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Women appointed to key positions in unprecedented gender balanced cabinet

Women got top cabinet positions in the Ethiopian new cabinet; Muferiat Kamil will be leading one of the most power new government department, Ministry of Peace.

Ethiopia _ New Cabinet
The new cabinet during Oath ceremony
Photo : EBC

October 16,2018

Ethiopian Parliament approved Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s new cabinet members. The number of government ministries is downsized to 20 from 28 but that are not what made headlines in Ethiopian News outlets in the country and abroad. In fact the ministries are only 19, 20th addition to the cabinet, national planning, will function as a Commission.

In what seem to be a commitment to demonstrate gender equality, the prime minister, who increasingly sold in as a reformer in the west and east, made 50 percent of his new cabinet women which is unprecedented in the history of Ethiopia.

Even more remarkable is that women are appointed to the powerful government departments, some of them brand new.

In a speech at the parliament, the prime minister told parliamentarians (and the Ethiopian people) the new appointments are informed by demands by the Ethiopian people, which he implied are priorities.

Interest in ensuring reliable peace and the rule of law, ensuring fast and equitable development in the country, ensuring human and democratic rights and quality service delivery fighting corruptions are some of the issues that influenced the new appointment, based on the prime Minister’s speech in the parliament.

Ministry of Peace, a new ministry, is entrusted with ensuring peace and the rule of law in Ethiopia, which the prime minister said is one of the important demands of Ethiopian people. Muferiat Kamil, who served as speaker of the Ethiopian Parliament in the past five or so months and chairperson of South Ethiopian People Democratic Movement (SEPDM), is appointed as Minister for the Ministry of Peace, which is instituted in a way to be one of the most powerful government ministries. In her portfolio as Minister for Peace, Muferiat will oversee the major security and law enforcement agencies in the country.

Muferiat Kamil
Muferiat Kamil, Minister of Peace
Photo : EBC

National Information and Security Services (NISS), Information Network and Security Agency, Financial Security Information Center and the Federal Police will be answerable to the Ministry of Peace under the new government structural adjustment.

The new cabinet reshuffle has also introduced the first ever Female minister for the department of defense in the history of the country, Aisha Mohammad. Her academic background is in Engineering and apparently with on experience in the defense sector which seems to be a little confusing for many Ethiopians.

Another appointment that seems to raise skepticism among Ethiopians is the appointment of Dagamawit Moges, who used to be deputy mayor of Addis Ababa ( a city that Oromo ethno-nationalist seek to make a controversial topic as they are claiming exclusive ownership right), is appointed as Minister of Transport.

Adanech Abebe (Oromo Democratic Party Secretariat) is appointed as Ministry of Revenue. Six more women are part of the new cabinet. Check out the full list of cabinet ministers here.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has also introduced four government commissions; Investment Commission, Civil Service Commission, Environmental safety and Climate Change Commission and Employment Creation Commission.

Apart from adherence to principle of gender equality, the prime minister seems to have considered the issue of maintaining ethnic diversity in the cabinet. However, that, for some, has compromised another important principle, merit.

Last week, there was a rumor that the Prime Minister will remove Workeneh Gebeyehu from the Ministry of foreign Affairs. As it turns out, no change is made in that regard.

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  1. What is the practical value of gender balance? Would the ladies bring stability, bread, and democracy to Ethiopia? Would the ladies bring accountability to Ethiopia? What we should concentrate is on substance not on issues which make news. The 11% story of our economic growth has done nothing to Ethiopia. It was absolute lie. Our economy is now in a mess, in spite of lies for years. This 50% stuff is nothing other than public relations. Please let’s use our best minds rather than political cadres. EPRDF full of psychopaths and sycophants as a result of the selection process it has undergone for the last 27 yrs. Competent and honest people were pushed out of the system and psychopaths were encouraged by the party. If the PM thinks he would bring change by riding the dead horse (EPRDF), it would be a futile exercise. Psychopaths by their nature breed mess, anarchy and bloodshed. Please lets rush to the National Reconciliation and build independent institutes as soon as possible instead of talking gender balance. Gender balance will never bring anything. While rule of law (and independent institutes) is the foundation for peace and stability. May God Bless this poor, illiterate, stunted country!


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