President Sahlework, PM Abiy to share palace compound
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) has revealed both the FDRE President and the Prime Minister will be housed in the same compound as the current residence a.k.a. the National Palace is set to be a public museum.
PM Abiy, addressing the House of People’s Representatives final parliamentary day on Monday, announced that several projects will be carried out in Addis Ababa and the country, in the new fiscal year of 2012 (2019/20 G.C)
According to Abiy, currently, comprehensive maintenances and additional construction activities are underway to restore both palaces eventually turning them to leading tourist attraction sites.
The Menelik Palace, also known as the Imperial Palace, is a palatial compound in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. For years known as the Gebi, was the seat of the power of Ethiopia's emperors. Within its confines are several residences, halls, chapels, and working buildings. Today, it contains the offices and residence of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia.
The palace grounds contain different churches which are historical including Ta'eka Negest (Resting Place of Kings) Ba'eta Le Mariam Monastery.
In addition to the Menelik Palace, according to the premier, the National Palace where President Sahlework lives will also be opened to the public partially. The PM believes would make the city’s top tourist destination spot that will eventually fetch huge earnings for the government.
The National Palace of Ethiopia was built in 1955 to mark Emperor Haile-Selassie’s Silver Jubilee and was called the Jubilee Palace. The palace was expanded and doubled in size between 1966 and 1967. The palace was also the site where the Derg dethroned Emperor Haile Selassie I in September 1974.
The Derg renamed the Palace the "National Palace," which still bears the name today. With the fall of the Derg, and the proclamation of the Federal Republic, the Jubilee Palace became the official residence of the President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
While explaining the plan to re-develop the palace, Abiy told MPs it has untapped resources in it and should be turned into a more advanced level of wealth to benefit the country.
“Haile-Selassie I was a collector of various brands of luxury cars. We have these cars until today including Cadillac vehicles. We should unlock them and keep them accessible to the public. By doing so, we can create significant jobs from such kinds of resources that we have not been unable exploit for decades.”
It can be recalled that the Ethiopian Government announced its intention to build a new official presidential residence; however, the PM did not mention anything about the recently built presidential housing at a cost of more than 170 million birr inside the famous Prince Mekonnen compound, around Sidst Kilo.
The Reporter attempted to learn about the current status and the fate of the newly built palace from officials of Palace Administration. However, it was not successful despite repeated phone calls and emailed requests.
The design of the building was reportedly done by Ultimate Consultants, and the new palace was constructed by Zamra Construction. It is to be recalled that the building of Prince Mekonnen was also rehabilitated without making changes to its original architectural beauty. Similarly, the new building was recently completed in the ancient premise with similar architectural design to the old building.
In a related development, the PM further indicated that the country’s largest public library and park would be opened in the budget year in front of the current parliamentary facility. “The construction of the library, Adwa Park and other projects has already been launched at a cost of 10 billion birr in Addis Ababa,” he told legislators.
According to the PM, the would-be library and park will lay on a huge plot of land stretching from the area in front of the current plot, to the fence of Ministry Foreign Affairs. Most parts of this plot of land was planned for Sheraton Addis second phase expansion project.
The current Addis Ababa City Administration has re-possessed huge plots of land from other investors as well. It is to be recalled that the administration reportedly took the action for the reasons these investors failed to re-develop the areas in accordance with the intended purpose.