The House of People’s Representatives (HPR) on Thursday approved six new management board members for the state owned broadcaster–the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) –with FikaduTessema, appointed to chair the Board.
During its 28th regular session,the House entertained questions and criticisms over the composition of the Board and the six individuals nominated by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD).
Ordinarily, EBC’s management board is composed of eight members, and on Thursday’s session, six were endorsed with Fikadu asthe chairman and Tefera Derbew (from the Office of the Prime Minister),ErgogeResfaye(PhD) (the current Minister of Labor and Social Affairs), YetnebershNigusie (Prominent activist on issues of Human Rights and people with Disability),UstazAbubeker Ahmed ( a public figure and an Islamic Scholar) and AbdiwasAbdulhi(PhD)(State Minister of Science and Higher Education).
According to the Government whip who presented the bill to the House, the remaining two members will be retained from the existing Board and are the veteran politician MereraGundina (PhD) and one KamiyaJunedine.
The newly elected chairman of the Board, Fekadu, 40,is currently serving as the Coordinator for Democratic System Building Center. He is also thehead of the Secretariat of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and chairs Dire Dawa University’s management Board.In addition to these responsibilities, Fikadu holds a position in both the ODP and the EPRDF.
MPs questioned the executive over its criteria and requirement to nominate senior government officials to the position while the appointees are serving in two or more boars.
According to MPs, there are several findings,which the House and the standing committees have repeatedly identified, that serving on the management of different boards have become the causes for their respective organization’s inefficiencies as they are engaged in top government responsibilities and would have multiple commitments at the same time.
There were a few MPs who questioned the nominee’s relevancy and educational background to lead the state broadcaster citing none are from a media background or related to streams of educational trainings.
While responding to questions and concerns,Challa (Gov’t Whip), acknowledged the need to reconsider the selection of nominees who currently hold top government position, as well as multi-participation in board management roles in one or two other organizations at the same time.
He, however, stressed the basic reason or the rationale for selecting senior officials for EBC’s Board is that, “Since such sectors have to be led politically, they are required to be led by top management that have a political leadership role.”
Though the appointees are from political leadership positions, it does not mean that they are required to undertake every task of the organization replacing the respective professionals. They have only a leadership role to contribute to, and help a particular organization.
He, however, down played criticisms that none of the nominees are from journalism or media related educational backgrounds.
Though most of the nominees have various educational backgrounds, it is not fair to justify nuns are from media and related educational background. At least one of the nominees likeErgoge, has acquired her first degree with a media related sector even though here second and third degree is in other educational fields,” he told the House adding that MPs can for instance refer the Minister of Labor and Social affairs CV which was distributed to MPs along with the Resolution documents presented for endorsement.
However, The Reporter looked at the nominees CVs including Ergoge’s. But, as stated in the document, her first degreeis in Foreign Language and Literature.
Though some of the MPs suggested that the resolution should be reviewed by the government, and brought back here for the House in another time. The House later endorsed it with a majority vote while 10 MPs voted against it and 28 abstaining.