Ethiopia -Ethiopia has finally approved its cabinet on Wednesday after international pressure. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has decided to name a new defense minister as well as a peace minister after this time for the cabinet.
The cabinet shuffle came days after he took the oath for the top position and extended his term to another five years. Ethiopia has been the center of violence for a year and many blame the negligence of the prime minister for this, however, other experts feel that if it would have been anyone else, things would have been much worse.
The cabinet was officially approved by the parliament yesterday where Abuy’s party already enjoys an overwhelming majority after winning by a fair share of votes in the June elections.
The new minister to hold the position of defense minister is not a face for the parliament. Abraham Belay has previously held the position of the head of the federally appointed interim administration of the country’s Tigray region.
His appointment is extremely crucial for the administration given the infighting in the country between government forces and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). The two ministers are supposedly very close as they already had workers at Ethiopia’s cyberespionage agency.
Thereafter, Abraham also held the position of minister of innovation and technology, a position that the prime minister previously held. The country is witnessing a rise in ethnically dominated crimes and at a time like this, having a Tigrayan minister in the face of Abraham is bound to create a major impact.
Kjetil Tronvoll an expert in the field in peace and conflict studies at Norway’s Bjorknes University College said, “But I don’t think it will be looked upon from the Tigrayan constituency as a kind of an olive branch,” Tronvoll said.
Tigrayans are completely against the appointment of Abraham as they feel that he has sold himself in this process of gaining political power. They had already lost hope when he was appointed as the interim administrator and this further promotion in the position, makes it worse for their relations. As of the Peace Ministry, Benalf Andualem has been selected to hold the office. The department oversees security agencies such as police and security. He is known to be the most powerful Ethiopian political figure after Abiy and with his appointment, people will support the party with more confidence.