interview with artist Abraham Gebremedhin
Addis Ababa January 04/2019 Merger and consolidation of political parties is crucial at this juncture as it create synergy among the parties while avoiding undesirable rivalry and competition, Political Science and International Relations Associate Professor Yacob Arsano said.
In an exclusive interview with ENA, he said merger of political parties with similar political ideologies and purposes is critically vital for the nation to prosper.
Addis Ababa University Associate Professor Yacob stressed that the leaders of the multitude parties in the country need to discuss open-mindedly about how to bridge differences through compromise in order to form fewer but stronger parties.
“Acting in unison, the political parties can create a political power hub and do away with unnecessary competition,” he added.
Elaborating on the disadvantages of too many parties, the scholar stated that “holding similar political ideology and marching separately will weaken the political parties and open unnecessary rivalry among them ending up in eventually achieving nothing.”
On the other hand, if they merge and create alliances within the framework of their political views they can reduce the confusion that can be created among the public and get elected by promoting distinct alternative ideas to the electorate, the Associate Professor pointed out.
Yacob, however, warned that it is advisable for parties to take an in-depth research of political parties and the political situation in the country at large before bolting into the formation of merger and alliances.
Oromo Democratic Party Office Public Relations Director, Taye Dendea said “it is high time that political parties get merged or form alliances.”
Taye noted that there are over 80 political parties that claim to be entertaining different political views. But “Ethiopians do not politically differ to this extent.”
He insisted that “this clearly demonstrates how unhealthy the political situation in the country is.”
The recent trends in merger and formation of alliances “demonstrate that Ethiopia’s overall politics is evolving and getting out of the clutches of individuals and groups.”
According to him, the differences among most of the political parties are mainly group and individual interests and not political ideologies. “This resulted in labeling one another as enemy and being unwilling to listen to differences.”
Taye Dendea stated that though one cannot conclude that all should merge into a party, “we need to look into political ideologies and consider the possibility of getting united. “This is the only way to build democracy and elevate the country.”
Chairperson of the defunct Semayawi Party, Yeshiwas Assefa said there is no other choice for the country and the people to prosper other than merging the political parties and uniting to fulfill the cause.
According to Yeshiwas, not many parties had conflict in Ethiopia due to ideological differences, but administrative. “This means we can and need to close the gap.”
“The only chance left for the political parties is to maintain their existence by coming closer and forming alliances or merger; if possible into two or three, but not more than 5 parties throughout the country,” Yeshiwas argued.
He believes that there would only be three or four political parties if the differences boil down to political ideology.
Yeshiwas emphasized that the public should shun parties that foment conflict and violence and embrace those which promote unity, coexistence and collaboration.
It is to be recalled that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had urged political parties in the country to merge or form alliances focusing on areas they agree upon and win the public instead of struggling in a fragmented way.
Of late, seven political parties have merged into three groups, namely Oromo Democratic Party and Oromo Democratic Front; Amhara Democratic Party and Amhara Democratic Forces Movement; Semayawi Party, Patriots-Guenbot Sebat and Ethiopia Democratic Party.