Ethiopia People Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRD) is a political party in charge of government power since 1991. EPRDF is established in 1989 out of Rebel group to party transformation with the view to oust the military government called Derg. It is a coalition of four parties political organization i.e. Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF)- which is an architect of EPRDF, Amhara National Democratic Movements (ANDM) in 1980,  Oromo People Liberation Organization (OPDO ) and Southern Ethiopian People Democratic Movement ( SEPDM)  However, in spite of the nominally coalition structure of the EPRDF, from the beginning the TPLF provided the leadership and ideological direction to other members of the coalition. To maintain the dominant position within the coalition the TPLF has transferred its rebel time internal governance network  that focuses on traditional Marxist Leninist organizational lines, with an emphasis on “democratic centralism”; and a tradition of hierarchically organizational structure to the newly established political organization i.e. EPRDF. Consequently, the EPRDF intraparty network and governance system is dominated by the use of ML (Marxist-Leninist) authoritarian methods and hegemonic control, rigid hierarchical leadership; Democratic centralism, the dominance of the party apparatus behind the façade of regional and local autonomy, an extensive patron-client mechanisms;  the use of force to silence opposition within and outside the party; intertwined State institutions and the party system and excessive reliance on party entity instead of state administration units; and gim gema (self-evaluation)  are worth mentioning. These intraparty network and governance system have severely limited genuine democratization within the party as well as hampered the democratization process in the country.  The party is facing increasing pressure and challenge from within the party and the public at large demanding equal status and fair political economic representation. In effect, EPRDF is in deep crisis shattered by internal divisions, crises as well as external public pressure forcing the party to entertain democratic principles and culture. Hence, it is recommended that the organizational structure and the values and principles governing the organization should be revisited within the framework of democracy which allows adaptability and flexibility given the various change agents in the socio-cultural, economic, political environment.  

How to Cite
Bayu, T. (2019). Fault Lines within the Ethiopian People Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF): Intraparty Network and Governance system. International Journal of Contemporary Research and Review, 10(02), 20592-20602. https://doi.org/10.15520/ijcrr.v10i02.662
Online First
Feb 7, 2019
Abstract Views
PDF Downloads
XML Downloads
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


EPRDF from Rebel group-to-party transformation:

EPRDF Fault Line: Intraparty Network and Governance system:

Conclusion and Recommendation:


  1. Aalen, Lovise.: Ethnic Federalism in a Dominant Party State: The Ethiopian Experience 1991-2000. Bergen: Chr. Michelsea, Institut Development Studies and Human Rights, 2002.

  2. Adegehe, A. K. “Federalism and Ethnic Conflict in Ethiopia: A Comparative Study of the Somali and Benishangul Gumuz Regions”, Doctoral Thesis, Department of Political Science, Leiden University; 2009.

  3. Alemseged Abbay, “Diversity and state- building in Ethiopia”, African Affairs, vol. 103, no. 413 ( 2004 ), p. 610.

  4. Andrew H. van de Ven and Marshall Scott Poole 1995 Explaining Development and Change in Organizations Author(s): Andrew

  1. Aregawi Berhe, A Political history of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (1975- 1991) (Los Angeles: Tsehai, 2009), p. 170

  2. Asnake K. ( 2013 ). Ethiopian Federalism and Conflicts in Ethiopia: Comparative Regional Studies. London: Taylor and Francis.

  3. Assefa Fiseha.: Theory versus Practice in the Implementation of Ethiopia’s Ethnic Federalism, in David Turton ed. 2006, Ethnic Federalism: The Ethiopian Experience in Comparative Perspective. Oxford: James Currey,2006

  4. Clapham Road, London SW9 OQH. Telephone: (01 7375585) October 1989 Layout: Petra Pryke (01243 1464) Printed at: Aldgate Press (01 2473015)

  5. de Zeeuw, J., 2007. From Soldiers to Politicians: Transforming Rebel Movements after Civil War. Lynne Reinner, Boulder.

  6. Deonandan Kalowatie et al, 2007. From Revolutionary Movements to Political parties, case from Latin America and Africa. Palgrave MacmillanTM, NY

  7. EPRDF program”, EPRDF, 2005, at Eprdffiles/Basicdoc/Basicdocuments_files/EP RDF_Program.htm.

  8. Grzymala-Busse, A., 2002. Redeeming the Communist Past. Cambridge Univ. Press, , Cambridge.

  9. Harmel, R., Janda, K., 1994. An integrated theory of party goals and party change. Journal of Theoretical Politics 6, 259–287.

  10. International Crisis Group “Ethiopia: Ethnic Federalism and Its Discontents”, Africa Report No.153 ( 2009 ). (Last consulted: 27 May 2017).

  11. Ishiyama John and Anna Batta, 2011. Swords into plowshares: The organizational transformation of rebel groups into political


  1. Changes in Party Identity Janda Kenneth, Harmel Robert, Edens Christine, Goff Patricia. Party Politics.1995-apr;:171-196. [ CrossRef ] [Google Scholar]
  2. Discomfiture of democracy? The 2005 election crisis in Ethiopia and its aftermath Abbink J. African Affairs.2006-apr;:173-199. [ CrossRef ] [Google Scholar]
  3. $\less$B$\greater$Lovise Aalen$\less$/B$\greater$. $\less$I$\greater$The Politics of Ethnicity in Ethiopia: Actors, Power and Mobilization under Ethnic Federalism$\less$/I$\greater$, E. J. Brill Publishers, 2011, paper, 214pp. $89.00 Udogu EIke. African and Asian Studies.2012-jan;:250-254. [ CrossRef ] [Google Scholar]
  4. Party-building on the Heels of War: El Salvador, Bosnia, Kosovo and Mozambique Manning Carrie. Twenty Years of Studying Democratization.2018;:4-23. [ CrossRef ] [Google Scholar]
  5. TPLF: reform or decline? Tadesse Medhane, Young John. Review of African Political Economy.2003-sep;:389-403. [ CrossRef ] [Google Scholar]
  6. States and Markets: Neoliberal Limitations and the Case for a Developmental State Zenawi Meles. Good Growth and Governance in AfricaRethinking Development Strategies.2011;:140-174. [ CrossRef ] [Google Scholar]
  7. Identity Politics, Democratisation and State Building in Ethiopia\textquotesingles Federal Arrangement Mengisteab K. African Journal on Conflict Resolution.2008-apr. [ CrossRef ] [Google Scholar]
  8. The State, Competing Ethnic Nationalisms and Democratisation in Ethiopia Gudina Merera. African Journal of Political Science.2005-feb. [ CrossRef ] [Google Scholar]
  9. Organizational Symbolism. Kilduff Martin, Pondy LouisR, Frost PeterJ, Morgan Gareth, Dandridge ThomasC. Administrative Science Quarterly.1986-mar. [ CrossRef ] [Google Scholar]
  10. Clientelism and Ethiopia\textquotesingles post-1991 decentralisation Chanie Paulos. The Journal of Modern African Studies.2007-jul. [ CrossRef ] [Google Scholar]
  11. Ethiopia, the TPLF, and the Roots of the 2001 Political Tremor Milkias Paulos. Northeast African Studies.2008;:13-66. [ CrossRef ] [Google Scholar]
  12. Book Review: Pausewang, Siegfried, Kjetil Tronvoll, and Lovise Aalen (eds.). ETHIOPIA SINCE THE DERG: A DECADE OF DEMOCRATIC PRETENSION AND PERFORMANCE. London and New York: Zed Books, 2002. Ofcansky Thomas. Africa Today.2005-jun;:111-112. [ CrossRef ] [Google Scholar]
  13. Vaughan Sarah and Tronvoll Kjetil. The Culture of Power in Contemporary Ethiopian Political Life. Stockholm: Sida, 2003. 177 pp. Annexes. Tables. Notes. Bibliography. Price not reported. Paper. Carlson AndrewJ. African Studies Review.2005-sep;:192-193. [ CrossRef ] [Google Scholar]
  14. The Last Post-Cold War Socialist Federation Abebe SemahagnGashu. .2016. [ CrossRef ] [Google Scholar]
  15. Challenges of Gender Equality in Ethiopia: Some Observations Temesgen SirawMegibaru. Asian Man (The) - An International Journal.2014. [ CrossRef ] [Google Scholar]
  16. Political Marketing: Exploring the Nexus between Theory and Practice in Ethiopia (Comparative Study between Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front and Coalition for Unity and Democratic Party) Girma Mulugeta. Open Journal of Business and Management.2016;:329-344. [ CrossRef ] [Google Scholar]
  17. Diagnosing Corruption in Ethiopia Plummer Janelle. .2012. [ CrossRef ] [Google Scholar]
  18. Weaknesses of Autocracy Promotion Way Lucan. Journal of Democracy.2016;:64-75. [ CrossRef ] [Google Scholar]
  19. Dimensions of Party Development: A Study in Organizational Dynamics Wellhofer ESpencer. The Journal of Politics.1972-feb;:153-182. [ CrossRef ] [Google Scholar]
  20. THE EFFECTIVENESS OF PARTY ORGANIZATION: A CROSS-NATIONAL, TIME SERIES ANALYSIS WELLHOFER ESPENCER. European Journal of Political Research.1979-jun;:205-224. [ CrossRef ] [Google Scholar]
  21. Peasant revolution in Ethiopia Young John. .1997. [ CrossRef ] [Google Scholar]
  22. Peasant Revolution in Ethiopia: The Tigray People\textquotesingles Liberation Front, 1975-1991 Woldemariam Yohannes, Young John. African Studies Review.1998-sep. [ CrossRef ] [Google Scholar]
  23. Ethnicity and power in Ethiopia Young John. Review of African Political Economy.1996-dec;:531-542. [ CrossRef ] [Google Scholar]