Observers say Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s new appointment, especially in the city of Addis Ababa administration, is informed by the need to diffuse ethnic-based contention within his administration.
August 18, 2020
A day after the completion of an evaluative meeting of the ruling Prosperity Party (PP), Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed introduced on Tuesday a major cabinet shakeup.
His former boss and former president of Oromo regional President, Lemma Megersa, who was serving as the Defense Minister was finally removed from his position. He was making headlines in Ethiopian news outlets recently after he was suspended as executive committee member of Prosperity Party Oromia regional State Branch over what the party said, “failure to discharge responsibility.” In November 2019, he made public his political difference with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Lemma was appointed as Defense Minister in April 2018.
Dr. Kene’a Yadeta is the new Defense Minister. All that is known about the new Defense Minister is that he served as peace and security chief of the Oromo region of Ethiopia, according to local news sources.
PM Abiy Ahmed has introduced nine other cabinet changes. Takele Uma who served as acting mayor of Addis Ababa with a rank of Deputy Mayor for the last two years is now removed from that role and appointed as Federal government’s Minister of Mines and Petroleum. While he was hailed for some development works, he initiated in the capital Addis Ababa, Takle was widely criticized for a clandestine work to change the demography of the city by settling ethnic Oromo youth in the capital Addis Ababa. Thousands of condominium units in the capital are said to be inappropriately transferred to ethnic Oromo youths. Takele denies the allegation.
Adanech Abiebie who served as Attorney General, only since March this year, is now appointed as the mayor of Addis Ababa. Deputy Attorney General Dr. Gedion Timothewos is now appointed as Attorney General. Two deputy attorney generals are appointed: Fekadu Tsega and Tesfaye Daba.
Endawek Abte, Addis Ababa City Administration’s Deputy Mayor, and Trade and Industry Office head, is appointed as Deputy Director-General of Metals Engineering Corporation. During his role at Addis Ababa Administration, he was rumored to have a feud with the mayor, Taklele Uma, in connection with the latter’s alleged attempt to alter the demography of the city.
Nigussu Tilahun is appointed as Commissioner of the Job Creation Commission. Before his new role, he served as head of the Press Secretariat in the office of the Prime Minister. As was the case with the change in the mayor of Addis Ababa, his removal as a press secretary is unexpected.
Former Minister of Mines and Petroleum, Dr. Samuel Urkat, is appointed as Minister of Science and Higher Education. And the current minister for that ministry, Professor Hirut Woldemariam, is given a new role as Social Sector advisor to the Prime Minister while retaining her ministerial rank.
Yohannes Buayalew, former head of Amhara Democratic Party office in the Amhara region, is appointed as Director General of the Ethiopian Foreign Relations Strategic Studies Institute.
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