Friday February 9, 2024
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (HOL) - Ethiopian lawmakers on Thursday endorsed Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's decision to appoint intelligence chief Temesgen Tiruneh as the new Deputy Prime Minister in a significant political reshuffle on Thursday.Parallel to Temesgen's new role, Taye Atske Selassie, previously Abiy's foreign policy aide, has been named Foreign Minister. Additionally, Redwan Hussein, the national security advisor, steps in as the head of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), replacing Temesgen. These appointments come at a critical time when Ethiopia seeks to assert its geopolitical stance, especially following its controversial agreement with Somaliland, which has strained relations with Mogadishu.
Temesgen Tiruneh is a figure known for his close alliance with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. His appointment underscores a tightening circle of trust around the Prime Minister as Ethiopia, Africa's second most populous country, grapples with violence, food insecurity, and economic challenges.
The reshuffle also marks the end of Demeke Mekonnen's tenure as Deputy Prime Minister, a position he held since 2012. Mekonnen's departure, following his recent removal as vice-president of Abiy's ruling Prosperity Party, hints at a significant recalibration of Ethiopia's political landscape.
Temesgen's extensive experience in crisis management, including his roles as the leader of the Amhara region and as director of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) during the Tigray conflict, underscores his significant involvement in Ethiopia's intelligence and security apparatus. During his tenure, the declaration of a state of emergency in the Amhara region was made in response to unrest.
Moreover, the reshuffle introduces Tigist Hamid as the new director general of the Information Network Security Administration (INSA), indicating a broader overhaul of Ethiopia's security and intelligence framework. Mekdes Daba, hailing from the World Health Organization in Geneva, takes over as Health Minister, succeeding Lia Tadesse, who was minister during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Thursday's strategic reconfiguration of Ethiopia's executive reflects Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's intent to consolidate his power base. By surrounding himself with a trusted cadre to navigate the country's multifaceted challenges, Abiy aims to ensure a tight-knit leadership that aligns closely with his strategic visions and policies.
Ethiopia's parliament unanimously approved the appointments.