Defense Minister Lemma Megerssa no vote of confidence on new party

November 30, 2019 (GMN) - Lemma Megersa, the Defense Minister and Deputy Chairman of the Oromo Democratic Party (ODP) turn his back on PM Abiy.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is facing opposition from one of the closest allies in his proposal to merge the ruling coalition into a new party.

Defense Minister Lemma Megersa said he disagrees with the rushed merger of political parties, according to an interview with the Voice of America. Lemma is the deputy chairman of Abiy’s Oromo Democratic Party.

Lemma said he also opposes Abiy’s new philosophy to unite the country, called “Medemer,” directly translated as “to add.”

Lemma’s comments come ahead of general elections expected in 2020, raising more challenges to the success of a new unity party. The merger has the support of all coalition members, even though it faced opposition from Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which was a former leading member.

The ruling coalition has been in power for 30 years in Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous country. The Nobel Peace Prize-winning prime minister has vowed the general election would be democratic. (Gambella Media)