Oromia picks new, de facto president
Joining Tigrai and Somali Regional States as well as Addis Ababa City Administration,the Oromia Regional State has become the fourth region to appoint Vice President, whois not a member of its regional council—ChefeOromia,asits next de factopresident to lead the region in a turbulent period.
In an extraordinary session called on Thursday afternoon, Chefe Oromiaapproved Shimelis Abdisa as the new deputy president of the region, filling the vacancy left by Lemma Megerssa, who was appointed as the Defense Minister, the same morning.
Shimelisserved as the Head of the Office of the Prime Minister replacing FitsumArega, who was appointed as Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the US.
It is to be recalled that Debretsion Gebremichael (PhD) of the Tigrai Regional State and Mustefa Mohammed Omerof Somali region were appointed to run their respective regions with a Vice Presidential rank.Deberetsion, who was a member of the House of Peoples’ Representatives (HPR),was not a member ofTigrai’s regional Council when he was assigned to lead the region. Nevertheless, he wasapproved by the regionalcouncil for the Vice Presidential role.Debretsion left Addis Ababa for Mekele and still holds his seat in the HPR.
However, Mustefa Omer’s case is different since he was noteven in the party leadership position for quite a few years before being appointed as the de facto president. Mustefaisa rights activist and an Agricultural economist by profession,and was elected by the Somali Council in August2018 after its former president, Abdi Illey, was forced to resign and later detained by federal police here in Addis Ababa.
In the same trend, Addis Ababa is also run by adeputy mayor who is not a member of its Council, since July 2019. Following the city’s charter revision by the HPR, Addis Ababa tookTakele Umaas de facto mayorof the biggest city in Ethiopia.
However, in spite of their rank, they are responsible for their region ina presidential capacity.
In a statement issued on Thursday afternoon, Oromo Democratic Party (ODP) Central Committee said that the election aims at replacing the former president, Lemma Megerssa, who went to lead the defense ministry.
Furthermore, it is to be recalled that Gedu Andargachew, former president of region, has resigned from his post two months ago as Chief administrator of Amhara regional state to be replaced by AmbachewMekonen. His successor is reportedly one of the key figures in the recent reform process along with some senior politicians in both ADP and ODP.
In related news, Addisu Arega as well is appointed as head of the ODP secretariat, the party that is governing the region. He replaces Alemu Sime, the former Head of the secretariat.
Previously, Addisu has served as Rural Sector Cluster Head in the Office. He was the head of the region’s Communication Bureau during the infamous violence and protests that had rocked the region as well as the country.