Building Ethiopia's Revolutionary Party

by Patrick Gilkes
published in MER106

In April 1976, more than 18 months after taking power, Ethiopia’s ruling Provisional Military Administrative Council (PMAC) finally provided an elaborated ideological basis for the Ethiopian revolution. The National Democratic Revolution Program, published that month, included many of the changes demanded by the radical civilian left: widespread nationalizations; rural and urban land reform; establishment of peasant and urban (kebele) neighborhood associations; a mass army; reorganized trade unions and other mass organizations. [1] The document also allowed for considerable devolution of authority and responsibility to the elected leadership of these new organizations.

Prominent among the stipulations of the new program was the need for a vanguard proletarian political party. Ethiopia had no political parties prior to the revolution, although several had emerged in the months after the overthrow of the Selassie regime. The most prominent and well-organized of these were the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP) and the All-Ethiopia Socialist Movement (MEISON). [2] Both claimed to be the vanguard party in embryo. In the 1975-1976 period, the major differences between them appeared to be tactical rather than ideological. The EPRP demanded the immediate establishment of a civilian government, while MEISON acknowledged that a military regime could be “progressive,” especially if it carried out the main demands of the radical left. It was therefore prepared to cooperate, “critically” and for the time being, with the PMAC.

Another area of difference was over Eritrea and the guerrilla struggle for independence there. EPRP showed much greater sympathy for the guerrillas, particularly for the more radical Eritrean Peoples’ Liberation Front (EPLF). Many early EPRP cadres were trained and armed by the EPLF, and the EPRP’s armed wing used EPLF-held areas as a base when it commenced armed struggle in the north. MEISON accepted the right of self-determination for the nationalities, including the right of secession (which the EPRP was itself ambivalent on), but it denied the revolutionary validity of the Eritrean struggle in general and the EPLF in particular. The PMAC, in its National Democratic Revolution Program, allowed for self-determination for the nationalities, limited to regional autonomy and not secession.

The NDRP established a political school, Yekatit 66, and a Provisional Office for Mass Organizational Affairs (POMOA). Both the EPRP and MEISON were represented by supporters on the original 14-person steering committee of POMOA. MEISON clearly was dominant, though, with five of its supporters to the EPRP’s two. When the EPRP withdrew from POMOA, as they shortly did, they were replaced by additional MEISON supporters. Other groups represented in POMOA were the WAS (Labor) League, ECHAAT (Oppressed Peoples’ Revolutionary Struggle), MALERED (Marxist-Leninist Revolutionary Organization) and Abyotawit Seded (Revolutionary Flame). There were also several persons classified as independents. Only two of the original 14 members of POMOA proved sufficiently agile to survive to become members of COPWE’s central committee in 1980 and one of these, Tesfaye Shewaye, the Minister of Culture, lost his place within a few months.

Irreconcilable Differences

POMOA was to be the organizing body of the new party, but in late 1976 and early 1977 the rivalry between the EPRP on the one hand and MEISON and the other groups supporting the PMAC on the other burst into open war. The EPRP was then the target of substantial harassment, and took the decision to withdraw from POMOA and embark on an urban guerrilla campaign of assassination, along with its rural operations. Hundreds died in shootouts in Addis Ababa and other cities.

These clashes were also reflected within the ruling council, where personal rivalries sharpened political differences. Capt. Alemayheu Haile, chairman of PMAC’s administration committee, and Capt. Moges Wolde Michael, chairman of the economic committee, pushed through a reorganization of the council that made Alemayheu its first secretary general and severely pruned the powers of the first vice president, Lt. Col. Mengistu Haile-Miriam. [3] Mengistu hit back in February 1977 with a putsch that left him at the helm and his rivals, including the figurehead chairman of the PMAC, Brig. Gen. Teferi Banti, all dead.

This episode reflected political and ideological differences within the ruling military committees. Mengistu, a founder of the Seded group, was close to MEISON leaders and definitely opposed to the EPRP. Alemayheu and Moges, though, had been in contact with EPRP leaders in the middle of 1976. Only days before Mengistu’s February takeover, Gen. Teferi publicly called for a policy of widespread reconciliation, and pointedly refrained from castigating the EPRP. In the wake of Mengistu’s takeover, the full weight of state power was brought to bear against the EPRP, in the "red terror" campaign of 1977 and 1978. By the end of 1977, the EPRP had been made virtually impotent.

MEISON, its main rival, almost immediately thereafter fell afoul of the PMAC. With the EPRP for the most part out of the way, MEISON made it clear that it felt the time was ripe for greater civilian control of government. Most threatening to the PMAC was the MEISON campaign for control of the “peoples’ militia” then being formed. Some 150,000 men were in training at the Tatek militia camp near Addis in this period. Coming at the time of the Somali invasion of Ogaden, this particular initiative impressed the PMAC as dangerously “opportunistic.”

Mengistu’s response to MEISON’s ambitions was swift. The regime disbanded the existing POMOA committee, a MEISON stronghold, and dismissed most of the lecturers at the political school, nearly all of whom were affiliated with MEISON. Mengistu set up a new political office committee composed of one representative from each of the five ostensibly pro-government organizations, which earlier in the year had come together in a somewhat fragile Union of Ethiopian Marxist-Leninists (EMALEBH). Within a month, MEISON responded to this threat to its hegemony by going underground. [4] But it moved too late. Most of its leadership were captured or killed. ECHAAT, essentially an offshoot of MEISON, was suspended for its “narrow nationalism” and its involvement with the Oromo Liberation Front. MALEREB also fell afoul of Seded and WAS in 1978 and it, too, fragmented and disappeared.

WAS and Seded, the two remaining organizations, were originally conceived as the civilian and military wings of a single movement by WAS founder Sennay Likke. If any of the existing organizations could have cooperated politically, it would seem to have been these two. But ideological differences -- largely revolving around Ethiopia’s relations with the Soviet Union -- gave rise to charges that WAS cadre had infiltrated Seded at the highest levels. WAS’ Maoist tendencies and its self-defined anti-revisionism clashed with the pro-Soviet leanings of the military leadership. Capt. Legesse Asfaw, for instance, chairman of PMAC’s military/political affairs committee after February 1977, had received political training in the USSR. The alliance on an official level grew steadily closer in 1977-1978, with the flood of Soviet military equipment to Ethiopia for the Ogaden campaign.

In mid-1978, WAS League leaders argued that the political committee, which they now controlled, should be responsible for all cadres, civilian and military. Capt. Legesse insisted that military cadres were the concern of PMAC’s military/political affairs committee. WAS leaders simultaneously criticized Mengistu for being dictatorial and starting a personality cult. When Mengistu discovered the extent of WAS infiltration of Seded, he promptly threw his weight behind Legesse, to deal the WAS League a blow from which it has not recovered.

This wave of arrests and executions appeared to leave Seded as the core of the new party. But frictions within Seded and EMALEDH (though emasculated it remained the body in charge of the political office and the ideological school) to drop entirely the idea of merging existing groups to form a proletarian party. “The correctness of this method cannot be doubted because the revolutionaries of other countries have shown its validity in practice,” explained the EMALEDH leadership somewhat defensively in its paper, Yehibret Demts: “However the member organizations of EMALEDH have been carrying out rumor campaigns against one another.... Each organization, in an attempt to appear stronger, has been recruiting counter-revolutionaries into their ranks.... Mass organizations have been made to reflect the same differences.... So EMALEDH has come to conclude that a working class party cannot be established by the simple method of hitching organizations together.... The working class party can only be formed by merging militants armed with Marxism-Leninism instead of merging organizations with one another.” [5]

Organizing the Party

EMALEDH survived, on paper, until the Committee for Organizing the Party of the Workers of Ethiopia (COPWE) was announced in September 1979. At this point, all other political groups agreed to dissolve themselves, though not without some carping, especially from elements in Seded. COPWE’s progress was slow. Its formal proclamation came in December 1979. The names of the central committee were only made public in June 1980, at COPWE’s first congress. The delay stemmed from Mengistu’s determination that its membership be loyal above all to his version of the revolution. The organization’s second congress is scheduled for June or July 1982.

Both Mengistu and the USSR would agree on the need for a strong centralized party, though not necessarily on who should control it. The Soviets consider COPWE’s recruitment to be opportunistic and factional. Its ideological purity, in the absence of a party program, remains suspect. The USSR pushed for the formation of a party back in 1975-1976, and originally suggested MEISON as the basis, pressing MEISON’s claims even after it split with the Derg in August 1977. Subsequently, the Soviets put their weight behind Seded, and thus in 1978-1979 they favored Legesse. Mengistu, himself a founding member, might have accepted Seded, but for the growing problems between senior officers and Seded cadre which threatened his power base in the armed forces.

Mengistu has tried to remain above factionalism. Despite attempts to suggest a long commitment to socialism, he has always been more attuned to the strong nationalist element in the Derg and the armed forces, which is critical of the USSR despite the massive military aid (which of course has to be paid for). This probably accounts for Mengistu’s reluctance to grant Soviet requests for a naval base in the Dahlak Islands, and his efforts to secure economic aid outside the socialist bloc. In this context, it is significant that some former WAS members and leading critics of the USSR were released from prison early last year and several are now in COPWE.

One PMAC member expressed the disillusionment of his military colleagues with “quarreling intellectuals who continually betray us,” and another member said firmly that “discipline” was the one necessary ingredient for the party: “Otherwise we won’t be able to weed out non-genuine revolutionaries.” [6] Mengistu himself interviewed all those he subsequently appointed to the central committee.

Senior PMAC members were particularly concerned with the need to control military cadres, whether members of Seded or not. In the 1978-1979 period, there were numerous allegations that NCOs and junior officers were interfering with military operations. In a July 1979 battle north of Nakfa, Eritrea, some 3,000 troops died in an attempt to outflank EPLF guerrillas after the battle had already been effectively lost. Mengistu was thereby able to win the support of senior officers. He promoted a number to the rank of general in early 1979. At an August 1979 meeting of Seded military cadres, Mengistu was able to defeat suggestions that Seded (and thus Legesse) should be at the center of the proposed party. Mengistu subsequently removed Legesse as chairman of PMAC’s military/political affairs committee, and appointed him as head of COPWE’s organization committee. In Legesse’s place, Mengistu appointed Col. Gebreyes Wolde Hanna, who also became political commissar of the Ministry of Defense and then head of the Supreme Political Department of the army. The minister of defense as of January 1980 was Gen. Tesfaye Gebre-Kidan, another one of Mengistu’s most trusted and strongest supporters in the PMAC.

Col. Gebreyes subsequently managed to secure his grip on the highly organized army political department and its cadres throughout the armed forces. All units have their political officers down to brigade, battalion and lower levels, as do the police force, the navy and air force. Cadres are organized by military/political departments in the sector commands -- North, East, West, South and Center. Each have sections dealing with organization, administration, ideology, agitation and propaganda, youth and public relations. Each section is headed by a political commissar. In the southern sector, this is a PMAC member. Similar departments are also set up for the armed forces and the police at the provincial level. The army now has its own political schools, though virtually all of the present cadres were educated either in the Yekatit 66, or in various East European countries. Since many of the cadres passed through Yekatit 66 while MEISON controlled it, Gebreyes has made a number of changes to ensure loyalty to Mengistu.

Turnover in some positions had been very high for several years, as the political groups vied for position. In a seven month period in 1978, for example, the military/political department of the Ministry of the Interior had three different heads. Between March 1978 and December 1980, the navy’s political department had five heads. The post of political commissar at the main militia training camp at Tatek has been an even more precarious assignment. These posts have become more permanent since the establishment of COPWE, but changes have still occurred within the last couple of years.

No Political Line

COPWE’s first congress failed to provide a political line. The background of many of COPWE's central committee militates against the establishment of anything so definite. Legesse, still considered the most pro-Soviet member of the PMAC, remains a strong force, with support from many former members of Seded and from some members of the PMAC. At the same time, his two deputies in the organization department of COPWE are Alemu Abebe, former mayor of Addis Ababa and once a leading MEISON member, and Shoandagne Belete, once the WAS League representative in POMOA’s central committee. The head of COPWE's ideological committee is Capt. Fikre-Selasie Wogderess, the secretary-general of the PMAC. He and the head of agitation and propaganda, Maj. Girma Neway, were WAS League members and not very sympathetic to Legesse’s views.

The first congress decided that the program of the future party would be the last job of the commission. This has not held up progress in organizing COPWE. The central committee is theoretically chosen by a congress. The first congress, in June 1980, simply endorsed without demur Mengistu’s suggestions for the central committee and the executive committee. Mengistu himself heads both bodies, and he is chairman of COPWE as well. The COPWE office has nine departments: ideology; organization; discipline and control; foreign affairs; armed forces; cooperatives and mass affairs; nationalities; justice, administration and defense; and finance. These committees are subdivided, where necessary. Legesse’s organization committee has departments dealing with: recruitment, training, workers affairs, peasants, youth and women. Under ideology come propaganda and agitation, translation and cultural affairs. A separate editorial board runs COPWE’s paper, Serto Ader.

In each of the country’s 14 administrative regions, an executive committee of COPWE has been set up. This is headed by a representative for the region, and heads of departments to cover ideology, cooperative affairs, organization, youth, women, and discipline and control. Similar seven-member executive committees are in the process of being set up at the levels of province and district. As of early 1982, substantial progress has been made at the provincial level. Little has yet been organized at the district level, though most districts do have production and political cadres.

COPWE and the Military

The delegates to COPWE’s first congress in June 1980, some 1,500 in number, were carefully chosen from the mass organizations created after 1975: the All-Ethiopia Trade Union (AETU), the All-Ethiopia Peasants Association (AEPA), the kebele urban associations, the womens’ and youth organizations.

Most important in this regard is the armed forces, the “men in uniform,” the self-proclaimed “vanguard of the revolution.” Their role, indeed that of the PMAC, is sharply underscored by the membership of the central and executive committees of COPWE. The seven members of the executive committee are the seven leading members of the PMAC’s own Standing Committee. All the other PMAC Standing Committees members are in COPWE’s Central Committee, along with PMAC’s entire Central Committee, a total of 32 in all. [7] Seven of COPWE’s nine departments are headed by PMAC Standing Committee members. All but two of COPWE's regional executive committees are also headed by PMAC members, as is the special region of Assab. Of the 123 members and alternate members of COPWE’s Central Committee in June 1980, 79 were military and police officers, including nearly all the senior members of the military hierarchy. The civilian elements in the committee also represented the existing power structure, most being from the Council of Ministers, or leading civil servants or cadres from ministries, the National Economic Development Council or the political school.

Military participation at the lower levels of COPWE is not so marked as in the Central Committee, though there is a heavy sprinkling of military personnel in the regional and provincial appointments. In this respect COPWE parallels the country’s administrative structure, where there is also a considerable military presence. The government of Ethiopia, of course, has been a military government since 1974. Many of its members, including many of the PMAC, no longer use their ranks. In some cases they have resigned from the forces. This, as well as obsessive secrecy, makes it difficult to establish exact figures. It would seem that at least 45 percent of appointments to the position of provincial administrator between 1975 and 1978 were military officers or NCOs. Since 1978 the figure seems to be nearer 30 percent, but this is probably understated by the dropping of ranks at appointment. In addition, dozens of military personnel have been and are being used in the public sector to act as general managers of factories and to head special developments and projects. Here, too, appointees often drop their military ranks.

The most surprising omissions from the Central Committee in 1980 were workers and peasants, even though representatives from the AETU and AEPA were delegates to the congress. Both bodies had been organized at the national level before COPWE was set up, and the PMAC evidently considered their loyalty to be in doubt. Representatives from both organizations do appear to be involved at COPWE’s lower levels, but regional appointments are firmly controlled from the center. The second general meeting of COPWE’s Central Committee, in February 1981, determined that the AETU and AEPA needed to be restructured, and then brought into COPWE’s centralized framework. Even though PMAC itself had established the AETU in 1975, after disbanding the Confederation of Ethiopian Labor Unions, it still found it necessary to change the elected leadership more than once for being too influenced by MEISON or EPRP, and thus “unreliable.”

The reorganization proclamations, published on March 10, 1982, are firm in their attitudes. The government is taking considerable care to ensure that in the new union elections (the first stage of plant unions were scheduled for April) there will be nominees “devoted to the cause of working people and the fulfillment of COPWE’s mission.” Unions are in the process of being organized at local, provincial, regional and national level. The first area to be reorganized at the regional level was Eritrea, apparently because of the already operating Red Star campaign launched by Lt. Colonel Mengistu Haile-Mariam earlier in the year. The civilian, developmental elements of this campaign were proving, at the end of April at least, more successful than the parallel military efforts to crush the EPLK guerrillas. The regime is similarly reorganizing the peasant associations on the “principle of democratic centralism.” COPWE now has a special section in its organization committee to supervise the peasant association elections at all levels.

The emphasis is on discipline and control. Article Five of the AETU reorganization stresses the need “to fight against the backward and archaic habits inherited from the reactionary regime, to initiate, encourage and teach workers the maintenance of strict discipline, hard work and increased production, and make them conscious of their new socialist tasks.” The National Workers Control Committee, elected in April 1982 to oversee investigations into the whole question of exploitation, waste and corruption, underwent a “meticulous process of choice.” Its 11 members were whittled down from 200 candidates.

Among those finally chosen are several members of the anti-corruption campaign coordinating committee set up last year, and the head of the Arsi region police. All are “trusted comrades.” It is certainly time that COPWE did investigate the problem of corruption, to which Mengistu drew attention last year. When Lt. Demissie Kassaye, a former minister of tea and coffee, ex-head of COPWE’s workers affairs committee and a PMAC member, was given 15 years hard labor last year for corruption, he claimed that most members of the PMAC and the government ought to be standing in the dock with him.

The Nationalities Issue

The PMAC’s policy towards the nationalities in Ethiopia is theoretically committed to regional autonomy, as outlined in the National Democratic Revolution Program:

Given Ethiopia’s existing situation, the problem of nationalities can be resolved if each nationality is accorded full right to self-government. This means that each nationality will have regional autonomy to decide on matters concerning its internal affairs. Within its environs, it has the right to determine the contents of its political, economic and social life, use its own language and elect its own leaders and administrators to head its internal organs. This right of self-government of nationalities will be implemented in accordance with all democratic procedures and principles. [8]

This highly centralized approach derives from the fact that the PMAC has faced, since it came to power, opposition by movements among different nationalities -- in Eritrea (itself a multinational region), among the Tigrinya speakers of Tigray region, among the Afars, Somalis, Oromos and others. Several of these movements, in the wake of the PMAC’s declaration of socialism and the radical reforms of 1975-1976, have also picked up socialist credentials to add to their nationalist aspirations. The EPLF, for example, has run a highly organized system of peasant and urban associations, virtually identical to those in Ethiopia, in its liberated areas since 1977. The TPLF has done likewise in Tigray, carrying out land reforms, organizing local militia forces and a literacy campaign.

The aim of these movements has been somewhat varied. Only the Eritrean groups have consistently demanded independence, and secession from the Ethiopian polity. Any opponents to this line within the Eritrean movement as a whole have been ruthlessly dealt with. [9] Two of the nationalities within Eritrea, though, have shown themselves prepared to come to some accommodation with the PMAC. The Afar National Liberation Movement (ANLM) claimed in 1978 and 1979 that they had many members holding administrative appointments at district and even provincial level, and that they were running the Afar resettlement programs and the literacy program in their region. [10] Afar is now being used as a language for literacy, though with an Amharic script. If these claims were true in 1979, no further progress has been observable since towards any Afar region. The other nationality in Eritrea which has largely cooperated with the Ethiopian administration of the region is the Kunama, some 3,000 of whom are used as troops against the liberation fronts.

None of the other movements, of which the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front, the Western Somali Liberation Front and the Oromo Liberation Front are the most significant, have entirely clarified their stance beyond “self-determination.” None of the three have rejected independence, but both the TPLF and the OLF claim that a change of government in Addis Ababa could provide a solution to their demands.

The PMAC clearly opposed secession, and the NDRP makes no reference to the possibility of anything more than regional autonomy. It might be noted that the NDRP was always intended to be a minimum program, not a maximum one. Secession as a possibility was admitted by some of the political groups cooperating with the PMAC in 1977-1978, but only if the conditions could be considered as ripe. Since Ethiopia was defined as being on the socialist path, such secession would, by definition, be “non-progressive.” On the question of autonomy, a member of POMOA explained the problems in 1978 in the following terms: “We need to identify the nationalities we have and the levels they are at. We need to have cadres from the different nationalities, we need to have a single center, an institute of nationalities.” [11]

Four years later, these problems remain virtually untouched. COPWE does have a committee of nationalities, but its chairmanship went unfilled for many months. Several people, including two members of the PMAC, refused to accept the post. Finally, in late 1981, Capt. Tamrat Ferede of the PMAC Standing Committee was appointed to the position. If the regime has made any progress on identifying the number and status of the nationalities in the country, it has not made it public. There is no institute of nationalities.

It is also far from clear how many cadres have been recruited from the different nationalities. The PMAC’s opponents, especially those in the various ethnic liberation movements, charge that the PMAC has become in fact the prisoner of the Amhara nationality, the ruling group under Haile Selassie. Amharas make up some 75 percent of COPWE’s central committee, reflecting the power structures of the military and civilian bureaucracy inherited from Haile Selassie. Amharas also hold approximately 60 percent of the appointments to the regional COPWE committees. A greater effort has been made at this level to appoint Oromos (19 percent) and Tigrinya speakers (14 percent) to areas inhabited by their own nationalities. An analysis of military cadres suggests somewhat similar proportions. These incomplete figures can only be indicative, but they support the contentions of other nationalities, particularly Tigrinya speakers and Oromos (who make up 12 percent and 23 percent of the total population respectively) that they are under-represented at the centers of political power and that the Amharas (some 23 percent of the population) hold a disproportionate number of offices. [12]

COPWE’s Future

COPWE has come a long way since its central committee was chosen personally by Lt. Col. Mengistu Haile-Mariam in 1979-1980, at least in terms of organization. It has begun to establish a highly centralized and functional hierarchy of political control. When the party is formally dedared, it can and will take over COPWE's organization in toto.

Far less clear is how much COPWE has managed to solve the ideological differences it inherited from the political divisions of the last four years. Coopting individuals into COPWE has not ended political or personal disputes. A revitalized political school can no doubt produce the “correct” party line, but the first COPWE congress stipulated that a party political and ideological program should be COPWE’s last job before its own disbandment. Prior to this should be recruitment, politicization and the strengthening of mass organizations. This makes it probable that the party will represent another strand of the centralist policy which the government is applying in the case of the nationalities.

The dangers of placing so much emphasis on a vanguard of this type are very clear. “Revolution from above” by a “progressive” military may lead to a transition to socialism. But the emphasis COPWE is placing on organization, discipline and control alienates large sections of the peasantry and the workers, as well as the nationalities who feel their share of power is too limited. Against this can be set the highly successful literacy campaign, the growth in the cooperative movement and in the powers and efficiency of the mass organizations. It remains to be seen if COPWE is going to be a vehicle for a real workers’ part and a transition toward socialism, or no more than a device to enable the military hierarchy and/or the PMAC to establish firm control over the new institutions of the post-revolutionary state.

Endnotes

[1] All of these changes add up to a “socio-political transformation of a depth rare in the contemporary Third World.” (Fred Halliday and Maxine Molyneux, The Ethiopian Revolution, London, 1981). See also Rene Lefort, Ethiopie, la revolution heretique (Paris: Maspero, 1981); Marina and David Ottaway, Ethiopia, Empire in Revolution (New York: Africana Publishing, 1978); John Cohen and Peter Koehn, Ethiopian Provincial and Municipal Government, Imperial Patterns and Postrevolutipnary Change (Michigan State University, Ethiopian Series Monograph 9, 1980); John Cohen, Arthur Goldsmith and John Mellor, Revolution and Land Reform in Ethiopia: Peasant Associations, Local Government and Rural Development (Rural Development Paper 6, Cornell University, 1976); John Markakis, “Garrison Socialism in Ethiopia,” MERIP Reports 79 (July 1979).
[2] The post hoc claims by MEISON and EPRP to have been in existence prior to 1974 are not convincing. For a detailed and sharp look at these movements see the Ottaways’ volume. See also Rene Lefort, and Halliday and Molyneux, for different appreciations of the political stances and the reality of claims.
[3] For details of the PMAC’s membership and organizational structures, see Pliny the Middle-Aged (pseud.), “The PMAC, Origins and Structure, Part I,” Ethiopianist Notes 2/3 (1978) and "Part 2," Northeast African Studies 1/1 (1978).
[4] For details of the different viewpoints see MEISON’s paper, Voice of the Masses, August 1977, MEISON interviews in Le Monde, September 17, 1977, and The Ethiopian Revolution and the Right Opportunists: The Stand of the PMAC (Addis Ababa, May 1978).
[5] See “The New Decisive Chapter,” Yehibret Demts 2/5 (Addis Ababa, February 1979).
[6] Personal information, February 1979.
[7] Two PMAC members lost their positions last year. Two former suspended members of the PMAC’s Standing committee, Col. Endale Tessema and Capt. Tamrat Ferede, were brought in. See African Confidential, March 11, 1981). For a full analysis of the central committee names see African Confidential, July 30, 1980.
[8] Program of the National Democratic Revolution of Ethiopia, Section Two, Item 5. Addis Ababa, April 1976.
[9] There is no satisfactory account of the Eritrean struggle. For some details of internal divisions, see Africa Confidential and Richard Sherman, Eritrea, The Unfinished Revolution (New York: Praeger, 1980). See also Halliday and Molyneux, Lefort, and the Ottaways.
[10] Personal information.
[11] Press conference, Addis Ababa, February 1978.
[12] Population figures for Ethiopia are highly unreliable, like all other statistics. It is generally believed that the Oromos are the largest single nationality. However, Rene Lefort cites figures of 7.8 million Amharas; 6.8 million Oromos; and 3.6 million Tigreans.

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