New Year With New Faces but Old Party

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The year 2010 in Ethiopia calendar has been a remarkable year in the history of Ethiopian politics. The transformation of the country politics landscape was significant in a way that no political pundits can nearly predict the direction the country was heading. The change was so significant people even start referring the status of last year as the old regime despite the country still being controlled by the same party that was in power for the past 27 years.

February 15, 2018 former Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced his resignation from power after leading the country for nearly 6 years. For the past three years of his tenure the country was going through political turmoil that initially started by Oromo Protest and later on spread to Amhara region. The country was under state of emergency for the most part in the past two years which incapacitate and paralyzed the economy. As a result of this the former PM agreed to step down to let a new face take the task of stabilizing and normalizing the country.

On April 2, 2018 Dr Abiy Ahmed become the newly appointed PM for Ethiopia. On his inaugural speech the PM shifted the nation mood by deviating from the traditional party rhetoric and addressing topics the public have been missing.  Some of the key topic areas that showed major shift from his predecessor was making peace with Eritrea, releasing political prisoners, amnesty for diaspora opposition parties and privatization of state owned enterprises.

In Order to deliver his promises the PM first step was to form his newly cabinet members that included 16 names. Among the 16 ministers 10 were new faces while the 6 were just a reshuffle.  Looking at the gender composition in his cabinet only four women were included. Also the parliament approved the first women house of speaker Muferihat Kamil.

·        Motuma Mekassa, Minister of Defense

·        Teshome Toga, Minister of State Enterprises

·        Melaku Aebel, Minister of Trade

·        Ambachew Mekonne, Minister of Industry

·        Ahmed Shidie, Minister of Government Communications

·        Amir Aman , Minister of Health

·        Shiferaw Shigute, Minister of Agriculture & Livestock Resources

·        Siraj Fegessa, Minister of Transport

·        Brehanu Tsegaye, Attorney General

·        Ubah Mohammed, Minister of Communications & Technology

·        Hirut Woldemariam, Minister of Works & Social Affairs

·        Meles Alemu, Minister of Mines & Energy

·        Fozia Amin, Minister of Culture & Tourism

·        Umar Hussien, Director General of Revenues & Customs Authority

·        Yealem Tsegaye, Minister of Youth & Women

·        Janterar Abay, Minister of Urban Development & Construction

Military Shakeup

The removal of the former Army Chief of Staff Samora Yunus and NISA (National Intelligence Security Agency) Getachew Assefa was a major shakeup for a military and intelligence agency that was mainly criticized in its composition. The shuffle in the military also resulted in the appointment of Motuma Mekassa, Minister of Defense from Oromia Region by replacing Siraj Fegessa who was also later removed from SEPDF Chairmanship.

State Owned Enterprise Loosens

After announcing EPRDF decision to fully or partially privatize State Owned Enterprises the Abiy administration didn’t take too long to appoint new CEO’s in some of the enterprises. Ethio Telecom appointed its first woman CEO by removing Andualem Admassie. After her appointment Frehiwot Tamiru introduced a 47% deduction in internet and call tariffs while ending the controversial phone registry system.

Engineer Azeb Asnake who was the first female CEO for EEPCO was relieved from her duty in the same exact week where the country inaugurated Repi Waste Plant. Despite being the first of its kind in Africa the project costed the country 2.3 billion birr and was delayed by 3 years only producing half of its initial 50 MW target.

Addis Ababa City Mayor

In a controversial twist Addis Ababa gets a new mayor despite the current acting mayor Eng. Takele Uma Banti, was not a member of the Addis Ababa City Council prior to his appointment. Even Though Takele Uma is designated as deputy mayor he was given the full authority of the mayor. Since taking office Deputy Mayor Takele Uma took drastic measures in addressing important issues which includes the removal of all the 10 sub cities administrators, auditing land and replacing Kebelle ID by removing the  ethnicity tag.

Regional

Despite all the positivity PM Abiy arrival brings it didn’t manage to stop most of the ethnic clashes that were happening in different parts of the country. The ethnic clashes has resulted in the dismissal of mayors,party leaders and regional leaders.

Prime Minister Abiy decision to allow federal government army interference in the Somali Ethiopia region led to the  removal of Abdi Illey. Former Ethiopia Somali regional President Abdi Illey who was recently charged on inciting violence among different religious and ethnic groups in Somali was replaced by Mustefa Omer.

Despite the arrival of the new faces it is too early to see the impact of their arrival.  In the coming new year Addis Insight  will keep tracking the performance of the new faces even after the breaking news buzz fades.