He came from a modest background, working in NGOs but later to owning a profitable auto import business. Mr. Lidetu rose to political prominence by forming the Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP) in 1992 with an initial membesrhip of 120 young men and women. He was the secretary General of the EDP until he led the forming of a new coalition called UEDP, which later join Medhin and became UEDP-Medhin. Over the years, he has been a thorn on the side of PM Meles Zenawi and the ruling EPRDF party by matching Meles’ rhetoric word-to-word. He organized various demonstrations protesting some of the policies of the government, particularly alongside students. One of his achievements was his organizational role in founding the CUD (Kinijt) and bringing it to national political dominance. He was the vice chairman of this coalition party until internal issues caused the coalition to break up. The coalition Kinijit party won 109 of the 546 seats in the government, however when Mr. Ayalew’s UEDP-Medhin party split from Kinijit, it took most of their seats as well. UEDP-Medhin had won the majority of seats in the Addis Ababa council at the 2005 elections.
After the elections, Ayalew authored a book called Yearem Ersha (Amharic, “The weed farm”). In his book, he detailed the foundation of his party, the issues resulting to the breakup of the Kinijit party and the general elections. He also discusses the big gap in the thinking between Ethiopian politicians from the 1970s and early 1980s as compared to politicians from 1990s and 21st century. He concluded that both the old politicians of the ruling party and various opposition parties have been clearly ineffective and inflexible. He stated that no matter how democratic they claimed to be in public, the older groups had the remnants of the old leftist Ethiopian movement as opposed to the 1990s democratic school of thought his party developed.
After joining the Federal Parliament while his former-CUD colleagues were jailed for serious charges, Lidetu’s political image in Ethiopia suffered a blow. His popularity plummeted significantly in the aftermath of the elections.
Lidetu is considered by the pro-democratic forces as a ‘traitor’ of the opposition struggle.I recently blogged this http//debrebirhan.blogspot.com/2010/11/argumentum-ad-hominem.html article critiquing him on his recent morally low interview.