Last wee’s cabinet reshuffle by the administration of Abiy Ahmed (PhD)…

For many people, last week`s cabinet reshuffle by the administration of Abiy Ahmed (PhD) was a jolt out of the blue, gossip observed. It was not that a reshuffle of a cabinet down the road, under a new Prime Minister, was unexpected; but, that it would come sooner than three weeks since his confirmation to office was not something even the most veterans among the Revolutionary Democrats had seen coming, claims gossip.

Prime Minister Abiy had indicated the inevitability of cabinet restructuring during his dinner with members of the private sector at the Sheraton on Monday, April 16, 2018. He had insinuated the reshuffling of his cabinet in no less than three instances, wherein one of these he had disclosed the presence at the dinner of the would-be Minister of Agriculture he described as a highly motivated, committed and transformative. Not many had thought it would arrive only two days later on Thursday less so than the Minister praised as such was Shiferaw Shigutie.

The making of the new cabinet was a work of no more than a week, and decided in consultations with a very few select groups of close confidants of Abiy, gossip disclosed. Some of the appointments of the ministers were subject to last-minute negotiations between the Prime Minister and regional leaders such as in the case of Abraham Tekeste (PhD), not to remove him from office; as well as Melaku Alebel and Ahmed Shedie, minister of Trade and Government Communications, respectively, claims gossip.

Abiy had publicly pledged – in the series of public meetings he has had – to form an administration whose appointees would be selected on the basis of merit and competence; with a clean slate on their records; and not strictly by party affiliation.

Many find the outcome disappointing for those appointed last week were either reshuffled from the existing cabinet or those coming were seen failing to meet the high bar he set for himself, claims gossip. Despite widespread expectations, Abiy and his circle of advisors have picked no one outside of the EPRDF orbit. This circle of advisors include Worqneh Gebeyehu (PhD), Lemma Megerssa, Demeke Mekonnen and Gedu Andargachew, gossip revealed.

Not having anyone of their leaders included in this circle, the most dejected on the turn of events over the weeks, including but not limited to the reshuffling, would probably be leaders of the TPLF, the senior partner in the coalition of the ruling EPRDF. Their members are not more than three of a cabinet composed of 29 ministers, while the ANDM has close to seven, says gossip.

The public has not been as enthusiastic about the composition of the new cabinet as it was with the inaugural speech Abiy has made almost three weeks ago, claims gossip. The remarks he makes to please a crowd of certain region provoked the sensitivities of people in other areas, gossip observed. A powerful illustration of this is the statement he made in Meqelle concerning the dispute over Welqait. It angered those in the ANDM while his meeting in Gonder with members of the Welqait Committee fueled passion on those in the TPLF, revealed gossip.

Ironically, some fatigue is developing among members of the public over his series of speeches made in no less than six places across the country, observed gossip. It will not be over anytime soon though; the Prime Minister is awash with requests from regional leaders in the peripheral states whose population is keen to have their dose of public speeches, claims gossips.

Published on Apr 21,2018 [ Vol 18 ,No 938]



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