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Ethiopia: Abiy names Cabinet as pressure from US, EU mounts

244083654 1197152997442548 3180914317398628734 nEthiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has replaced two key ministers days after being sworn in for a new term. The country’s leadership faces growing pressure from the West to resolve the Tigray crisis.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has named a new defense minister and peace minister in a Cabinet shake-up that comes just days after he took the oath of office as prime minister for a new five-year term.

The Cabinet was approved on Wednesday by parliament, where Abiy’s Prosperity Party has an overwhelming majority after winning June’s elections.

The new defense minister, Abraham Belay, was previously the head of the federally appointed interim administration in the Tigray region, where fighting between government forces and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has been raging for 11 months.

Abraham is said to be very close to Abiy, with both having done stints at Ethiopia’s cyberespionage agency. In addition, Abraham was previously minister of innovation and technology, a position Abiy has also held.

Abraham is Tigrayan, one of dozens of ethnic groups in Ethiopia.

It is “symbolically interesting” to see a Tigrayan appointed as defense minister, Kjetil Tronvoll, a professor of peace and conflict studies at Norway’s Bjorknes University College who closely follows Ethiopia’s politics, told DW over the phone from Oslo.

“But I don’t think it will be looked upon from the Tigrayan constituency as a kind of an olive branch,” Tronvoll said.

Tronvoll said many Tigrayans saw Abraham as having “sold out” when he assumed the position as interim administrator of Tigray earlier this year after Ethiopia’s Parliament declared the regional leadership illegal.

New peace minster

The Peace Ministry, which oversees civilian security agencies such as the police, also has a new chief. Benalf Andualem, the head of the Prosperity Party’s secretariat, is viewed as one of Ethiopia’s most powerful figures after Abiy.

In Benalf’s appointment, Ethiopia analyst Tronvoll sees Abiy bringing in a “much stronger, possibly more hard-line, more loyalist figure close to his orbit.”

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“It might appear in the sense that Abiy is bunkering down and circling the wagons, putting even more loyalists into these very prominent ministries [Defense and Peace],” Tronvoll said.

Abiy Ahmed holds up his hand as he is sworn inAbiy was sworn in Monday for a new term; he became Ethiopia’s prime minister in 2018

Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mokonnen, as expected, has held on to both his posts.

Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry stoked outrage last week after announcing the expulsion of seven UN officials — a decision set to be discussed by the UN Security Council on Wednesday.

Abiy’s office touted the fact that three new Cabinet members hail from opposition parties, saying on Twitter that this reflected a “commitment to inclusivity”.

Deutshe Welle

2 Comments

  1. The west hypocrisy is in strides again patronizing an independent African nation. Echos of all these humanitarian intervention during DERG time which had all the hallmarks of political influence ( Good read here: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=qM0bAgAAQBAJ&rdid=book-qM0bAgAAQBAJ&rdot=1&source=gbs_vpt_read&pcampaignid=books_booksearch_viewport Titled Famine and Forced Relocation in Ethiopia1984-1986 by Laurence Binet free in Google Play). Their deep political involvement and childish allegations is in parallel to what currently UN, US and EU are doing against sovereign Ethiopia. It is a comical assessment and all allegations as in the book stating “while the DERG is spending 200 millions in political celebrations and Ethiopian Airlines are getting another 200 millions in boeings 100 thousands are dying” moto. So what we can say about millions of black children that are poor and die in the streets of America while uncle Sam is spending trillions it do all what is not humanitarian spends. How about EU and its refugee population that are living under subhuman conditions for decades and most die there living like that? But yet the westt kids do com to patronize Africans on how to run their country and people. The west does not have any moral ground to talk about humanitarian principles whan it has been using it for decades to siphon billions of tax payers money and used it for decades as political instrument. We know for fact in the west they spend the entire price of a home to “support” the home less just in one year including housing , medical and street reach programs, policing, etc. And yet most homeless people will leave and dye homeless because the support is designed to benefit the service providers eternally not the real victims. In dead DERD was providing the relocated people a real fresh start and OST were flourishing in the south and the west until th current ethnic system started ethnic strife. I am not fan of Abiy pseudo authoritarian democarcy in which the judicial , legislative and executive are not separate. Neither Is am his fan when he is jailing journalists and peaceful activists like Eskinder Neha.Or his complete silence and inaction about IDPs and ethnic violence and discrimination including in his home base Oromia region. I neither support hisgrip on the current ethnic based federalism that only have brought paint in most Ethiippans when civic based federation would a better practical solution. But that said when the virtual hen the sovereignty of Ethiopia is at stake we probably need to push back in unison as their aim is more nefarious than the difference we may have between us.

  2. Well said, SLW.
    The hypocrisy of the West goes without saying. Now the most alarming development is the complicity of the UN in destabilizing Ethiopia more. I was stunned to hear the Secretary General accusing Ethiopia at the Security Council floor the other day of violating international law for expelling 7 UN personnel who were caught meddling in the internal affairs of Ethiopia and working to create a “Darfur like crises” (their own words) out of the conflict in Tigray. No Secretary General has ever dared before to accuse any Member State of violating international law before. Even the late Kofi Annan was careful in criticizing US for its illegal war against Iraq. But this SG thinks that he can be the prosecutor and the judge for the acts of his own compromised personnel who are taking order from the US and EU, if the allegation is against poor African country who, he thinks, is losing the support of the US. Expelling UN officials is a common practice. In fact, Israel expels them every time with some spanking. Ethiopia did nothing new. It acted within the scope of the rules and principles of international law. The Secretary General is veteran in the UN. He knows the rules. But when it comes to Ethiopia he chose to be on the side the bullies.

    There is no much time left for Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia to stand up and defend Ethiopia. The concerted pressure and sabotage by US and EU is getting to a dangerous level. For them, it is not about Tigray or humanitarian concerns. They do not like Abiy, who is the choice of most Ethiopians as confirmed by the recently held election. They do not also like the close relationship created among Abiy, Isyas of Eritrea and Somalia. Imagine these countries were once enemy to each other. Now when they create peace among themselves, suddenly the West, except the Nobel committee, is not happy.

    Ethiopians as well as Diaspora Ethiopians, should stand on the side at this uniquely dangerous moment, at their own peril. Anyone who wishes to see Ethiopia continue as one, peaceful and stable country should stand up and make their voice heard. TPLF, the Trojan Horse, of the West, should be defeated and defeated quickly. Ethiopia has no choice. Even if Abiy sits with the TPLF, there is no chance of arriving at a lasting solution. The ideology of the TPLF is dominating Ethiopia and if not destroying her. There is no grey area for them. They have said it so many times that they cannot leave as equals with the rest of Ethiopians. So, time is running out not only for Abiy and his administration, but also to each and every Ethiopian who does not wish to see his country under a bloodbath due to West-designed or US-induced disintegration.

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