The government of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn is set to embark on its fully mandated terms next week.

The government of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn is set to embark on its fully mandated terms next week. Returning from New York, where he had addressed the UN Assembly, he took a two-day break staying at his residence, while his office underwent a complete renovation, gossip disclosed. It can be considered as a sign of a fresh start, both in substance and symbolism, claims gossip.

On Monday, October 5, 2015, President, Mulatu Teshome (PhD), will address members of both chambers, signalling where the government will focus most in the next five years. The outline of his speech was presented to him from Lorenzo Te’azaz Road, late last week, revealed gossip. The same day Hailemariam will be sworn-in as Prime Minister; and the President will host a state dinner at his residence, on Menelik II Avenue, disclosed gossip.

The succeeding day will receive the revelation of what is most expected: the list of the cabinet posts Hailemariam wants MPs to sanction and the party bigwigs he selected to fill them, which will pretty much indicate the composition of his government. It will, nevertheless, be the result of delicate compromise between the diverse interest groups inside the Revolutionary Democratic camp, gossip anticipates. There will not be a wholesale reshuffling as many would have loved to see; yet, there will be some changes of both ministerial portfolios and their ministers, gossip projects.

The EPRDFites have always been conflicted on the issue of whether to strengthen the party over the government it leads, gossip recalls. They have evolved over the past two decades in both phases where the party has been more forceful than the government and vice versa. There is now a resurged desire to see the EPRDF headquarters become more vigorous than it has been lately, thus the assignment of four or five heavyweight EPRDFites – from the politburos of each party in the coalition – to camp inside the party’s headquarters on Niger St., behind Parliament, gossip disclosed.

Indeed, there will be ministries unchanged in the new administration – including ministries of foreign affairs, agriculture, public service, communications & information technology, health, industry, trade, urban development; women, children & youth, claims gossip. Many of these ministries will have to keep their existing ministers, including Tefera Derebew, minister of Agriculture, who was unable to hold his seat in the party as an executive committee member of the EPRDF, while he remains one in the ANDM, gossip disclosed.

There will emerge new ministries such as those to govern mines, energy and fuel; and water and electricity; as well as youth and sport. The blanket additions to the cabinet will nonetheless be the Ministry of State Enterprises, which will evolve into a mega ministry putting all state owned enterprises under its grip, from the mammoth Ethiopian Airlines, Ethiopian Railway Corporation, the utility companies, and MeTEC to the smaller factory in Assela, gossip revealed. Branched out from the Ministry of Agriculture, where they were held for long, as directorate and a section, a new portfolio will emerge as Ministry of Livestock & Fisheries Development, gossip disclosed.

Not surprisingly, others will have different ministers of defence; finance and economic operation; culture and tourism; justice; labour and social affairs; science and technology; environment and forestry; and government communications affairs office, gossip disclosed. It is highly probable that Kassa T. Brehan, Speaker of the House of Federation, will move to serve as Minister of Federal Affairs, while Worqneh Gebeyehu will be moved from the Ministry of Transport to assume an undisclosed role within the cabinet, disclosed gossip.

Sufian Ahmed, the longest serving minister of Finance & Economic Development (MoFED) will retire to assume a role of special adviser on monetary and treasury matters, overseeing the affairs of Teklewold Atnafu at the central bank; the latter has this special ability of surviving all the odds, gossip claims. Gossip claims, his deputy, Ahmed Shedie, State Minister for MoFED, will be elevated to the position of a minister. Two other EPRDFites from the OPDO – Abiy Ahmed and Omar Hussien – will be promoted to ministerial positions, with the latter most likely replacing Sufian, gossip disclosed.

Another feature gossip anticipates in the composition of the new cabinet is a sort of departure from past practices where portfolios considered to be of social value will be not held by politicians who come from the affiliate parties. Ministries such as labour and social affairs; culture and tourism; and youth and sport will be assigned to politicians whose origins are one of the four main parties in the coalition, gossip disclosed.

Despite the composition of the newly formed cabinet, though, gossip foresees four politicians – Debretsion G. Michael (PhD), Arkebe Oqubay (PhD), Abadula Gemeda, and Aster Mamo – potentially evolving to be the most influential personalities behind Hailemariam’s administration over the coming years.

Published on Oct 04,2015 [ Vol 16 ,No 805]



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