Negasso Gidada (Ph.D.), the longstanding politician and former president of both Ethiopia and the Unity for Democracy and Justice Party (UDJ), officially resigned from party politics on January 8. He joined the party in 2009 together with another veteran politician Seeye Abraha.
The major reasons cited were his health condition, age and the changes that occurred in the UDJ after joining the Medrek coalition, made up of six political parties.
Negasso wanted the UDJ to continue within Medrek as a separate organization, but other members of the UDJ requested unity, especially the cabinet led by the new president Gizachew Shiferaw (Eng.).
He added that after leaving the UDJ he is not planning to join or establish another political party. “I will remain neutral,” he said, before confirming that he will not withdraw from politics completely.
“I will follow the politics of the country and think about it, and will continue expressing my thoughts through my speeches and writings,” he said. “And if necessary I will support both the UDJ and other political parties, but not structurally.”
“Since I want my rights to be respected, I will also work hard for the rights of the UDJ and its members, and for all citizens of the country. In this regard I will criticize and oppose ideas,” he concluded.
Negasso has been involved in Ethiopian politics for 45 years, and has represented many parties throughout his career.
Negasso was the President of Ethiopia from 1995 until 2001. He holds a doctorate in social history from the Goethe University in Frankfurt-am-Main.