House approves appointments in chaotic session
TPLF MPs accuse PP of marginalizing Tigray people, party
The House of People’s Representatives (HPR) on Thursday endorsed the appointments of new cabinet ministers.
However, the regular session was filled with harsh criticisms forwarded by MPs, over the background of the appointed ministers. The parliament also heard the profiles of individuals nominated by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD), to appoint a nine-member Board of Directors for the Ethiopian Press Agency (EPA).
During the session, which was held on Thursday, MPs endorsed the PM’s nominees, which saw prominent individuals such as the erstwhile Minister of Revenues, Adanech Abebe to assume the top office at the Office of the Attorney General, while the former Deputy Chief Administrator of Amhara Regional State, La’ke Ayalew, replacing Adanech at the Ministry of Revenues. Meanwhile, State Minister of Health Liya Tadesse (MD) was promoted to a Ministerial post to head the Ministry of Health. Filsen Abdulahi has also been appointed as the new Minister of Women, Children and Youth.
Adanech and Liya were both hailed by MPs for their extraordinary achievements they have accomplished in their respective Ministries.
Filsen, with this latest appointment, has become the youngest member of the Council of Ministers, assuming the executive post at the age of 29. Born in Dire Dawa, she has earned her BA and MA degrees from Harvard University. Currently, she is establishing a privately owned TV station in Jigjiga town, a seat of Somali Regional State.
Some MPs from Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) criticized the newly-nominated Ministers arguing there were no nominations that represented TPLF and the people of Tigray.
Kassa Gugsa said: “We don’t need to have a Minister who seeks to take a share of the wealth that has been accumulated for more than 27 years.” He said that the country at this critical time, needs efficient and responsible ministers, who can forward problem solving ideas and remedies, instead of having appointments in top government offices based on blood relationships and kinship; labeling the latest appointments as mob-driven and uncharacteristically coming every six-months.
Another MP, Gebre Egziabher, fiercely criticized the government over the nominations and said, “It is very disappointing to see this House being busy on appointments of ministers yet the country is deep crises.”
“The Prime minister once went to Tigray and told the Tigray people that there is no Ethiopia without the people of Tigray. However, what we are witnessing from this appointment is a deliberate and intentional move to sideline the people of Tigray by sidelining its party. Hence, these appointments are not appropriate and legitimate. It is not acceptable to marginalize us while our party is in this House with its legitimate personality,” Gebregziabher told MPs.
Other MPs from Prosperity Party (PP) defended the nominees arguing that their appointments are based on their merits, experience and requirements beyond kinship and blood relations. Other MPs argued that the legitimate role PP has in the parliament, is inherited from the now defunct EPRDF.
There were also few MPs witnessed, unable to control their emotions, as they tried to interrupt other MPs who were speaking. This drove the House Speaker to react angrily against those interrupting the proceedings without permission granted to them.
“You should behave according to the rule. You don’t have to act rudely without a permission granted to express your opinion,” Tagesse shouted.
After the chaotic scenes in the House, MPs later approved the appointments with a majority vote, with 21 voting against.
Besides the ministerial appointments, the House has also voted on further appointments to the Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (FEACC). Nominated by PM Abiy, the House approved the appointment of Tsegaye Arage as Commissioner, by a majority vote. Out of the total lawmakers attending the session, 11 MPs voted against while six abstained from voting.
Furthermore, the House approved the appointment of board members of the Ethiopian Press Agency (EPA) comprised of nine members.
The nominees includes Awol Abdi, who was nominated for Chairperson’s role, while the others include Abebech Shiketa, Garedech Jemaneh (PhD), Manyazewal Endeshaw, Daniel Kibret, Obang Metho, Wodajeneh Meharene (PhD) and Konte Mussa (PhD). Meanwhile, Getnet Tadesse who is the current Director General of EPA was nominated for the secretary role.
Several MPs have questioned the nomination of Daniel Kibret (Deacon) over his impartiality to serve as a board member of the state media publisher.
While MPs began to protest Daniel’s nomination, the debate got more heated as more MPs from TPLF joined the foray; repeatedly voicing the alleged marginalization of Tigray people and its party [TPLF]. Some of the MPs even raised ‘legitimacy issue’ of the ruling party. They argued that it is only TPLF that is the legitimate party in this House and not prosperity party.
Due to the debates and protests over Daniels nomination, House Speaker Tagesse chaffo resorted to conduct voting separately on Daniels nomination, before opening the floor for a collective voting.
However, the voting on Daniel was made twice, after the first round of voting results were contested by chaotic MPs requesting another vote.
In the first round, the result was 146 in favor, 129 against and 27 abstentions.
After the complaints, the House Speaker allowed a second round of voting. This time, Daniel was appointed with 148 votes for, while 126 were against and 24 abstained.
Finally, the House Speaker resorted to a collective voting task to approve the Board of Management nominated by the PM. With it; the nominated board members have been approved with a majority vote while only 20 voting against.