April 18, 2019 (GMN) - Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed reshuffled his cabinet today, appointing Gedu Andargachew as Foreign Affairs Minister and Lemma Megersa as Defense Minister, perhaps signaling the tough road ahead.
Ethiopia is currently experiencing grave security situation, including a breakdown of law and order in many parts of the country, which the Prime Minister has so far failed to bring under control. On the political front, according to some, cracks have appeared in the alliance that propelled Abiy Ahmed to power, the Oromo-Amhara alliance. The current appointments are probably meant to address both.
Lemma Megersa served as Chief Administrator of the Oromia regional state from October 2016 until appointment now. He is a close ally of the Prime Minister and a key driver of the change that has swept Ethiopia in the last couple of years, the leadership of which is nicknamed "Team Lemma."
Shimeles Abdisa, formerly head of PM office, a key ally of the Prime Minister, and still a federal parliament member, was elected as Chief Administrator of Oromia region following an emergency meeting of the state assembly.
Gedu Andargachew is the former president of Amhara regional state. After serving five years in this position, he was replaced as Chief Administrator of the state in March 2019 by the current chief Administrator Dr. Ambachew Mekonnen. He is perceived as one of the architects of the Oromo-Amhara alignment and also a key member of the team that brought change in Ethiopia.
Gedu Andargachew replaces Workneh Gebeyehu of Oromo Democratic Party (ODP), who was named head of the United Nations Africa office in Nairobi last month.
Lemma Megersa replaces Aisha Mohammed from Afar region, who was hailed a few months ago as Ethiopia’s first female Defense Minister.
In the current reshuffle, Aisha Mohammed was appointed a minister of Urban Development and Construction. She held this position before she moved to defense.
All three appointees were approved by the Ethiopian Parliament and sworn in by office by Chief Justice Meaza Ashenafi.
The Prime Minister complained about the difficulty of making appointments in the current system. He said the outcome is not just his desire as the chief executive, but the outcome of negotiations between different parties.
However, some members of parliament have reportedly complained about the frequent changes in cabinet appointments. (Media Agencies)