Ethiopian Press Agency new board,Parliament Debate over Daniel Kibret

Daniel Kibret proposed membership to Ethiopian Press Agency Board met with stiff resistance in the parliament ; 126 members voted against it

Daniel Kibret
Daniel Kibret. Photo : screenshot from Seifu Show on EBS

March 12, 2020

Ethiopian parliament has been dubbed as a rubber stamp for too long. But that does seem to be changing a bit.  Yet, topics that get controversial in the Ethiopian parliament are mostly linked to either ethnic politics or religion. 

The 14th session of the People’s House of Representative for this Ethiopian year (2012) happened on  Thursday. It brought to the fore about the religious and ethnic divide in the country. 

285 parliamentarians have attended it. The main agenda item was confirming the appointments of three ministers and the attorney general.  That was divisive as some members of parliaments, mainly from the Tigray region of Ethiopia, opposed the appointment, saying that it has excluded Tigreans. Before TPLF lost power in the central government, the principal complaint (although not often expressed in the parliament for fear of retribution) was that ethnic Tigreans dominated vital positions in the federal government, in the defense force and intelligence department- among others. 

Ethiopian Press Agency Board Members Confirmation 

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed proposed nine people for Ethiopian Press Agency (EPA)Board member and Chairman.  He included motivational speakers, activists, and opposition party members as well. 

But the proposal that brought intense debate was Daniel Kibret’s appointment as a member of EPA. A considerable number of parliamentarians opposed his appointments on the grounds of “religious bias.” In the past, Daniel Kibret served as a deacon and a preacher in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. After Abiy Ahmed became president, he was handpicked to serve as an adviser in the office of the Prime Minister, although the latter has a protestant religious conviction. 

As the issue became tense, the speaker of the House of Representatives had to administer a vote on the issue. 126 People voted against the inclusion of Daniel Kibret in EPA Board. 146 voted in favor of his appointment.  

The debate over Daniel Kibret is said to be unprecedented in the history of the parliament under the current administration, which evolved from the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front. From a video of the debate in the parliament, opposition to his appointment seems to be motivated by religious differences.  And that is what makes it concerning for most Ethiopians. 

Ethiopian Press Agency Board members
Among newly appointed Ethiopian Press Agency Board members. Photo credit : Ethiopian News Agency

Other Members

Seven other peoples are confirmed for membership while one person is confirmed for Chairperson position. The names are as follows :  

Awolu Abdi – Chairperson
Abebech Sheketa – Member
Agaredech Jemaneh – Member
Manyazewal Endashaw – Member
Daniel Kibret – Member
Obang Metho – Member 
Wodajeneh Mahrene – Member
Kontie Mousa – Member
Getnet Tadesse-Member

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