Ethiopia’s Amhara regional state controversial leadership changes

Amhara regional state of Ethiopia criticized by some council members for sending what the later call “strong leaders” to the Federal government

Amhara regional state _ council
Photo credit : Amhara Mass Media Agency

February 18, 2020

In an emergency meeting of the council of the Amhara region, the head of the regional state, Temesgen Tiruneh, proposed eight changes to the current leadership – Amhara Mass Media Agency reported on Monday.

The council put up stiff resistance to it. Members of the Council argued that the proposed change would weaken the region as experienced leaders are transferred to Federal positions in what council members say is challenging time for the region.

Sisay Damte replaces Agegnehu Teshager as the region’s Peace and Security Office Head. However, Agegnehu is not leaving Amhara regional state as he is appointed to serve as head of the Prosperity Party Office in the region.

But that was not the most controversial change. The removal of Lake Ayalew, who was serving as the region’s deputy president, and Yohannes Buayalew, who was serving as head of the ADP office, caused intense controversy in the council. Members of the council say that those are experienced and determined leaders committed to the cause of the region.

Dr. Fanta Mandefro will replace Lake Ayalew as deputy president of the region. Those who opposed his appointment did not discount his knowledge and experience, but they say resolving the challenges the region is facing will be a daunting task for new leadership. Instead, they want these new leaders to serve at the federal level and keep those leaders with clarity of challenges and resolve to tackle them in the region.  

Temesgen Tiruneh said the leaders who are transferred to the Federal level of government have been asking for it.

It finally came down to a vote. Forty-eight members of the council abstained while three opposed the appointment of the deputy president.  The council is composed of 294 members, but it is unclear as to how many were in attendance in the emergency meeting.

In terms of other appointments,  Dr. Mulunesh Alebachew is appointed as a Social Sector Coordinator with a rank of Deputy head of the region.

The rest of the appointments are:  Dr. Yeshimebet Demissie (Auditor-General), Seid Nuru (Urban Development and Housing construction head), Tefera Wondimeagegne ( Industry and Investment Bureau head), Abye Kasahun (Chief Justice) and Haileyesus Tesfamariam (Deputy Chief Justice)

Four senior officials from the region will be transferred to the Federal Level, but the positions are not disclosed at this time.  

In JuneĀ  2019, the president of Amhara regional state and two other colleagues (Migbaru Kebede and Ezez Wasse) were killed in Bahir Dar which the Federal government says was an attempted coup d’etat. A day after, General Assaminew Tsige, the region’s security chief was killed in a shout out after he was implicated in the “coup d’etat.”

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