Regional power grab attempt causes rare discord in Ethiopia coalition

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - A failed regional coup in Ethiopia has exposed rare divisions in the alliance that has dominated the country for three decades, with two of the four ethnic parties that form the ruling coalition trading insults in a public feud.

FILE PHOTO: Ethiopia's Government Communications Affairs Office Minister Getachew Reda addresses a news conference on the violent protests that have been taking place in the Oromiya Region from last November, in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa February 25, 2016. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

While there have been disagreements among the parties in the past, analysts described the acrimonious exchange this week between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Amhara Democratic Party (ADP) as among the most serious yet.

The two groups have shared power with two other ethnic parties since 1991 in a coalition, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), that tolerated little dissent until Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took power last year and launched political reforms.

The new tension between them arose after a rogue militia tried to seize power last month in the northern Amhara region, ruled by the ADP. The authorities blamed the June 22 attempted regional coup on Asamnew Tsige, a rogue ADP member, killed in fighting on the outskirts of the regional capital Bahir Dar.

In recent days, the TPLF has accused the ADP of having stood by while Asamnew trained and armed a militia in the lead-up to the uprising, and of having failed to denounce him since.

“The TPLF would have difficulty working with its so-called sister party, which hasn’t even dared to stare the killer in the eye,” Getachew Reda, executive member of TPLF and former national communication minister, told Reuters on Thursday.

The ADP responded by accusing the TPLF of being “responsible for the current political crisis in the country. The TPLF has no moral or practical ground to consider itself as the only guardian of Ethiopia,” it said in a statement late on Thursday. It gave no further details. Read More...

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