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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Leadership crisis grips UDJ

Members of the Unity for Democracy and Justice Party (UDJ) that oppose the resignation of the former president, Gizachew Shiferaw (Eng.), and his replacement, Belay Fikadu, are accusing the new leadership of violating the principles and the bylaws of the party.
This was disclosed at a press conference held at Sarem Hotel on  Saturday where Ayele Semeneh, member of national council and eastern zone coordinator, Sida Haile, Sidama zone representative and Birhanu Fekena, western zone coordinator of the party, argued that new leadership had seized power illegally.
In their statement, the three members claimed, “The leadership of the party is overtaken by groups who are driven by some forces from the diaspora and the resignation of the former president is illegal and forceful.”
They claimed that, “the leadership of the party is controlled by groups who have a hidden agenda and it is overriding the culture of the party that is mainly resolving its problems through dialogue.” They therefore, demanded discussion over the issues to restore the culture of the party.
The Reporter asked that if the culture of the party was resolving its challenges through discussion why the three members had chosen to give a press conference instead of discussing it within the party system. “We tried to discuss the issue to find a solution, but the leadership is not willing,” he replied, adding “we are doing this not for the sake of power but for the respect of the bylaws and principles of the party.”
In defense of the group's actions, Asrat Abreha, acting head of public relation of UDJ, told The Reporter that “the highest body of the party is the general assembly and the general assembly approved the election of the new president by the national council of the party, and therefore their claim is baseless and they themselves are violating the principles and bylaws of the party.”
 “These individuals who are blaming the leadership were part of the election process of the new president and for them to claim that the principles and bylaws are violated is completely absurd,” he said.
He said that the case raised by the individuals was being inspected by the discipline committee of the party and that they had failed to appear before the committee and explain and defend their decisions, adding that they don’t have any legal grounds to accuse the leadership of  not complying with the bylaws of the party. 
“We don’t have any hidden agenda. However, they might have another mission to accomplish, and we are assigned to protect the party. We don’t relinguish the leadership in favor of individuals pursuing illegal goals”.
The Ethiopian Federal Democratic Unity Forum (Medrek) has called for the cancellation and re-election of public observers whom will be tasked with following up and observing the May national election at all levels. The observers' election was conducted throughout the country on December 21.
During a press conference delivered by Beyene Petors (Prof.), Merera Gudina (PhD) and Gebru Gebremariam, president, head of external affairs and secretary of the party, respectively, the party accused the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) for siding with the ruling party – the Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).
The press conference that was held yesterday at the headquarters of the party located around Sidist Kilo near the Addis Ababa University main campus focused on different issues  surrounding the upcoming election.
According to the president, the major reason to demand for re-election is that the party believes that the candidates who ran for the public observer position have political and partisanship affiliations that is mostly favoring the ruling EPRDF and that the election lacked sufficient publicities to rally the public to voting stations.
In this regard, the president also commented on what would be the possible solution for the problems that the party claims to have plagued the election. “The election must be canceled and re-election should be conducted so that it can achieve its desired goals as per the rules of the game.”
It is to be remembered that, deputy chairperson of NEBE told The Reporter that “despite the allegations, the election of public observers was conducted freely and fairly”.
“We invited all parties to participate in the election of the public observers and to nominate their candidates. If they fail to come, it is not the board’s responsibility,” Addisu told The Reporter.
The board also announced that more than a quarter of a million public observers were elected and that the election of public observers has given the first glimpse to what the public participation might look like in the upcoming election which will be held on May 24.
Currently, Medrek has four member parties which are the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), Sidama Liberation Movement (SLM), Union of Tigreans for Democracy and Sovereignty (Arena) and the Ethiopian Social Democracy- Southern Ethiopia People's Democratic Union.
Djibouti plays host to some of the world's most powerful militaries including China, France, Japan, Russia and the US. And aside from hosting the logistical hub for US military operations in East Africa and the Arabian Gulf, France, the former colonial power, maintains its largest military base in Africa in the East African country.
Camp Lemonnier, a 500-acre base housing some 3,200 US soldiers and civilians, sits on the long sea road abutting Ambouli International Airport.
Djiboutian soldiers guard the gate, and across the road ageing yellow taxis bake in the 40-degree heat.
At the next junction is Djibouti's new police training academy, built with money from the US.
Local police graduates now stand guard over what is the most internationalised military zone in the world.
Next to the police academy is Japan's military base, then those of Italy and Germany. Further along is France's Camp Monclar.
Under an international anti-piracy programme, Russia has naval and air facilities on the Gulf of Tadjoura.
China signed a pact with Djibouti in February, involving military training and weapons sales, and established its first base outside its sovereign territory "to protect Chinese citizens and national interests", officials said.
That deal prompted a visit by US national security adviser Susan Rice to Djibouti in March, followed up by an invitation to Guelleh to visit president Barack Obama in May.
Djibouti and the US agreed a fresh 20-year lease for Camp Lemonnier for $63m a year plus another $7m in aid.
But Guelleh insisted that the US move its busy drone base, from which it targets Somalia, Yemen and neighbouring states, to a distant airstrip.
Previously, the drones had been allowed to use a runway at the international airport.
Before the bombing of a popular restaurant in May, foreign soldiers wandered freely in Djibouti city, frequenting the bars and French-style cafés around Place Menelik.
Now, the foreigners are more cautious and the old drinking haunts have restyled themselves as restaurants in deference to the more assertive Islamic culture in the city.

Read the original article on Theafricareport.com : Djibouti, where global praetorians gather | East & Horn Africa
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