March 6, 2020
Two Prominent opposition parties announced on Friday that they had formed a coalition ahead of the upcoming Ethiopian General Election in August 2020.
All Ethiopian Unity Party (AEUP), one of the oldest opposition political party in the country initially founded by Professor Asrat Woldeyes as All Amhara People’s Organization (AAPO), and Balderas for Genuine Democracy, one of the youngest political party which the Election Board of Ethiopia recognized as a regional party, are ready to work together, they said.
In terms of political programs, they announced that they will struggle peacefully for a new constitution, a genuine federal system with a strong central government, and for Ethiopian Identity and cultural values.
A considerable number of opposition political parties and politicized Ethiopians criticize Ethiopia’s existing constitution has for overemphasizing the rights of ethnic groups at the expense of Ethiopian Identity.
The devolution of power to ethnic-based regional governments did not come without unintended consequences that are detrimental to the existence of Ethiopia. Almost all regions have formed a fully armed special force, and there were cases where these forces demonstrated a sense of rivalry ( as in the case of the Oromo region and the Somali region, for example, or between the Amhara region and Tigray region).
As the ethnic-based regions became powerful, the power of the Federal government became weaker to the point where it was unable to enforce the rule of law and ensure the safety and security of citizens. Prime Minister Abiy government has been extensively criticized for that. Ethnically based clashes became rampant in different regions and University grounds in most parts of the country.
The new coalition did not explicitly talk about it, but the reference “weak central”government relates to that. It also said that it would struggle for Ethiopian Identity and Cultural values. Competing ethnic-based nationalism wrought much damage to the Ethiopian Identity. The matter is at the center of political conversation among those Ethiopians who tend to see radicalizing ethnic-based nationalism as a recipe for a possible incessant conflict.
On matters of Foreign Affairs, the Baladera-AEUP coalition condemned the Arab League resolution to support Egypt on the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Eskinder Nega said, “This is the second time for the Arab League to demonstrate interventionist tendencies on Ethiopian Affair. It is not acceptable,” as reported by VOA Amharic Service.
Asked why they needed to form a coalition, Mamushet Amare (was the leader of AEUP) said that the coalition is a response to “People’s demand” and that he believes that they can achieve better by working together.
Eskinder Nega, on his part, says they are ready to be an alternative party in the next general election. He also noted that the existence of his party had forced the government not to take Addis Ababa for granted.