Shiferaw Shigute, a TPLF loyal man, is elected chairman of SEPDM

It has been rumored that TPLF is interested in making Shiferaw Shigute next prime minister. Today, he is declared to be SEPDM’s chairman.

Shiferaw Shigute
Shiferaw Shigute

February 26,2018

As meeting of the ruling coalition Ethiopian People Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) council, which is a body of one hundred and eighty members drawn from four ethnic based parties in the coalition, is expected this week to pick prime minister, the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM) elected Shiferaw Shigute, currently minister of education at the federal level, as its chairman and Siraj Fergessa, currently minister of defense and secretariat of the “Command Post”, as its vice-chairman.

The election of Shiferaw Shigute, a staunch pro-TPLF politician, signals that the party is positioning him to contest for the prime minister position to replace Hailemariam Desalegn. Shiferaw Shigute is said to be TPLF’s top choice, followed by Demeke Mekonen, another loyal TPLF figure who is chairman of ANDM ; which means that it is very likely that Shiferaw could be the next prime minister.

On the other hand TPLF is manifesting its stand ,from pro-TPLF sort of social media blackmail campaign, that it does not want Dr. Abiy Ahmed, now OPDO chairman, to be the next prime minister. It is not clear if TPLF’s chairman, Debretsion Gebremichael, is contesting for prime minister position. The party elects the prime minister and the parliament will approve it. The parliament, which is in a month long recess, is called for an emergency meeting on Friday.

Last week, SEPDM announced election of new party leaders on its social media page but the information was removed immediately on grounds that “page was compromised and the information not right.” As it tuns out, based on media reports with well-placed sources, it was a manifestation of wrangling within the party. And the information was removed with the order of Shiferaw Shigute. According to Wazema radio, SEPDM is experiencing internal problems and Shiferaw Shigute is reportedly arguing that Hailemariam Desalengn’s unfinished term should be finished by a candidate from his party. And he is now emerging as a candidate.

SEPDM is known to be a loyal organization to Tigray People’s Liberation Front whose domination in the ruling coalition is increasingly being challenged by two member parties ; ANDM and OPDO.

The complexity of ethnic politics and political ideology of the ruling party is reflected,, among many other ways, in the way the region is structured ; South Nations,Nationalities and People’s region (SNNPR).

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