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