In 60 days, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD)…

In 60 days, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) has made several public addresses, and  he no doubts has galvanised a large part of the populace that has been disgruntled with the policies of his party over the years. To his domestic audience, Abiy says the right words as he makes the kind of gestures the international community finds palatable. Much of his rhetoric is nationalistic, although a significant part of it is liberal in tone.

It is not that others are feeling that they are being marginalised, thus view his intention suspiciously, gossip observed. Particularly to the stalwarts of the status quo, the man they installed as their chairman is ruffling feathers, says gossip.

As their Commander-in-Chief, Abiy`s latest audience was with the top brass of the military, where Chief of Staff Samora Yenus (Gen.) and his deputies were in attendance. He talked about the professionalisation of the army and its constitutional duties to stay above partisan political considerations. The military is there to safeguard the constitution and operate under the command of an elected civilian government, even if this meant a party other than the EPRDF, as long as it is popularly elected.

Although an integral part of a liberal order,  where checks and balances ought to exist between democratic institutions, Abiy`s invocation of this may be too much to digest for an army leadership that has been cultivated with contrary conviction’s claims gossip.

For far too long, the army has been preaching from the gospel of the Red Book authored by their former Commander-in-Chief, the late Meles Zenawi. Despite constitutional provisions, it declares the army as the last bastion of the Revolutionary democratic camp, when it falls under assault by rival ideologies, according to gossip. How much of the inevitable reform within the army Abiy talked about last week brings reconciliation between what the constitution says and the Red Book pronounces, time will tell, gossip says.

Equally, to what extent Abiy will remain true to his public declarations on the importance of checks and balances between the different branches of the state and how much thick-skin he will develop for sharp criticisms from his foes and doubters is to be seen, claims gossip. Parliament is one of these branches that is seen being tough on members of his cabinet.

Just a while back one of Abiy`s staunch allies and a close confidant, Worqneh Gebeyehu (PhD), minister of Foreign Affairs, had to receive probing questions from MPs on the process of ambassadorial appointments. Some of the MPs were wondering why those relieved from regional and federal offices, often banished for their alleged leadership failures, were allowed to get postings in overseas missions, sometimes with their spouses.

Examples were made about ambassadorial appointments with spouses in missions to Belgium and Canada, claims gossip. Thus it is a matter of time before Abiy meets Ethiopia`s diplomatic corps with a potential reshuffle, gossip foresees. There are already signs of a shake-up which could be a pointer to what is yet to come.

Aster Mamo, Ethiopia`s ambassador to Canada, where her husband has also been assigned as a diplomate, had tendered her resignation a few weeks ago, gossip disclosed. Aster was a deputy chairperson of the OPDO before she and Muktar Kedir, the chairman then, were deposed in the aftermath of the public discontent in 2015. They were replaced by Lemma Megerssa and Worqneh, precipitating the rise to power of the trio – Abiy, Lemma and Worqneh, gossip recalled. Aster`s fate remains unclear after the Minister accepted her resignation, gossip revealed.

Another appointment was made, moving Girum Abay, a career diplomate, from Russia to Belgium, where Ewketu Belata serves as a deputy head of mission; his wife works as a diplomate there after he was assigned under Teshome Toga, who is now a minister in charge of public enterprises, gossip disclosed.

Amin Abdulkadir was reassigned to head the mission in Algeria, replacing Solomon Abebe, who is placed to direct Ethiopia`s mission in Nigeria. In his place, Abdulaziz Ahmed has been moved to Riyadh, leaving the mission in Kuwait open and join the vacant posts in Russia and Canada.

Published on Jun 02,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 944]



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