Obituaries

Meles Consolidates Power and Releases Birtukan Mideksa

Meles wants to marginalize the Oromo and Amhara factions of EPRDF by replacing them with minority groups from the South. It is the right decision for the Apartheid policy of TPLF. No one would be more loyal to the TPLF than minority groups from the South. The Oromo and Amharas, who constitute jointly about 80% of the Ethiopian population, are no better than Silte or Adare. As it stands, a minority group, Silte wields more power than Oromo/Amhara combined, Ethiopian Analyst tells me.

 
Name Gender Ethnicity Assignment
Meles Zenawi M Tigraway
Prime Minister (PM)
Hailemariam Desalegn M Walayita Deputy PM and Minister of   Foreign Affairs
Siraj Fegeta M Silte Minister of Defense
Dr. Shiferaw Tekelemariam M Hadiya Minister of Federal Affairs
Berhane Hailu M Amhara Minister of Justice
Junedin Sado M Oromo Minister of Civil Service
Sufian Ahmed M Oromo Minister of Finance and Economic Development
Tefera Deribew M Amhara Minister of Agriculture
Mekonnen Manyazewal M Amhara Minister of Industry
Abdurahman Sh/Mohammed M Somali Minister of Trade
Desse Dalke M Sidama Minister of Science and Technology
Diriba Kuma M Oromo Minister of Transport
Debretsion Gebremikael M Tigraway Minister of Communication and Information Technology
Mekuria Haile M Gurage Minister of Urban Development and Construction
Alemayehu Tegenu M Oromo Minister of Water and Energy
Sinknesh Ejigu F* Oromo Minister of Mines
Demeke Mekonnen M Amhara Minister of Education
Dr. Tewodros Adhanom M* Tigraway (Eritrean)
Minister of Health
Abdulfetah Abdulahi Hassen M Somali Minister of Labor and Social Affairs
Amin Abdulkadir M Afar Minister of Culture and Tourism
Zenebu Tadesse F Amhara Minister of Women, Youth and Children’s Affairs
Bereket Simon M*** Amhara (Eritrean) Communication Office Head
Aster Mamo F Oromo Government Chief Whip
Melaku Fanta M Amhara Director General of the Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority
 
Who Is Really In Charge?
The current reshuffle is cursory to a new political game of Deputy Ministers as the movers and shakers of government apparatus, the Tigrean Deputy System of Government, we shall call it henceforth. For instance, Samora Yunus, reporting directly to the PM, is indeed the Defense Minister but Siraj Fegeta will be responsible for the trite work of administration, personnel and office management. The practice is almost the same across the board; Tigreans make all the decisions from behind the podium while also keeping a watchful eye on the “ministers.”
 
The ethnic and religious make up of the ministers named thus far is also another seemingly plausible yet mischievous stratagem. Five Oromo Ministers, all nominal appointments. Five Amhara’s were assigned to Ministry’s of Justice, Agriculture, Education and Industry. Most agricultural land, especially those up for grab by foreign investors are either in Oromia and SNNP regions. Appointing an Amhara to Ministry of Agriculture is a counter to people’s  antipathy to the regime’s cruelty.The calculation is only an outsider who doesn’t care about the welfare of those forcefully displaced in the name of investment can do the job without empathy. For all the talk of reshuffling and reorganization, as I have previously noted, most of the above ministers retained their former posts.
 

Whereas the inclusion of Muslims in the Ministerial appointments is a small token of appeasement for the large Muslim community, the shift to southerners as new political allies is both apparent and a strategic political buffer for Meles. Hailemariam’s double assignment is indicative of that fact. Hailemariam, already hailed by some in the EPRDF as “the rising star in Ethiopian politics”, is sectional even within the SNNP organization.

A minority from Walayita ethnic group, widely rumored as being groomed for the premier post, Hailemariam is a loyal soldier whose survival and elevation to power is dependent solely on Meles. That will in turn give Meles an opportunity to become the Putin of Ethiopia where Mr. Desalegn will be the charming Medvedev. With Girma Birru, the most likely would be successor according to some analysts, out of the game; OPDO has no figure that is loyal to and capable of replacing the Premier. But Hailemariam’s now eminent succession puts to rest the buzz about OPDO’s growing influence.

 

One Ethiopian analyst tells me, he is mystified the most by two things;
 

1) Meles wants to marginalize the Oromo and Amhara factions of EPRDF by replacing them with minority groups from the South. It is the right decision for the Apartheid policy of TPLF. No one would be more loyal to the TPLF than minority groups from the South. The Oromo and Amharas, who constitute jointly about 80% of the Ethiopian population, are no better than Silte or Adare. As it stands, a minority group, Silte wields more power than Oromo/Amhara combined.

2) The second point which became more apparent is TPLF’s lack of any fear and their usual face saving measures. The Minister of Justice, for the first time in that country’s history, is being headed by someone who has never been to Law School, including the Civil Service Political School.


Ethiopia’s Parliament Nominated for Guinness Book

The parliament quite a replica of Lenin’s and China’s rubber-stamp, is made up of representatives from one and only one party (remember, EPRDF won 99.6% of the seats?). As such, Abadula and the MP’s are only there to give the final procedural go-ahead on the decisions made by TPLF, then reviewed by EPRDF Executive Committee. This is already been evidenced by its first unanimous vote on the ministers appointment, the first of many such unanimous decisions to come in the next five years. No debate or argument expected, just a unanimous vote. Eskinder Nega, a prominent Ethiopian journalist who writes startling commentaries from Addis Ababa, recommends the rubberstamp parliament for a place in the Guinness Book of World Records – noting the alacrity with which the congress approved Meles’s ministerial appointments – in 1, 2, 3….11 minutes.


Birtukan Mideksa to be Released

On Birtukan’s now confirmed release, Meles is going to have his biggest PR day of the year. Indeed a blessing in disguise. I welcome her release but no doubt the move is meant to sap whatever energy there is left from the once vocal opposition and to silence “the extremist Diaspora.” A good signal to the west, Meles is all but trying to revamp his image and bury the deep scar inflicted by an embarrassing election.

 
Also, already on the witch-hunt for donors to finance his five year GTP, Meles will have more talking points at the next meeting with “development partners.” With Seyoum Mesfin rumored to take over the now vacant, United States Ambassadorial post, the release of Birtukan can also be a gambit to level off the relationship with Washington.
 

More on This Story:

 


*There are ONLY *TWO* female ministers out of 20.

** The speculation about Dr Tewodros Adhanom as the favorable Tigrean to replace Meles is cast off with his appointment to the Minister of Health. That is the furthest one can get from the Premiership that is looming in five short years.

***Bereket Simon – stays on, as the regime’s most influential minister of communications credited form muzzling a once vibrant media and suppressing free speech. What happened to the talk about his retirement? Oh! Wait where is the other guy, a certain Redwan Hussein? Hmmm…strange things do happen around here.

Comments

comments

About the author

admin

Leave a Comment