When an emergency meeting of the Amhara regional council was called earlier this week – the news mainly made headlines on media outlets that are not owned by the state – there was speculation that a new regional president would be appointed.
And that is what happened. Arega Kebede is sworn in as president of the region replacing – Yilkal Kefale who claimed that he submitted a resignation letter more than eight months ago.
It was after the regional council accepted the resignation of Yilkal Kefale that Arega Beleke was appointed. Many tend to see the appointment not as a work of the extraordinary session of regional parliament but an imposition from Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration.
Reports from local news sources indicate that Arega Kebede has been serving as the region’s job creation and training office head – perhaps an indication that Abiy Ahmed’s government tends to see the popular youth movement in the region as something related to unemployment.
The region has been under a state of emergency for nearly a month now. Internet communication has been shut. Fano armed resistance has been pervasive in the region for several weeks now opposing Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government move to disarm them. Apart from unanswered political demands – mainly calling an end to attack and massacre of ethnic Amhara in different parts of the country – Fano forces and their broad support base in the region argue that there is not reason to disarm Fano before the disarming hostile political forces like the TPLF and the radical ethnic Oromo nationalists who have been massacring ethnic Amharas for more than five years now.
There have been repeated drone strikes in the region in the past few weeks and artillery shelling of many towns as government forces infantry troops failed to dislodge Fano from Urban areas. The government claims that it has managed to clear towns in the region from Fano forces. But the Fano forces say that they made a necessary retreat to rural areas to avoid government shelling of cities and drone strikes.
In a speech to the extraordinary session of the regional council, Fantu Tesfaye, the speaker, said we subjected the region to a crisis because of unanswered identity and boundary questions. She also mentioned that there was failure to disclose why the questions were not resolved.
The Council has approved 12 cabinet positions that were proposed by the new president – Arega Kebede.
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