Jump to navigation

Ethiopia

After his inauguration, Prime Minister Abiy reshuffles the cabinet and launches new offensive in Tigray

Starting his second term, Abiy has brought in some carefully chosen opposition figures and centralised more control in his office

A month after a second round of parliamentary elections confirmed the Prosperity Party's landslide victory in June, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has launched a new offensive against the Tigray People's Liberation Front. At the same time, he has reshuffled his cabinet and brought civilian and military intelligence services under the direct control of his office.

Overseeing the offensive will be the new Defence Minister Abraham Belay. He served with Abiy at the cyber-espionage Information Network Security Agency and as minister of innovation and technology, a cabinet position Abiy also once held.

Abiy had despatched Abraham earlier this year to run the federal government authority in Mekelle, capital of the Tigray region. He may have some scores to settle. When the TPLF seized back control of Mekelle in June, Abraham was forced to leave the city, along with the other federal appointees.

Abiy's reshuffle is less radical than many had expected. About 60% of the old ministers have stayed in the government. Finance minister, Ahmed Shide, overseeing the delayed telecoms and financial sector liberalisation, will keep his job, as Foreign Minister, Demeke Mekonnen, who has struggled to deflect international criticism of the war in Tigray.

New to the cabinet are a raft of co–opted leaders from opposition parties enter government, reflecting what Abiy's describes as the government's 'commitment to inclusivity' (AC Vol 62 No 13, War casts shadow over Abiy's election plan).

These newcomers include Belete Molla, Chairman of the National Movement of Amhara (NAMA) appointed minister of Innovation and Technology; and Berhanu Nega, the leader of the Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice, is the new Minister of Education. Kejella Merdassa of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) becomes Minister of Culture and Sport.

Berhanu is one to watch. Elected as mayor of Addis Ababa in 2005, he was jailed under Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's government and has a penchant for fiery rhetoric.

Shortly after the appointments, state media posted a list of the new institutions which will now be accountable to the prime minister: the National Bank of Ethiopia, the Ministry of Labour and Skills, Ministry of Planning and Development and the Ministry of Justice, reflecting the centralisation of power.

Around 20 more bodies and institutions, mainly security and intelligence departments, which had been placed under the remit of the Orwellian-sounding Ministry of Peace now report directly to the Prime Minister.



Related Articles

War casts shadow over Abiy's election plan

Communal clashes in five regions and all-out conflict in Tigray will undermine the legitimacy of the new government

It was meant to be a landmark election, a critical stage in Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's proclaimed agenda for democratic transition after decades of authoritarian rule. Ahead of vo...

READ FOR FREE

Not a popularity contest

The EPRDF won’t allow the recovering opposition to test its electoral support and will tightly manage the coming elections

The most certain outcome in 2015 will be a sweeping electoral victory for the governing Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and another five years in of...


Post-election massacre

The power struggle has worsened in the ruling party following the surprise success of opposition parties in May's elections (AC Vol 46 No 11). Hardliners in the Ethiopian People's ...


Addis and Al Itahad

Ethiopia has won another round in its war against Islamists. Somalia's main Islamist movement, Al Itahad al Islami, lost its last major bases to an Ethiopian assault on 11 June. It...


World-class war

UN envoy Mohammed Sahnoun mediates while the world ignores its biggest war

With more than half a million troops deployed along the disputed border and tens of thousands of casualties in fighting so far this year, the Ethiopia-Eritrea war is the world's bi...