What PM Abiy Ahmed government is not getting right

Abiy Ahmed’s government is erring in the appointment of ambassadors

Shiferaw Shigute
Shiferaw Shigute

July 13,2018

As Ethiopians were recounting this week as to what the new administration, under the leadership of Abiy Ahmed, has done in the first 100 days in office and many tend to think, and rightly, that it was a remarkable success both in terms of foreign relation and in terms of beginning starting demolishing an ideology that rather promoted differences and ethnic-based conflict.

Yet, there are things that Abiy is not doing differently from TPLF era power politics which does seem to be displeasing to this support base, to says the least.

Authorities who tendered their resignation, some say they were rather removed, on grounds of action or inaction in an ethnic-based violence in Southern Ethiopia which caused the death of dozens and dozens of civilians are appointed today to work as Ambassadors, according to local media.

Ethiopian state media reported today that president Mulatu Teshome appointed Shiferaw Shigute, Driba Kuma, and six others as ambassadors. The countries to which they are appointed is not disclosed and the reason why it is not disclosed is not known either.

Shiferaw Shigute was elected as chairman of SEPDM (Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement) a week or so before the contest for the position of prime minister from within the ruling coalition. Apart from involvement in ethnic cleansing against ethnic Amhara over a decade or so ago, he is believed to have been directly involved in orchestrating the violence between ethnic Sidamas and ethnic Kembata in southern Ethiopia.

He admitted that he considers himself responsible for “the violence happened in his watch”, as chairman of the party that governs the region.

Ethiopian activists on social media were expecting that prime minister Abiy’s government would rather hold Shiferaw and his likes accountable for the crimes they committed, not an appointment as ambassadors.

Analysts claim that appointing politicians, who committed crimes, as ambassadors do not just constitute a bad practice but also a denial of justice to victims and tend to contravene Abiy’s Ahmed’s expressed commitment for justice.

Abiy Ahmed’s government could simply be buying time to deal with criminal members of his government but appointing them as faces of Ethiopia elsewhere could bring him in a collision course, not just with Ethiopians, but with what he says he believes in.

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