ESAT Efeta : on the new Cabinet in Ethiopia

November 2,2016

Ermias Legesse served with the regime in Ethiopia in a high ranking position. He already produced two books in Amharic.

Certainly the regime is predictable in many ways even for outsiders. Yet, speculations of Ermias is informed by knowledge of the inner workings of the system.

In this ESAT Efeta edition, Ermias commented on as to what the new cabinet, which was officially announced yesterday, means in terms of much needed change.

There are three levels of leadership within the ruling party says Ermias.The first level is sort of “thinkers” category. few and select. From what he says, before Hailemariam it was Meles Zenawi solely serving in that capacity. Currently, they are about three and two of them are Abaye Tsehaye and Debretsion Gebremichael- sort of first among equals within the ruling circles. Policy directions, among other things, emanates from this group.

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The next level of leadership, according to Ermias, is “support” structure for the “thinker” group. He places people like Bereket Simon in this category. This group provides support for “ideas” from the “thinker by way of elaborating them to the rest of the membership including the those in the third category and exercises relative power.

In the third group are yes men/women whose primary role is to implement and disseminate the works of the first two groups. And this is where Ermias put the role of ministers ; entirely subordinate with no power of their own. So his take is, as is predictable by anyone who closely follows Ethiopian politics, that the new cabinet will never bring about change in this system. Ermias also asserted that the development is axiomatic measure that the parliament is indeed a rubber stamp.

Sisay Agena also took a very critical look of the “supposedly” change. Like Ermias, he underlined that the change Ethiopia demanded is systemic change and not cabinet change. He is of the view that the cabinet change is not a substitute for fundamental structural and policy change. In that regard, the ethnic and gender diversity does not mean much. In fact, the ethnic identity of the new Foreign Affairs Minister – Worqeneh Gebeyehu – is questioned. Credible sources attest that he used to have a different last name before he was groomed for this position. Well, he served in a key position within the intelligence and police for more than ten years and it take to be a close confidant of TPLF power circles for that to happen.

By Dimetros Birku . Can be reached on twitter : @dimetros

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