The Tigrayan People Liberation Front (TPLF) purged three of its executive members, as the Central Committee’s marathon meeting draws to close.
On Sunday, TPLF chairman Abay Woldu was removed from his post. The CEO and Dep CEO of the TPLF patastatal EFFORT, Azeb Mesfin and Beyene Mekeru, respectively, were removed from the Executive Committee. Abay Woldu and Beyene Mekeru are to continue as members of the Central Committee. Azeb Mesfin is suspended until her dismissal is rubber stamped by the Congress.
The 9-members Executive Committee and the 45-members Central Committee of TPLF have been conducting one of the strongest “gimgema” (organizational and individual appraisal) meeting since the first week of October in Mekelle and Addis Ababa.
Another 18 veterans, who have left the leadership “with honor” in the past decade, have taken part in the Central Committee meeting.
The latest session has been ongoing in Mekelle city since November 6. Following the endorsement of the report by the Central Committee on November 8, the leadership embarked on criticism and self-criticism sessions.
Abay Woldu’s stature was conspicuously weak since the adoption of the 59 page report, which was repared by Alem Gebrewahd, the head of the Secretariat and member of the Executive Committee, and critical of the state of the party and the government.
The report was adopted by 5 to 3 votes in the executive committee, with Abay Woldu, Adisalem Balema, and Azeb Mesfin voting in opposition. The Central Committee had redacted a section of the report that labels Abay Woldu “populist”, when it adopted the report, HornAffairs learned from sources in the meeting.
Yet, on Sunday, the Central Committee voted to strip Abay Woldu of the chairmanship and remove him from the Executive Committee, leaving him as an ordinary member of the Central Committee.
Azeb Mesfin, widow of the late PM Meles Zenawi and CEO of EFFORT conglomerate, was another important figure to be removed from the executive committee.
HornAffairs reported two weeks ago that Azeb Mesfin walked out of the meeting amid a criticism and self-criticism session.
Azeb Mesfin returned to the meeting on November 23, after submitting twice letters apology for walking out. Nonetheless, she ended up being expelled from the Executive Committee and suspended from the Central Committee on Sunday, when the leadership voted on her fate. Removal from the Central Committee needs to be rubber-stamped by the party Congress.
The third Executive Committee who got expelled on Sunday was Beyene Mekeru, an ally of Azeb Mesfin. He was vice president of Tigray region until 2015, when he was appointed as dep CEO of EFFORT.
Beyene is said to have presented damning criticisms on Azeb Mesfin, as the two fell apart recently. However, he was also removed from the Executive Committee and allowed to continue as mere member of the Central Committee.
Adisalem Balema, vice president of Tigray and Alem Gebrewahd, head of TPLF Secretariat, were reprimanded on Sunday. Both joined the Executive Committee in 2015, according to HornAffairs sources.
Debretsion Gebremichael, dep. Chairman of TPLF and Minister of Information Communication Development (MICTD), Getachew Assefa, Director General of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), and Fetlework Gebre-egziabher, department head at EPRDF secretariat, passed without reprimand.
Debretsion joined the Executive Committee in 2010 and became Dep Chairman immediately after Meles Zenawi’s passing in 2012, while Getachew and Fetlework joined the Executive Committee since 2015.
The ninth member of the Executive Committee, Tedros Adhanom, have already vacated his post after his election as Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) last May.
The TPLF Executive Committee have now four vacant seats, including the chairmanship, to be filled in the coming days. It is not clear yet whether the Central Committee will only vote to fill the vacant seats or to elect the entire Executive Committee anew.
Debretsion Gebremichael, Getachew Assefa and Alem Gebrewahd are considered front-runners for the top post.
The Central Committee have continued voting on the fate of other members.
The criticism and self-criticism of individual members of the leadership was conducted in four groups in the previous weeks, according to HornAffairs sources present in the meeting. As of last weekend, the Central Committee is reviewing of the gimgema of each member and voting on disciplinary measures.
Up to ten members of the Central Committee are expected to be reprimanded or expelled in the coming days.
Please read: TPLF poised for reform, Azeb Mesfin walks out