House approves ministerial appointments
The House of People’s Representatives (HPR) has approved the appointments of three Ministers nominated by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD). Approved in its regular session on Thursday, the three nominees were presented before lawmakers by Deputy Government Whip, Mesfin Chernet, reading out their respective profiles and career.
Accordingly, Getahun Mekuria (PhD-Ing.) who was the Minister of Innovation and Technology (MInT) since 2019, has been appointed as the new Minister of Education (MoE). He was also the Minister at the former Ministry of Science and Technology from 2016 to 2018 before the Ministry was restructured to MInT following the coming into power of the curre9nt Administration. Getahun replaces Tilaye Gette (PhD), who has left the Ministry for a diplomatic role in Paris [as Ethiopia’s representative to UNESCO].
Similarly, with the approval of MPs’ by a majority vote, Abrham Belay (PhD), who was the CEO of Ethiopian Electric Power since 2018, has become the Minister of Innovation and Technology replacing Getahun.
Picked from the Amhara Regional State’s cabinet position, the PM’s third nominee Melaku Alebel, has joined the Council of Ministers (CoM) after the House approved his appointment, becoming the Minister of Trade and Industry. Melaku, who was the Head of Trade and Industry Bureau in the Amhara region, has replaced Fetlework Gebregziabher, who was recently removed from the position by PM Abiy.
Even though no explanations were given by the Office of the Prime Minister, it is speculated that the removal of Fetlework is linked with the dispute between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the current administration, following the reform into a unified Prosperity Party, which the former has rejected.
Immediately after the announcement, the Central Committee (CC) of TPLF has issued a statement condemning what it called “an intentional and coarse,” measure targeting its members in the Federal and Addis Ababa City Administration positions.
The statement did not explicitly mention PM Abiy’s administration, however, it recounted why and how the organization parted ways with the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), which merged sometime in November 2019, to transform into a single national party “Prosperity Party.”
“At this point, our members who are in the Federal and Addis Ababa City Administrative positions are being removed from their post only because they are TPLF leaders and members. This will never be accepted,” said the statement.
In addition, the statement warned that there will be consequences. “The body that is taking this illegal measure will take the responsibility for the consequence that follows. The Office of the Prime Minister is the authority that makes cabinet reshuffles.”
Nevertheless, the three ministers were sworn into office by the President of the Federal Supreme Court of Ethiopia, Meaza Ashenafi, before MPs.
A day earlier, the ruling Prosperity Party named Zadig Abraha, Coordinator of Democracy Building Center Coordinator Cluster Head, with a rank of a Minister at the Office of the Prime Minister. Zadig was a senior official and member of TPLF, recently turned critic of the TPLF.
In the same session, the House heard the mid-year performance report of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, presented by the Minister of Science and Higher Education, Hirut Woldemariam (Prof.).
Hirut’s report comes in the face of a serious university crisis that has caused an unprecedented violence and interruptions in the teaching and learning activities of several universities across the nation.
In her report, she highlighted major setbacks and challenges her Office has faced over the past few months due to the violence and chaos. Furthermore, the death of university students was reported in some of the education facilities.
She said administrative measures were taken against more than 1,200 students, teachers and administrative staff, for having links in the unrest that occurred in the universities since early November.