The newly installed administration of Hailemariam Desalegn….

The newly installed administration of Hailemariam Desalegn has begun rolling itself, challenged from the outset with an impending drought, which will no doubt, test its competence to deliver close to one-ninth of Ethiopia’s population from famine.

Those active in the international aid community, who were able to sound the alarm long before the situation reached to current national crisis, still stand their ground warning that the worst is still to come, according to gossip. Whether or not the rain will return in the coming six months is unpredictable and many in the aid community fear the impact may have the ability to pull the economy down into the oceanic abyss.

The gigantic task to see the drought pass without loss of human life, and with little impact on the economy rests with Hailemariam’s new cabinet, gossip claims. It is indeed a new cabinet departed from the customs of the Revolutionary Democrats in more ways than one, according to gossip. For the first time in over two decades, it is a cabinet formed with less emphasis on political weight than on technocratic facility, claims gossip.

Unlike in the past, this is a cabinet with close to 98pc of its members without a background to the armed struggle. If there are few – such as Debretsion G. Michael (PhD) and Kassa T. Brehan – they had been viewed as relatively young during the years of the armed struggle, according to gossip. Every other member of the cabinet, including the Prime Minister and his deputy, joined the ruling party post 1991, after the end of the armed conflict, with the collapse of the military-Marxist regime.

Another interesting characteristic of the new cabinet gossip observed, is the teaching background many of the ministers share in common. Both the Prime Minister and his deputy were teachers before joining the ruling party in the early 1990s, while the Minister of Communications Affairs was a lecturer of law at Meqelle University.

It is such a cabinet with both civilian and academic backgrounds, which is committed by the Revolutionary Democrats to steer their government clear of troubles and continue with the nation’s economic growth, perhaps the make or break factor in the EPRDFites’ rule, gossip claims. An expansionary fiscal policy to finance the continued infrastructure development will remain its main focus. Thus, soliciting loans, grants and foreign direct investment will continue to be the principal preoccupation of the governing party, according to gossip.

Hailemariam is now determined to see a significant shakeup in the foreign office, where he had a brief stint before becoming Prime Minister, with a ratio of 70 to 30, the first comprising career diplomats, as opposed to political appointees. Not astonishingly, there will invariably be those stationed in overseas missions as political appointees; Shiferaw Jarso, director of Sugar Corporation, and Amin Abdulkadir, the departing Minister of Culture & Tourism, are among those expected to be appointed as ambassadors, gossip disclosed.

The Prime Minister’s desire was well established after his determination to elevate Taye Asteqesellasie, a career diplomat now serving as principal of American Affairs’ Directorate, to the office of State Minister. He will be one of the three newly appointed state ministers, where two new faces are due to come from OPDO and the Prime Minister’s home party, SEPDP, gossip disclosed.

As a result, a series of changes expected on Menelik II Avenue, where senior diplomats who served for over five years are either promoted or reassigned to reflect the administration’s desire for advancement of economic diplomacy, claims gossip.

From the headquarters, for instance, gossip foresees the appointments of Brehane G. Kirstos and Dewano Kedir, state ministers, as well as Mulie Tarekegn, Genet Teshome, and Metasebia Tadesse, directors of various departments to overseas missions.

Away from foreign service, Hailemariam is expected to name the Chinese trained Alemu Sime, state minister for Industry, moving from the same rank in his current position at the Ministry of Mines, gossip disclosed. As a former head of the Investment Commission with Oromia Regional State, the administration sees Alemu as a valuable hand in handling foreign investors, particularly in the manufacturing sub-sector, claims gossip.

Published on Oct 19,2015 [ Vol 16 ,No 807]



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