Almost five months after the death of former Oromia President Alemayehu Atomsa, an investigation into possible foul play has revealed extensive details in the inner party relations of EPRDF, credible inside sources have confirmed. Mr Atomsa was increasingly becoming isolated from the Oromo Peoples Democratic Organization (OPDO) executive committee, according to a freelance investigative journalist who seeks to remain anonymous for safety reasons. Additional sources confirmed that the former president was in fact assassinated by the pro-Azeb Mesfin camp inside both TPLF and OPDO, with the overwhelming consensus pointing to poisoning as the methodology.
Various motives existed for the division inside the TPLF & OPDO branches of the EPRDF, according to the investigation. Since Meles Zenawi passed away, the level of corruption by ruling party officials has risen to alarming rates, it concluded.
“Despite his stubbornness, Meles actually imposed a level of order, leadership and accountability inside EPRDF. But without Meles, party corruption has gone wild,” a former government source stated.
One special case was the dispute between Atomsa and Mrs Azeb Mesfin’s business agents who were planning to steal billions of birr worth of gold from the Oromia government. But Mr. Atomsa opposed all forms of corruption, including by the Azeb camp. He “genuinely believed the ethnic federalism and other EPRDF ideologies were, on paper, the best way forward for his Oromo people” however he personally fought against EPRDF officials who engaged in corruption. The investigation revealed that Mr Atomsa was poisoned at least three times, including inside his drinks, leading to medical complications and his eventual death.
Another main reason for interparty dispute was between regional groups and clans inside Oromia. The “Arsi Oromo” camp inside OPDO was openly working against the “Walaga Oromo” camp. The Walaga naive Mr Atomsa, for instance, initially opposed the construction of the Anole memorial monument in Arsi because he believed all Ethiopian ethnic groups were victims of past leaders. But the Arsi camp of OPDO suggested that the Arsi people were more patriotic Oromos and more brave for fighting the 19th century Emperor Menelik. Soon after Atomsa passed away, the new President of Oromia from Arsi region, Mr Muktar Kedir, speed up and completed the monument’s construction inside Arsi.
In addition to Mr Atomsa, the ANDM Amhara branch of EPRDF also opposed the building of the Anole Monument. The ANDM mocked the monument and suggested that they should also get monuments to remember “the genocide of Amharas in Hararghe zones” of Ethiopia when the OLF was part of the transitional government. In some parts of eastern Oromia, including Dire Dawa, the Amhara population has allegedly been reduced from over 30% in 1990 to under 10% in 2000.
The investigation also revealed that some top TPLF officials aggressively exploit the pre-existing animosity between the Muslim eastern Oromos, the Evangelical Wallaga Oromos and the Orthodox Shewan Oromos. The TPLF is still playing with OPDO “like a toy” the investigation concluded.