Ethiopia named Tassew Gebre as boundary commissioner

Tassew Gebre and Ustaz Abubeker named as commissioner and deputy chairperson of the Identity and Boundary Commission respectively. 25 Members of the parliament opposed the appointment to the commission.

Tassew Gebre _ boundary commissioner_ Ethiopia
Dr Tassew Gebre
Photo credit : DW Amharic

May 16,2019

Five months after approving the draft bill to establish identity and boundary commission and four months after naming members of the commission, the Ethiopian parliament approved on Thursday a commissioner proposed by Prime Minister.

Accordingly, Tassew Gebre (Ph.D.) is confirmed as commissioner of identity and boundary commission with 25 “no” votes in the parliament, according to a report by the state broadcaster, Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC).

Ustaz Abubeker, served in Ethiopian Muslim committee and was thrown to jail for years because of his stand in the affairs of Ethiopian Muslims along with his colleagues, is appointed as deputy chair of the commission.

Neither the number of abstain votes nor reasons as to why 25 members of the Ethiopian parliament voted “no” to the appointment is reported by EBC.

And not much is known about the new commissioner, Tassew Gebre, except that he was president of Wachemo University which is located in Hosaena, Wolaita, in South Ethiopia.

In January 2019, Ethiopian Parliament approved 41 members to the commission. The late Negasso Gidada, first president of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia who was also a key player in the drafting of the current constitution, was one of the members of the commission and prime minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration has not yet disclosed decision to fill the vacant position.

16 members of Ethiopian parliament voted “no” when members of the boundary and identity commission were named back in January 2019.

The Commission is tasked with resolving boundary and identity questions in “a peaceful, durable and impartial” ways.

And has been controversial since introduction in the parliament. The regional state of Tigray and many of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) leaders, who are in charge of the regional state, have been vocal critics of the establishment of Identity and Boundary Commission for they saw it as a “violation of the constitution.”

Ethiopia has an ethnic-based Federal system and there have been “boundary disputes” and “identity question” in different parts of Ethiopia including in Tigray region, where residents of two regions in the west and south opposed what they called imposed Tigray identity.

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