Lemma Megersa, the Minister of Defense and the once prominent ally of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD), is suspended from his role as a member of the executive committee of the Prosperity Party (PP), the newly established ruling party that replaced the four party coalition Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).
Lemma, who was the president of Oromia Regional State, and chairperson of the defunct Oromo Democratic Party (ODP), was suspended from PP executive membership for his unwillingness to take part in party meetings despite repeated calls, party personalities stated.
Along with Lemma, the deputy president of the Region, Tayiba Hassan and another member of the executive, Miklessa Midhaga (PhD) were also suspended from the party for varied reasons. Tayiba was accused of playing a role in the protests in Shashemene and vicinity, following the killing of the prominent Oromo musician Haccalu Hundessa.
Lemma is credited for leaving his Oromo Democratic Party (ODP) chairmanship for Abiy paving the way for the latter’s premiership. ODP was one of the four members of the defunct EPRDF coalition.
In its decision, the Oromia PP also indicated that, while the decision to suspend the three members is a political decision by the party, legal measures will follow.
The rift between Lemma and Abiy is said to have lasted long and began with the latter’s keenness in dismantling the EPRDF coalition and adopting his Medemer “philosophy” in place of revolutionary democracy. Months ago, Lemma spoke to the Voice of America radio of his disagreement with Abiy and Co. regarding Medemer and EPRDF. He said PP is not a party to uphold and maintain Oromo interests.
The recent decision by PP branch office in Oromia criticized Lemma’s action to speak to the media about his differences, while the party is open for such dissents. It also said Lemma repeatedly avoided meetings held by the party’s executive committee.