Ethiopia: Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Sunday introduced unexpected changes in the defense, intelligence, and foreign affairs leadership days after his government launched a military operation in Tigray region against Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) leaders on alleged grounds of attacks on the Northern Command.
Defense Chief of Staff of the Ethiopian Defense Force General Adem Mohammed is removed from his position. It is unclear if he is appointed for a different role. He served in the position since June 2019 following the assassination of General Seare Mekonnen who was chief of the Defense Force.
General Berhanu Jula who was serving as deputy chief of staff and head of operations of the defense force is now promoted as Chief of the Defense Staff.
Let. General Abebaw Tadesse, who was “retired” and recently recalled for service following the outbreak of military conflict in the Tigray region, is appointed as Deputy Chief of Staff of the Defense Force.
Abiy Ahmed also made changes to the National Information and Security Services, Ethiopia’s ss intelligence department. Director Demelash Gebremichael is removed as the top man in the department. He is given a new role as the Federal Police Commission.
From outside of the military and security departments, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will no longer have Gedu Andargachew as Minister. Abiy Ahmed gave him a new role “as national security adviser” to the Minister although it is unclear if Gedu had any relevant experience in that area.
President of Amhara regional state Temesgen Tiruneh is abandoning his position as Abiy Ahmed wants him to serve as director of Ethiopian national intelligence. Agegnehu Teshager is taking over as head of Amhara regional state. Temesgen Tiruneh has some work experience in the intelligence department.
Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonenen is appointed to serve as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia in addition to his current role. It was a TPLF era tradition to appoint a deputy prime minister as Minister for Foreign Affairs. Hailemariam Desalegne was a deputy prime minister and a foreign affairs minister at the same time under Meles Zenawi administration.
Post TPLF era appointments at the federal level of government are said to have a character of a quota system as a form of arrangement for power-sharing. The quota system is based on ethnic identity which emanates from the ethnic federal structure and ethnic-based political parties even under Prosperity Party which is theoretically a single party formed out of mergers of multiples of ethnic-based parties.