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Tigray interim gov’t plans regional, zonal overhaul

Tigray interim gov’t plans regional, zonal overhaul

The interim government of Tigray announced it will change administrative bodies at regional and zonal levels; however, woreda and kebele level administrations will stay intact.

Speaking at a press conference held at the Office of the Prime Minister on November 20, 2020, CEO of the interim government, Mulu Nega (PhD) along with the spokesperson of the State of Emergency Command Post, Redwan Hussein (Amb.), said: “both the executive and law making organs at regional and zonal levels will be dismantled and replaced by new appointees, according to criteria put in place in a newly drafted charter.”

According to Mulu, the criteria require appointees for the executive organs to be civilians of professional background, competent personalities and have public support to serve. The selection process will include public discussions to validate the choices.

Cognizant that the interim government established by the House of Federation is not elected and assumes power in a region that recently held its own regional election to establish an executive and legislative body, Mulu explained that they intend to gain public trust by demonstrating that they work in the interest of the people. He also said that the election held in Tigray on September 9, 2020 was illegal and was deemed so by the relevant institutions at the federal level.

“We are not here to stay for years; our main task is to bring smooth transition,” he asserted.

Thus, he said, they will work for a democratic, participatory, free and fair election, according to the rules and regulations of the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE). Through this, he said, they intend to demonstrate that change will come in various aspects.

“We are not just preaching to the people, but the administration will demonstrate that it is in favor of the people and if we do this, the appointees will get support from the people of Tigray,” he stressed.

The CEO stated that the interim government has four main mandates. He pointed out organizing regional executive organs, appointing at regional and local levels, ensuring law and order in the region, facilitating the conduct of the sixth national elections according to NEBE laws, and actively implementing tasks assigned to it by the federal government as the main responsibilities of the interim government.

Drafted by the interim government, the charter envisions a shift from the previous conduct of politics in the region. Hence, the interim government, through the charter, plans to ensure peace and security, conduct rehabilitation work in collaboration with the government and other humanitarian agencies, ensure justice prevails, provide social services that were stopped, open-up the political space, restore peace and security as well as conduct public relations work for a good reputation.

Although competent and professional independent members of the society are tipped to join the ranks of the interim administration, Mulu announced that the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) will not be allowed to take part.

Meanwhile, Redwan announced that the government is working with various civil society and international organizations to provide humanitarian assistance to people living in the war zone. In this regard, the government is in discussion with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), and the United Nations Ethiopia Resident Coordinator to deliver humanitarian assistance to areas of war. He also said the Ministry of Peace (MoP) has also reached out to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to help coordinate the provision of assistance.

In tandem with its plan to engage local Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), the government also briefed local CSOs on the current status as “they are going to have their fair share” in helping out the society. There is also a plan to brief foreign CSOs on the same issue.

In addition, there is also a fact-finding mission to the battlefields to identify routes and mechanisms of delivering humanitarian assistance to people in need of assistance, Redwan added. Hence, in areas under the federal government’s control, humanitarian activities are said to be handled by the government while there is a plan to find safer routes for humanitarian assistants to reach people in areas where the government’s forces have not reached.

“In areas that are not free, there should be a safer corridor to let organizations deliver food and medicine,” he indicated.