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New Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed forms his Cabinet, as parly appoints first female speaker

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New Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed forms his Cabinet, as parly appoints first female speaker

New Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has appointed and formed his Cabinet, which has been unanimously approved by parliament today. reGina Jane Jere reports.

Sixteen days after being sworn in as Prime Minister after the surprise resignation of his predecessor, Hailemariam Desalegne, the new Ethiopian leader Abiy Ahmed has formed his Cabinet. The news comes amidst an IMF report that has just revealed that Ethiopia is currently, Africa’s fastest growing economy.

Prime Minister Ahmed presented to parliament 10 new names and 6 reshuffles, while retaining the rest of the 29 portfolios from the previous government. Only four women have been included. A notable change is the replacement of Defense Minister Sirage Fergesa with Motuma Mekassa, who is a member of the Oromo community – that led the anti-government protests which eventually led to the resignation of Desalegne last February.

“We shall be able to respond to the demands of the people of the country, and this is one of the motives behind the appointments and reshuffle,’’ he announced in a statement broadcast on state television.

Since being sworn in on 2 April, Ahmed has been travelling and holding public rallies around the country in a move to further quell the disquiet that led mounting anti-government protests that led to the departure of his predecessor.

At a rally last week in Jijiga, the capital of the Somali region, he told the big crowd that attended: “conflict is regrettable and contrary to the Ethiopian culture and a shameful spot in our history”, and pointed out the existence of the traditional mediation skills of the elderly – Somali Aba Gaadas – and religious leaders in bringing peace and bridging conflict, promising his new government’s full commitment to resolving any problems.

The Ethiopian Parliament – made up of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), a coalition of four regional parties, has since approved the new appointments.

The 547-seat parliament also elected a new speaker, former Minister at the Women Affairs Muferihat Kamil, who replaces Abadula Gemeda. She becomes the first woman to hold the superior position in the country’s history. She is deputised by another female – Shitaye Menale.

The 16 names presented for approval in parliament included:

Motuma Mekassa, Minister of Defense

Teshome Toga, Minister of State Enterprises

Melaku Aebel, Minister of Trade

Ambachew Mekonne, Minister of Industry

Ahmed Shidie, Minister of Government Communications

Amir Aman , Minister of Health

Shiferaw Shigute, Minister of Agriculture & Livestock Resources (newly merged ministry)

Siraj Fegessa, Minister of Transport

Brehanu Tsegaye, Attorney General

Ubah Mohammed, Minister of Communications & Technology

Hirut Woldemariam, Minister of Works & Social Affairs

Meles Alemu, Minister of Mines & Energy

Fozia Amin, Minister of Culture & Tourism

Umar Hussien, Director General of Revenues & Customs Authority

Yealem Tsegaye, Minister of Youth & Women

Janterar Abay, Minister of Urban Development & Construction

 

 

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Written by Regina Jane Jere

reGina Jane Jere is a Zambian-born London-based journalist and founding Editor of the New African Woman magazine the sister-publication of the New African magazine of which she was the Deputy Editor for over a decade. The mother of two juggles a wide-range of editorial and managerial duties, but she has particular passion on women’s health, education, rights and empowerment. She is also a former Zambian correspondent for Agence France Presse, and a former Africa Researcher at Index on Censorship. She writes extensively on a wide range of issues, from politics to women’s rights, media and free speech to beauty and fashion.

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