Ayalew heads to Turkey and Sinqnesh to Brazil as envoys: Their sudden removal intrigues many, including insider Addis Fortune

23 Dec

Editor’s Note:

    Ayalew Gobeze and Sinqnesh Ejigu are both executive committee members of the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM). In a leadership without a modicum either of decency or statesmanship, the speed with which the TPLF/EPRDF removed these officials from their posts – without prior notice and their expedited appointments as envoys – has only exposed the wickedness behind the clumsy maneuvering.

    This is not being said for reasons of sympathy with those “tossed away officials”. It is simply because of the ungrateful, insensitive and amateurish manner the ‘house cleaning’ has been implemented and as rejection of Ethiopians being lied to. We hear that the plot is written by Abay Tsehaye, Tsegai Berhe, Addisu Legesse and Bereket Simon – the architects of the collapse – with Chief Minister Hailemariam Desalegn as the fifth hand and the executor.

    Let it be clear that the people behind this blog do not know the concerned individuals in person; nor do they have hiccups or suffer any adverse sentiments about their leaving; like ordinary Ethiopians, we only welcomed their reputation of having clean hands – in a regime stacked with with officials practicing thuggery. We say this, notwithstanding their ineffectiveness in office. At least, they have not been accused of robbing or selling Ethiopia.

    Incidentally, this is not the first time that those at the apex of power have portrayed Ethiopia as an ungrateful nation to its citizens, although it is not characteristic of our people.

    For instance, only a week ago, former EEPCO Chief Mihret Debebe was also ungratefully booted out, after 30 years of service. It has been a while since a wacky time has come upon Ethiopia. In respect of EEPCO, the evidence of this is that, of all professional people in the country, it is Ethio Telecom and Digital Ethiopia Super Chief Minister Debretsion Gebremichael, who revealed his utmost failure to see and learn that Ethiopians respect a sense of decency, although they have not been able to find that in their leaders.

    Much in the same manner as the latest appointments, ICT Minister Debretsion recently added insult to injury, when he made two tasteless pronouncements regarding EEPCO and the man they kept for so long in position of responsibility. He said:

    (U) “በየጊዜው በተደረገ የውስጥ ግምገማ የተረጋገጠው ማኔጅመንቱ አቅም ኖሮት ቢሠራ ኖሮ፣ አገልግሎቱ እየተሻሻለ ይሄድ ነበር”

    (ለ) “ይኼንን አቶ ምሕረትም ያውቃል፡፡ እሱም የሚመሰገነውን ያህል ጉድለትም እንደነበረበት ይረዳል፡፡ ከኃላፊነቱ ሲነሳም አልደነገጠም”፡፡

    (TRANSLATION (a) “Series of internal assessments have shown that, EEPCO could have improved its performance in service delivery, if it had the requisite management capacities.”(b) “This is also known to Ato Mihret. As much as his contribution is acknowledged, he also recognizes the corporation’s shortcomings. He was not perplexed, when he was removed from his post.”)

    Ethiopians would have forgiven the minister, if he were not throwing rocks at everyone, sitting in an indiscreet glasshouse that has exposed his own poor performances because of which the nation has been running only to remain in the same place. For evidence, consult Digitial Ethiopia’s ITU report card under his stewardship of the sector for all these years – in these three yearas at the cabinet level, now rising to the rank of deputy prime minister and early on as the TPLF’s strong hand with its national security agency.

    Within the ANDAM, given that Bereket is the real hand of power and also the TPLF man at work in there (an Eritrean by birth), this theatrics of suddenly moving people like furniture has intrigued everyone, coming as it does after Ethiopia and Sudan signed border demarcation agreement on December 3, 2013. Because of that, the eyes and ears of Ethiopians are tuned to the Sudanese border – in particular on the border area of what the Sudanese call Fashaga – to see how much of Ethiopian territory would be ceded to the Sudan, without the consent of the Ethiopian people.

    Moreover, the TPLF has also tried in vain to put a different accent on these appointments, along the lines of the famous fiction Meles Zenawi had initiated and now the TPLF and ANDM officials are claiming. They say the two former officials were crossed out of the list of cabinet members for reasons of succession. Unfortunately, the successor happens to be an old hand as long time deputy to Ayalew Gobeze. Not a single young energy has moved up or is deemed qualified for the job. The truth is the regime has lost faith in Amhara youth, after Zemene Kassé, the former chairman of the youth association of the region, has abandoned them and joined Ginbot 7, operating as its political commissar from Eritrea!

    What then is the meaning of this movement of senior people? Where is the succession?

    “It has not been clear what prompted this change”, cautiously concludes Addis Fortune’s Tamrat Gebregiorgis about the treatment of Ayalew Gobeze and Sinqnesh Ejigu, with an unusual brevity he is not known for. He also seems to wonde what makes those who wield power of the Ethiopian state to be behaving so rudely and arrogantly.



Ayalew Heads toTurkey, and Sinqenesh to Brazil

by Tamrat Gebregiorgis, Addis Fortune

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory

A president of a regional state and a high ranking minister in Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn cabinet, have been reassigned to overseas missions.

They were relieved of their respective office to be appointed as ambassadors to Turkey and Brazil, respectively.

Ayalew Gobeze, president of the Amhara Regional State, and Sinqenesh Ejigu, minister of Mines, have been appointed as ambassadors to Turkey and Brazil, respectively. This comes after the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) held its congress in Bahir Dar, the seat of the Amhara Regional State where the party is governing.

It has not been clear what prompted this change. But senior leaders in the party say it is part of the succession plan the party has been carrying out in recent years.

“The party’s leadership wants them to serve in other assignments which it deems are crucial,” said a senior leader of ANDM, dispelling rumors that the two officials were reassigned due to poor performance or a result of an inter-party squabble.

Both Ayalew and Sinqenesh have served in their respective positions for close to eight years.

Ayalew, a humble personality well liked by many in the Amhara region, has been serving the regional state as president since 2008, where he began his debut as a senior official of the regional cabinet in 2005, under Addisu Legesse. He has also been a member of the House of Federation, since 2005. However, his ascendance in the ruling party began in 2006, when he was first elected as an executive committee member of the ANDM, during the sixth congress of the party.

A teacher when EPRDF insurgents advanced toward Addis Abeba in the early 1990s, Ayalew represents a generation of EPRDFites that have joined the party after the fall of the military government, in May 1991. He is the peer of Demeke Mekonnen, now chairman of the ANDM and deputy prime minister, and Gegu Andargachew, his deputy. The latter began his ascendancy in 2005, after he was appointed to be member the Budget Subsidy & Revenues Affairs Standing Committee of the House of Federation.

Chaired by Ayalew, the 10-member committee had comprised politicians such as Shiferaw Shigute, now minister of Education, Redwan Hussien, now director general of Government Communications Affairs Office, Abadula Gemeda, speaker of Parliament, and Abay Woldu, president of the Tigray Regional State.

Gedu has been appointed as president of the Amhara Regional State, although the assembly of the regional administration’s council has yet to endorse his new role. He became an executive committee member of the ANDM in the same year as Ayalew, although both have been members of the party’s central committee since 1999.

Ayalew is soon to travel toAnkara,Turkey, to serve asEthiopia’s ambassador, filling the vacant position there, following the departure of Mulatu Teshome (PhD), now president of the Republic. President Mulatu is credited for enhancing, substantially, not only the bilateral trade between the two countries, but also attracting foreign direct investment from Turkey’s investors, particularly in the textile industry. Close to 115 Turkish companies have invested 1.2 billion dollars in Ethiopia since 2003, while its contractors have managed 21 projects with a total projected cost of 2.4 billion dollars.

During Mulatu’s tour of duty, Turkey became the ninth largest trading partner forEthiopia, with a bilateral trade volume of a little less than half a billion dollars, in 2012. Largely exporting iron and steel to Ethiopia but also industrial machineries, the trade balance remains in favour ofTurkey, with a trade surplus of nearly 350 million dollars.Ethiopia exported in the same year to Turkey close to 47 million dollars worth of primary agricultural goods such as oilseeds, fruits, cereals and industrial outputs including textile, yarn, fabrics and apparels.

Another emerging economy where Ethiopian officials are keen to establish stronger ties isBrazil, a country of nearly 200 million people with an economy that has 2.2 trillion dollars in gross domestic product (GDP). It is the sixth largest economy in the world.

Prime Minister Hailemariam has appointed Sinqenesh, a minister of Mines up until last week, to serve asEthiopia’s first ambassador toBrazil.

Both countries opened embassies in their respective capitals in recent years, although they have a history of brief relationship back in the late 1960s. It was during Emperor Hailesellasie’s visit to the country to visit how its leaders changed the capital from Rio de Janeiro to Brasilia that he had suffered a failed military coup back home. The Emperor was keen to moveEthiopia’s capital from Addis Abeba to Bahir Dar.

The two countries did not see it fit to continue such high level diplomatic representation, thus closed them soon after; Ethiopia closed its Embassy in the same year it had opened its Embassy in 1968, and Brazil in 1970. It took another 45 years before Brazil took the initiative to reopen its Embassy in Addis Abeba. The same ambassador is also accredited to the Africa Union (AU).Ethiopia reciprocated this move in reopening its embassy in 2011. The late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was the second leader of Ethiopia to visitRio de Janeiro in 2011, and President, Dilma V. Rousseff visited Ethiopia this year, the first forBrazil’s leaders.

Sinqenesh is the second senior government official who is also an executive committee member of the ANDM to leave office on Thursday, December 18, 2013. She leaves behind a ministry where she has been serving since 2001. She was first a state minister for Mines under Mohammed Dirir, nowEthiopia’s ambassador toEgypt, and a minister since 2010. Her ministerial position is filled by her deputy, Tollosa Shiga, sources disclosed to Fortune.

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