Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn removed Mekuria Haile, Minister of Housing and Urban Development, this week ahead of the much anticipated government overhauling reform process scheduled for September.
According to a letter that was signed by Prime Minister Hailemariam, Mekuria was given another position in government: advisor to the PM on the issues of housing and urban development with the rank of a minister.
Though the PM did not offer any reasons as to why the minister has been sacked, The Reporter has confirmed that Mekuria received the letter of appointment a week ago.
However, recent reports indicate that Mekuria’s ministry was raised in connection to severe maladministration and lack of good governance. According to a high-level discussion held back in November 2015, lack of good governance and emergence of rent-seeking trends in the government institution has posed a serious threat to the system. And hence, the Ministry, which is led by Mekuria, is one of the institutions that were cited in the good-governance report, which was discussed at the high-level meeting.
Following the meetings, there was wider speculation that Mekuria would be sacked both from his position and from his membership in the Council of Ministers. However, he was included in the new cabinet which was proposed by Prime Minister Hailemarim to the House of People’s Representatives last year.
Mekuria was also severely challenged in the House in June in connection with the performance of his Ministry and the slow delivery of public condominium houses to home-seekers.
Particularly, he was grilled by a Member of Parliament after he reported that over 80 blocks of condominium houses were either lost or were not constructed despite fact that they were included in the site map. MPs were also angered over his comment that he claimed he knew nothing about the lost houses.
Mekuria, who was born in Azza area of Gurage Zone, has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Addis Ababa University (AAU) and has obtained his Master’s degrees in International Business Management and Business Administration from Universities in Ireland and England. His first post in the public sector is the Trade, Industry and Urban Development Bureau of the Southern Region and cabinet member of Southern Regional State. He then moved to Addis Ababa as manager of the city under Kuma Demekssa who was back then Mayor of the city. His current ministerial portfolio materialized in 2010, in the then Urban Development and Construction Minister which was later renamed as Minster of Housing and Urban Development.