Ethiopian gov’t shake up turns the attorney general to an ambassador

Ethiopian government seem to have made a noticeable shake up. Fiften new ambassadors are appointed. Federal Attorney General, Berhanu Tsegaye,  and President of Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, Gina Bacha, are among them

Ethiopian news _ ambassadors
Resized picture of Office of the president of Ethiopia.

borkena
March 3, 2020

The office of the president announced on Tuesday that Sahle-work Zewde appointed fifteen ambassadors.  However, the office did not disclose the country to which the new appointees are heading to as Ethiopia’s ambassadors.

At least three of the new appointees are from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia.  

Perhaps the most unexpected one is Berhanu Tsegaye’s “appointment.” He served as the Federal attorney general soon after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in April 2018. Last week, the Federal government of Ethiopia charged the court cases of 63 individuals who were in custody in connection with alleged human rights violations and high profile corruption cases. A few weeks before that The attorney general was in the news, and he defended the arrests claiming that they are not politically motivated. However, it is unclear if his removal as the Federal Attorney General is related to the release of the 63 prisoners.

Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) president, Gina Bacha, “appointment” as an ambassador, is another unexpected story. He was appointed for the top CBE position in July 2018 about three months after Abiy became president. Citizen reports on social media sometime in 2019 indicated that there was a power struggle within the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia. The allegation back then was that Gina filled all vital managerial positions with people from the Oromo region of Ethiopia.

Hirut Zemene (state minister within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia), Nebiyat Getachew ( spokesperson of within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia), and Markos Tekle ( State Minister within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia) are in the list of newly appointed ambassadors.  

Alem Tsegaye, Yibeltal Aemero, Mihreteab Mulugeta, Teferi Meles, Adego Amsaya, Jemal Beker, Abdu Yasin, Legese Geremew, Eyerusalem Amdemariam and Shiberu Mamo are among new ambassadors.

Traditionally, in the last thirty years, news about the appointment of ambassadors comes following an intense power struggle or divergence within the ruling party.

Prosperity Party is essentially a rebranded Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) except that the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) is no longer a member of it.

While the party did away with ethnically branded political organizations representing different ethnic-based regions in the country by merging them as a single entity, it could not extricate itself from ethnic politics – especially in regions. The Prosperity Party takes the shape of an ethnic-based party when it is in regions in the sense that the regions are instituted based on ethnicity – which proved to be among the significant factors for ethnic-based attacks and displacements.

Tigray is the only region with no prosperity party structure currently but, the party disclosed last week that it would soon open branches in all zones and districts.  

At the Federal level, the PP party has given some flexibility for the executives to bypass ethnic rivalry.

Yet, it is unclear as to what exactly caused the shakeup that led to the removal of people like Berhanu Tsegaye, and Gina Bacha, among others.



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