The city of Addis Abeba is the most relegated…

The city of Addis Abeba is the most relegated member of the federation in getting what is promised in Ethiopia`s constitution: the right to self-rule, claims gossip. A mayor of a native has never governed it, while the most substantial compositions of its legislative house, the cabinet, and general managers of almost all the districts have been individuals moved to the city for education and career, gossip observed.

From the provisional mayor, the late Mulualem Abebe, to the incumbent Diriba Kuma, all the mayors appointed to run Africa`s diplomatic capital have not been natives of Addis Abeba. True to this tradition, the city is to receive a new mayor, Ambachew Mekonnen (PhD), come next Tuesday, gossip disclosed.

Born in Muketuri area of the Oromia Regional State, Diriba has been serving as the mayor of Addis Abebe since 2013. A former language teacher in his hometown before he joined the OPDO at the age of 22, Diriba was elected to the city council from the Bole District, where he was a resident while working as a minister of Transport.

A calm and collected person, his tenure as a Lord Mayor of Addis Abeba has seen some milestone such as the completion of the light rail. Yet the time he rose to power in the city administration has been marked by leadership paralysis within the ruling EPRDF, particularly over the past five years.

A member of the OPDO political bureau, Diriba has not been on the side of the current chairman of the ruling party, gossip claims. He has been one of the few voices critical of the rise to power of Abiy within the OPDO and the EPRDF, hence to the Office of the Prime Minister, claims gossip.

His departure from the city administration was a matter of time, according to gossip. The city administration`s mandate to govern came to an end this year. Nonetheless, the National Electoral Board has failed to carry out local elections across the country and to the councils of Addis Abeba and Dire Dawa, owning it to the political instability that engulfed the nation for three years.

With Parliament`s decision to postpone these elections to next year, MPs have voted to extend the mandate of the city government for another year, but with different leadership, gossip disclosed. On Tuesday, Diriba will be handing over the key to the city to Ambachew, a senior leader of the ANDM, one of the four coalition member of the ruling EPRDF.

Ambachew was first elected to the ANDM Politburo in 2006, during the party`s seventh conference; and, today he is one of the three power contenders in the ANDM, next to Demeke Mekonnen, the party`s chairman and deputy Prime Minister, and Gedu Andargachew, deputy chairman and president of the regional state, gossip claims.

Ambachew is also the most reliable ally from the ANDM and in the EPRDF to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD), gossip claims. Appointed to Abiy`s cabinet three months ago to serve as a minister of Construction, his sudden reassignment to the city shows the Prime Minister`s comfort zone in putting someone he trusts to an office that is directly accountable to him, according to gossip.

The only hiccup the duo seem to have is Ambachew was not elected as a counselor to the legislative house of the city of Addis Abeba. The city`s charter, however, requires eligibility to serve as a Lord Mayor only from an elected council member. Ironically, the Prime Minister does not need to go far to get a model in overcoming such an irritant hiccup, says gossip.

It was a while back when the Council of the Tigray Regional State removed its President, Abay Weldu, to replace him with Debretsion G. Michael (PhD), who was not elected to the regional council but the federal parliament. This did not stop him from running the region`s administration as a Deputy President but “with the title of a president.”

Addis Abebans will most likely see next week a replay of a smilier script, gossip anticipate. Ambachew will be appointed as a Deputy Mayor, an office that does not require him of election to the City Council, but “with the title a Lord Mayor,” claims gossip.

Published on Jul 14,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 950]



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