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Ethiopian Government Announces Cabinet Shuffle


Addis Fortune (Addis Ababa)

The Ethiopian Government will shuffle its cabinet on November 1, 2016, as a response to the current turmoil across the country that has led to the declaration of a state of emergency.

The administration of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn hopes the new cabinet will aid in restoring confidence in the government. Tomorrow, Nov. 1, the Prime Minister is expected to appear before Parliament, to present the newly structured administration and nominate ministers.

It is too early to obtain the full picture of the cabinet shuffle, since last minute negotiations are taking place among leaders of the parties in the governing coalition, the EPRDF. The Prime Minister has pledged to the public, however, that appointments to the highest offices of his administration will not be based on party loyalty, but also competence. Thus, the new cabinet may not be entirely filled by party loyalists, according to people familiar with the process.

Five ministries are for instance expected to be taken over by individuals who are not either party members or not in the top echelon of the party’s machinery, according to sources. Ministries of Health, Agriculture, Public Service, Science & Technology, as well as Water & Irrigation are all expected to have new ministers, these sources disclosed. These ministers will be of no party affiliation or without highest portfolio in the party structure, said people familiar with the issue.

Other ministries such as of Education, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Youth & Sports and Communications Affairs Office may have different individuals from the party appointed to them, disclosed sources. Consequently, Kesetebrehan Admasu of the Ministry of Health; Redwan Hussien of Youth & Sports; Shiferaw Shigutie of Education; Abiy Ahmed of Science & Technology; Motuma Mekassa of Water & Irrigation; Abdulaziz Mohammed of Finance & Economic Cooperation; and Getachew Reda of Communications Affairs Office will not likely continue as cabinet ministers, these sources said.

Abraha Tekeste (PhD), the state minister for Planning Commission, is reportedly to be appointed as Minister of Finance & Economic Cooperation, where he had long served as a state minister under Sufian Ahmed. The biggest prize, however, is reportedly going to Worqneh Gebeyehu (PhD), who is currently serving as Minister of Transport. He will be replaced there by Ahmed Shidie, known as a polished and sophisticated politician, now serving as a state minister for Finance & Economic Cooperation.

Recently elected as deputy chairman of the OPDO, Worqneh is likely to replace Tedros Adhanom (PhD) from the TPLF as a Foreign Minister. It is a highly valued office in the federal government mostly held for 25 years by politicians from the TPLF, but recently seen a battleground for leaders from the OPDO and ANDM. Tedros is currently campaigning to serve as director of the World Health Organization (WHO), and would be the first African to hold such office if he gets elected in April 2017.

Another major change people familiar with the reshuffling expect is the departure from clusters under the rank of deputy prime ministers. There have been three clusters run by Demeke Mekonnen, the deputy prime minister, and Debretsiyon G. Michael (PhD) as well as Aster Mamo. The latter two have been responsible for economic and finance; and good governance and reform clusters. In the new administrative structures to be revealed Nov. 1, there will probably be no clusters, sources disclosed.

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