE government and therefore the current leadership in position becomes illegal to continue to govern Ethiopia until the next election. By virtue of dissolution, the three Regional States Amhara, Oromo and Southern Nations and Nationalities all have illegal governments governing the Regional States.
Not only does the Ethiopian Federal government has unconstitutional, unelected leadership but also the other five political parties have created a vacuum of leadership in their own Regional governments. The Gambela (GPDUP), Beni-Shangul Gumuz (BGPDUF), Afar (ANDP), Somali (ESPDP) and Harari (HNL) Regional States all have illegal leadership governing their respective Regional States since all the originally elected political parties are now dissolved.
IN A PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM SUCH AS ETHIOPIAS, A POLITICAL PARTY IS ELECTED TO TAKE AN OFFICE. THAT POLITICAL PARTY APPOINTS A LEADER IN TO THE POSTS THAT IT HAS WON IN AN ELECTION. AS I EXPLAINED ABOVE THE ELECTED POLITICAL PARTIES (EXCEPT TPLF) DISSOLVED THEMSELVES AND MERGED TO CREATE A NEW POLITICAL PARTY CALLED PROSPERITY PARTY. THE PROSPERITY PARTY IS NOT ELECTED BY THE ETHIOPIAN PEOPLE AND EVEN AFTER ITS MERGER THIS PARTY DO NOT HAVE THE SAME POLITCAL PROGRAM THAT (EPRDF) AS A COALITION HAD. THERFORE, THE PROSPERITY PARTY MUST SURRENDER THE FEDERAL AND REGIONAL STATE POWERS THEY ARE HOLDING ILLEGALLY TO ETHIOPIANS AND ALLOW ALL THE STAKE HOLDERS FORM A COALTION GOVERNMENT TO BE FORMED IMMEDIATELY. PROSPERITY PARTY SHOULD PLAY A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD WITH ALL OTHER POLITICAL PARTIES IN ETHIOPIA. NOTHING MORE OR LESS.
The Ethiopian Federal government and the five above Regional States are clearly governed by illegitimate leaders today and none of the decisions made or agreements entered nationally or internationally on behalf of the FDRE or the Regional States by these bodies should be considered legal.
In addition to the above situation, the FDRE parliament and the Regional States parliaments all have legally elected bodies but their original political parties that brought them to the Parliament house do not exist. Their party affiliation and loyalty are unknown.
If TPLF says it is a principled political party, it is tested again to fight for the creation of a coalition government, because it has declared in its Statement that Prosperity Party is Illegal. An illegal party should never be allowed to govern FDRE even for a single day. TPLF has a responsibility to declare the situation as such and in coalition with all the other Ethiopian political parties, they must form a care taker government and form a coalition government until Election takes place and an elected government is in place.
The Ethiopian Election Board, The Ethiopian President and The Ethiopian defense forces should take a bold decision to save the country from disintegrating and their responsibilities seriously by declaring the constitutional crisis that exist and form a coalition government until such time a National and Regional States conduct an election.
Note that, I am not even discussing on how the Prosperity Party is formed and registered with the Ethiopian Election Board. The Ethiopian Election Board is put on notice by all Ethiopians for their performance and neutrality. If a party is trying to break the law and register illegally by hijacking the Ethiopian Election Board’s office, the board should act according to the law and decide its fate. The Ethiopian Election Board’s allegiance need to be with the Ethiopian people and the Ethiopian Constitution. The law of the land needs to be respected by all involved for Ethiopia to have a chance of survival and to continue as a unit. It is my opinion that in the 21st century, what is happening in Ethiopia should never be allowed.
NOTE: Since TPLF did not merge with the Prosperity Party and did not change its political program, because the party won the last election in Tigray, it has a legitimate right to continue to govern the Tigray Regional State until the next election.
I am urging all the Ethiopian legal scholars to debate this article and the legality of the FDRE Executive branch, and the Ethiopian Parliament and all the regional states leadership affected by the merger/dissolution of the political parties mentioned in this article.
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