Ethiopia's two opposition parties plan merger
By Neamin Ashenafi
August 28, 2017

The All Ethiopian Union Party (AEUP) and Blue Party (Blue) briefed members of the diplomatic community on various political issues, including their alliance and proposed merger, the impacts of the state of emergency (SoE) on the country’s political landscape, the upcoming Addis Ababa City Administration elections as well as their future plans, last week.

The briefing, which took place on the 18th of August, 2017, held at the headquarters of AEUP located in the vicinity of Tewodros Square, was attended by some 21 representatives drawn from the American, Dutch, German, Norwegian, Swedish, Australian embassies and the Delegation of the European Union (EU).

Attendees appreciated the briefing and spoke in favor of the alliance that the two parties forged and raised some questions regarding the upcoming election, the president of Blue Party, Yeshiwas Assefa, told The Reporter.

In this regard, they raised their concern and asked, “How will you become ready for the upcoming elections while the country was in a state of emergency for the past ten months and any political activity was halted,” Yeshiwas added.

“Though the landscape was challenging in the past ten months, we are preparing to use any possibility to voice our problems since we don’t have any possible means to challenge the government other than election,” Yeshiwas responded to the concern by the diplomatic community.

Similarly, the two parties stated that they are aiming to garner substantial vote in the upcoming Addis Ababa City Administration elections.

Hence, the parties affirmed their commitment to the diplomatic community that they are working hard so as to change the trend of the country from bullet to that of ballot box.

“Though we are committed to bring change through peaceful means, it’s obvious that the path is thorny. Due to the regime’s narrowing down of the political space, we have failed to provide our alternatives on human rights, federal system, land tenure system, foreign policy and free market to the public at large,” Yehiwas said.

Concerning the alliance the two parties have forged, the leaders of the two parties sketched the overall activities undertaken by the two parties, so far. According to Yeshiwas, currently the two parties are working together on issues such as training, strengthening organizational affairs at regional, zonal and woreda levels, public relations and current political affairs, human rights as well as prisoners and the upcoming Addis Ababa City Administration elections.

Regarding the impact of the ten-month-long SoE on the political landscape of the country, the parties singled out their problems and briefed the diplomats. In this regard, the parties asserted that their activities dwindled and deteriorated due to the harassment and intimidation during the SoE that, in turn, weakened the peaceful struggle in the country.

According to Yeshiwas, AEUP and Blue Party have started working together from April 8, 2017.So far, the two parties have registered so many achievements, and will continue working together, with merger being the goal in the future.


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