After 28 years, the Oromo Peoples Democratic Organization (OPDO) rebranded itself to the Oromo Democratic Party (ODP) and introduced the anthem and a new logo which features Oda tree and Geda colors (red, black and white) on its 9th Congress at Jimma town, in South West Ethiopia last week.
The party officials said that the changes were introduced to reflect the new chapter of struggle the party has reached. Being one of the four member parties of the ruling coalition in Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), it has become major power player within the coalition.
Apart from rebranding its name, the party also retired its long-serving veterans and founders from the leadership; and it has brought new young leaders to the front to fill in the positions. What is significance of retiring veteran politicians who have long experiences in the party and replacing them with the young leaders?
Lidetu Alemu (PhD), Lecturer in Organizational Leadership at Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology, said that what the party has done is what he calls it the leadership succession which is proper and
acceptable in any party or organization. “Handing over the power to the next generation significantly improves the leadership within the party. Here, the question is how is it done? Is the succession democratic? Is the purpose to improve the leadership? Is it done intentionally?
Provided that the answer is ‘yes’, this kind of leadership succession is essential.”
Dr. Lidetu added that if the party has brought the young leaders to top position considering that they would sustain the ongoing political reform it had already started, the party in particular and the nation in general benefit much from this kind of practice.
“If these young leaders are more energetic, motivated, visionary and skillful enough to accommodate the prevailing diversity and meet the demands of the positions, trusting them for such big responsibilities would transform the leadership within the party,” he said.
“More importantly,” Dr. Lidetu added, “bringing the new and young leaders to the front may reinforce new insights, well coordinated commitment, new influence, new ideas and fresh perspectives to the existing
leadership culture. Besides, the young leaders are relatively continuous learners to sharpen their leadership skills that would produce lasting effect. This has significant contribution in transforming party’s leadership.”
Dr. Lidetu also appreciates the veteran politicians who handed over the position to the younger ones. “Conscious leaders do not hold their positions till death. Realizing the benefits of their party and people, they
take time to plan for leadership succession to ensure leadership continuity with lasting fruits,” he said.
The party also kissed good bye to fourteen senior members of leadership that served the party for a very long time including
Abba Dula Gemeda who served as party chairman, President of Oromia State, and House of Speaker of the Federal Parliament since the inception of the party said
Abba Dula Gemeda who served as party chairman, President of Oromia State, and House of Speaker of the Federal Parliament since the inception of the party is one of the retiring leaders. He said, “I am happy
to pass the responsibility to the next leader. In the last 28 years, I have been serving my party with utmost commitment and responsibility. I believe I have discharged my duties effectively; I also continue
sharing my experiences to ensure the leadership continuity.”
Dr. Milkessa Midega is one of the young leaders who came to the front. He said, “We have shouldered a grand national responsibility to transform the nation along the path of peace and forgiveness regardless
of the current challenging circumstances.”
Concerning the logo and name, Dr. Lidetu said, “Rebranding the name and the logo may have contributions to improve leadership if leadership practice accompanies.”