Weeks after the news of the former investment commissioner’s resignation broke, more nonpartisan officials are giving-up their leadership roles, with the latest coming from the Job Creation Commission.
Medical doctor by training, Ephrem Tekle was instrumental in setting-up the Job Creation Commission and has led it for nearly two years until he resigned on Thursday. He wrote on Twitter, “Dear colleagues, it is with mixed feelings, that I share the news of my resignation as the Commissioner of the Jobs Creation Commission, Ethiopia, for a completely personal reason. My near two years’ of service in establishing and leading the commission has been educating and gratifying.”
His resignation comes a week after his report on the performance of the commission and COVID-19 impacts on jobs was released.
It can be recalled that, Ephrem reported that more than a quarter of a million jobs, 330,000, to be exact, have been lost due to the pandemic, out of the 3.3 million jobs created during the concluded fiscal year.
Similar to Ephrem, nonparty member officials provided personal matters as reasons for their departures. Prior to Ephrem, Abebe Abebayehu, former Commissioner of Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC), tendered his resignation stating “personal matters.”
Nearly two years ago, Abebe’s predecessor, Belachew Mekuria (PhD) left the EIC in a similar manner. Abebe, a technocrat working close with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD), used to serve under Abiy’s macroeconomic team, until he was assigned to replace Belachew. Currently, Abebe is working for Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
While Ephrem has publicly announced his departure, Hallelujah Lulie, currently heading the Institute of Strategic Affairs (ISA), is another nonpartisan official whose resignation has been widely talked about.
According to sources, his resignation letter was submitted two months ago, prior to Ephrem. Sources well aware of the matter have told The Reporter that his resignation has not yet been accepted by the Prime Minister. According to sources, Hallelujah has submitted his letter of resignation partly because of work environment. While others say his departure relates to personal matters.
The ISA, is a newly formed institution mostly operating as a think-tank body of the government on political, security and foreign policy matters.
The slowly growing list of nonpartisan official’s departures is raising questions on the administration. Commentators suggest that the growing pressure from partisans and members of the ruling party is one of the major reasons and that, party members have been asking Abiy to relieve nonpartisan officials from their posts.
While the participation of a nonpartisan public official, in the daily bureaucracies of government could be seen as a step towards transparency, others suggest that officials paid by UN agencies and other entities were only assigned for a brief moment.
As of press time, efforts to include comments from both Ephrem and Hallelujah bore no fruit.