Avant-garde Cabinet in Motion




In many ways, the newly installed cabinet of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed`s (PhD) administration could be characterised as a groundbreaker. Not only has the place of women in the highest political decision-making body in the executive branch been boosted to 50pc of the 20 cabinet portfolios. For the first time since modern government was established in 1907, under Menelik II, Abiy has also nominated, and Parliament approved Aisha Ahmed (Eng.) as the first female to hold one of the most powerful offices in the federal government, the Ministry of Defence.

Neither has Aisha come from one of the main coalition members of the ruling EPRDF; she is a member of the Afar National Democratic Party (ANDP), one of the allies of the EPRDF in the peripheral states. The cabinet that is unanimously confirmed today by MPs was a shaped up executive body compared to the 28 portfolios it has had since last year and the 31 formed under former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, in 2015.

All but four of the cabinet positions have seen a change of guard at the top, while several ministries were either dissolved or amalgamated with others. The Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change; the Government Communications Affairs Office; and the Ministry of Federal & Pastoralist Development Affairs are among those whose existence comes to an end. MPs have voted in favour of merging the ministries of Construction and Urban Development & Housing into the Ministry of Urban Development & Construction, which will be headed by Jantrar Abay.

The ministries of Trade and Industry have as well been merged and will be run by Fetlework G.Egiziabher, head of the EPRDF Secretariat up until today. In a most tightly held nominations to the last minute, even from members of parliament, Abiy has rolled out the list of his cabinet members before Parliament today, October 16, 2018. The biggest prize goes to Muferiat Kamil, speaker of Parliament up until today, but moved to lead a newly formed powerful portfolio, Ministry of Peace.

It is a new executive body likely inspired by the American Homeland Security Agency, tasked to oversee the works of eight federal agencies in security and disaster management areas, including Information Network Security Agency (INSA), the National Intelligence & Security Service (NISS) and National Disaster & Risk Management Commission. She will leave the position of House Speaker either to Tagesse Chafo, former minister of Public Service & Human Resources, or Ambachew Mekonnen (PhD), according to sources close to the ruling party.

However, it remains unconfirmed which one of these will have the most likely chance as last-minute bargaining is common among leaders of the four parties in the ruling coalition. Chief of the now dissolved Government Communications Affairs Office, Ahmed Shide, has been appointed to run the Ministry Finance.

The Planning & Development Commission will be led by Fitsum Assefa (PhD), under ministerial rank; and Ergoge Tesfaye (PhD) is approved to head the Labour & Social Affairs Ministry. The latter has replaced Hirut Woledemariam (PhD), who is now appointed as a minister of Science & Higher Education. Getahun Mekuria (PhD), former minister of Science & Technology, is set to lead the newly formed Ministry of Innovation & Technology while the Ministry of Agriculture has got a new chief, Umor Hussien, replacing Shiferaw Shigute.

He was head of the Ministry of Revenues, where Adanech Abebe is now confirmed by Parliament to lead. Four portfolios remain unchanged though: The ministries of Education – Tilaye Gette (PhD); Health – Amin Aman (MD); Women, Children & Youth – Yalem Tsegaye; the Attorney General – Brehanu Tsegaye; and Foreign Affairs – Worqneh Gebeyehu (PhD).

 



Published on Oct 17,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 964]


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