Addis Abeba — In what could potentially be a major blow to Abiy Ahmed's philosophy of "Medemer" and his subsequent move to dismantle the ruling EPRDF in favor of the newly forming Prosperity Party, Lemma Megerssa, Minister of Defense and Deputy Chairman of the Oromo Democratic Party (ODP), said he does not subscribe to both "Medemer" as a philosophy and the merger of EPRDF to form Prosperity Party.
In an exclusive interview with VOA Afaan Oromoo, Lemma, a close ally of PM Abiy who also stepped down as chairman of then OPDO, a decision which had eventually helped Abiy assume his current position, said he has been vocal about both from the "very beginning" because "it is not something I agreed to."
Lemma Megerssa's statement in full:
"Generally right from the start, I had informed the executive committee and all of them know in details that it was not something I agreed to. Because I believe the merger of this party is wrong and even if it was right it is not the time for it, I have made myself not to be a part to it.
The reason I said it is wrong is, number one, the ODP leaders have promised to answer some of the big questions the Oromo people have entrusted us with. Our people gave us these question as leaders of the ODP and not to this nationally formed party. Doing this without answering these questions is wrong and it's failing to deliver on the promises we made. So we have to first answer on the challenges they gave us."
The VOA Afaan Oromo said it will air the full interview after it has received statement from the ODP leadership.
Although long known to the power corridors, Lemma's official rebuttal came just two days after ODP's General Assembly decided to dissolve the party and join PM Abiy's Prosperity Party, a decision EPRDF's secretariat said was "unanimous." AS