A SWOT Analysis of Ethiopian opposition parties and movements in the Diaspora


By T, Staffer of De Birhan Media

24 May 2012

First I would analyse political parties found outside Ethiopia. In another issue, I will deal with home based parties but I consider them as “choked and paralyzed”. The slight motion so far has been by those based/active in the Diaspora. Parties and movements established under ethno nationalistic and unitary stances are both lumped up and analysed here. I am doing so because with my subjective comparison, I found both polar having relatively the same objectives and goals. The overarching objective of most of these parties is removing the incumbent regime of Meles Zenawi. These parties can use the following or do their own SWOT Analysis and re-strategize their strategic goals and objectives. SWOT is an acronym for Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threat. Naga Jyothi et al in their 2008 paper Object Oriented and Multi-Scale Image Analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats-A Review say, in theory, SWOTs are used as inputs to the creative generation of possible strategies, by asking and answering the following four questions numerous times:

• How can we use each strength?

• How can we stop each weakness?

• How can we exploit each opportunity?

• How can we defend against each threat?

Developed by Albert Humphrey in the 1960s, the Analysis has been used from private business to political parties and individuals. Below is a short SWOT Analysis of opposition organisations based/active in the Diaspora.


  • Mass base/support
  • Human capital within the parties –highly experienced, educated and rich leadership and members.
  • Vision- most opposition movements and parties have clearly spelt out vision, mission and goals.
  • Good linkage with International rights groups
  • Good relation and usage of the private media
  • Opinion leadership/ agenda setting skills
  • Successful at PR and propaganda campaigns
  • Dedicated campaigners and protesters
  • Innovative and strong track record in media usage and formation. 
  • Good culture of discussing political topics.
  • Branding themselves- their parties.


  • Lack of unity
  • Lack of action – violent or non-violent
  • Absence of armed, organised forces – militarily
  • Weakness to coordinate, mobilise and organise self, others and the mass.
  • Using passive aggressive methods
  • Absence of offensiveness/strategies – mostly defensive
  • Intra and inter party grudges, jealousy, arrogance, dishonesty, intolerance and little party discipline
  • Lack of/no resilience  
  • Inability to draw young  members and leaders
  • Inability to think ahead and strategically
  • Absence of/weak Intelligence 
  • Poor party secrecy and confidentiality
  • Spending time, effort and resource on an unnecessary meetings, conferences and projects
  • No culture of criticism and self-evaluation
  • No sense of urgency
  • Fear and lack of creativity. Most stick to the books. They prefer to apply and debate about the resistance strategies of M. Ghandi, M.Luther King and Gene Sharp than look back and dig their own indigenous methods of resistance.
  • Taking the struggle as a hobby or means of employment.
  • No risk taking. Most leaders apply “Safety Regulations” and fear taking risks.
  • Detachment/ignorance from/of what is on the ground.
  • Easily infiltrated 


  • Disgruntled mass base across all religious groups, ethnicities, ages, sex, parties, media, civic societies, students, teachers, farmers, business people, associations and all groups that are on the edge.
  • Growing sense or inter-party understanding, coming together and readiness to form unity of purpose.
  • Horn of African geopolitical developments such as  North Sudan’s frustration with Meles’ duplicities, Egypt’s anger with Meles’ new water schemes and Eritrea as the incumbents arch foe
  • International organisations and rights groups with huge focus on land grab, environmentalism, internal displacement and rights should be tapped into as opportunities.
  • A youth mass to organize and recruit.
  • Veteran and redundant officers that could voluntarily serve opposition groups.
  • Attracting and engaging knowledgeable, courageous and reputable Ethiopian and international journalists, bloggers and PR officers
  • An emerging and popular media – ESAT
  • Legal experts, who can start, aid and pursue cases against the regime. Especially against international institutions and business that contract with regime in Ethiopia.
  • Initiated and psychologically ready to ‘revolt’ population – Abebe Gelaw’s catalysis that showed authoritarians can be traumatized by just one unarmed person’s loud voice.
  • Logistical, manpower, legal and money to start up new businesses that can refund their movements.
  • Highly educated and innovative Diaspora/youth
  • Disgruntled and determined Christian and Muslim faithful unhappy with regime’s hand on their faith. Care needs to be taken here tough.
  • A regime with a deflected attention that can be easily 
  • perforate and do away.
  • New media technologies 
  • Especially time; this a suitable and right time for oppositions to use. 


  • Blockage and censorship of all forms of media that are not owned or directed by the regime.
  • Presence of double agents within the opposition camp.
  • Siding of superpowers with the regime and a “Yes Boss” strategy of the incumbent that is disfavouring the opposition.
  • The instability of the Horn of Africa
  •  Restrictive local laws and proclamations
  • Lack of steady source of income to fund the struggle
  • The emergence of new parties, movements and civic organisations every day that draw back the on-going movements and community
  • The recent protests of Ethiopian Muslims – as it brings opportunities it also brings indirect threats too
  • Neighboring countries such as Kenya, Sudan, Djibouti and Somalia that have become stooges of the Ethiopian regime.
  • Losing members and supporters who lurk for immediate changes or actions.
  • Increased tightening and control of CSOs, media and parties by the regime.  
  • Absence of armed and organised force that would act as as savior or kick starter.                                                                                     The organisations or you the reader can do the SWOT Matrix or maybe I will do at a later stage. You can add your own bullet points to  the above SWOT list. The parties could also do a cross-comparison and weighing of the S-O, W-O and S-T,W-T.


  1. the weakness is also no capacity and access and force in the opposition.No power only in talk and friendship.

Comments are closed.