Ethiopians shrug to military officers appointment as it is seen as trivial
February 4, 2018
Ethiopian government announced yesterday the appointment of over sixty officers in the army in the Ethiopian defense force to rank of military generals.
President Mulatu Teshome awarded them military rank pins in a ceremony in his office.
Forty military officers are elevated to brigadier generals position. Fourteen others are scaled up to Major General ranks.
Three major generals are promoted to lieutenant general position while four lieutenant generals are promoted to General position.
And today pro-government media outlets in Ethiopia reported that prime minister Hailemariam Desalegne promoted three of the appointed generals as Chef d’état-major. General Sa’aare Mekonnen Yimer, General Birhanu Jula Gelelcha, and General Adem Mohammed Mahmud are now d’état-major chiefs of the country’s defense force.
The military appointment came in the wake of relentless protest across the country against what millions of Ethiopians believe is a government dominated by Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) which represents only about six percent of the Ethiopian population.
The defense force has been one of the key institutions where TPLF domination is clearly reflected as the high ranking military positions were predominantly occupied by Tigrigna speaking Ethiopians who are known to be ardent champions of TPLF.
Samora Yenus, long time chief d’état-major who is also a die-hard pro-TPLF with significant influence over TPLF political elites, was supposed to retire on grounds of age but that didn’t happen yet.
Purpose of the new appointment
There seems to be a consensus among many political observers that the announced military appointment is meant to be a response to growing disenchantment about the domination of TPLF over key Federal institutions, apparently, an issue that happened to be an agenda item during the latest executive meeting of the ruling coalition.
From the names of the sixty military officers who are promoted, there emerges a picture that the promotion was primarily driven by the motive to ethnically diversify high ranking military positions.
Reactions to the appointment
Perhaps the Ethiopian government anticipated that the appointment would be seen in a positive light which in a way indicates how the government overlooks burning desire rather for a fundamental change.
The appointment became a talking point among Ethiopians and Ethiopians seem to see no meaning in it. The sentiment is rather negative as merit, competence and military knowledge were not the yardsticks for the promotion.
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