Ethiopia: PM Abiy Ahmed reshuffles cabinet


ADDIS ABABA - Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has reshuffled his cabinet for the first time in as many months, just at the time the country is embroiled in both internal and external conflicts, including the recent controversial deal with the Somaliland region.

Monday's reshuffles affected the Defence and Irrigation dockets, which are critical to the country's security and development. Eng. Aisha Mohammad returned to the Department of Defence while Abraham Belay (PhD) was moved to Irrigation and Lowland.

Other changes include Mohammad Indris, who has been serving as director general of the Ethiopian Diaspora Services since August 2022 and is now appointed as Minister of State at the Coordination Center for Democracy Building.

The appointments are effective 21 May 2024, according to the Office of the Prime Minister but the PM did not provide reasons for the latest changes. Abiy Ahmed assumed powers in 2018 and has since transgressed into a strategic leader within the Horn of Africa.

Ayisha Mohammed was the first woman defense minister appointed by PM Abiy in October 2018, when he announced 50% women cabinets. She held the position for a little over one year and a half before returning to the Ministry of Urban Development and Construction in April 2019 as a minister, a position she once held, Addis Standard reports.

She was also the Minister of Tourism and Culture during the protest-hit period of the EPRDF government under the premiership of Hailemariam Desalegn. In 2018, she was elected as the Chairperson of the Afar National Democratic Party (ANDP) before the party dissolved after joining the ruling Prosperity Party (PP) the next year.

Abraham Belay, the only Tigrayan native in PM Abiy’s cabinet, served as federal-appointed interim president of Tigray Regional State between May and June 2021, when the interim administration he led was forced to flee following Tigrayan forces’ recapture of the capital Mekelle. He was then appointed as Minister of Defense in October of the same year, a position he held until today.

Aisha will be in charge as Ethiopia troops serving in the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) move back home and at the time Somalia is at loggerheads with Ethiopia over the implementation of the MoU with the Somaliland region.

Ethiopia wants 20 kilometers of the Red Sea for the construction of a Naval Base and port in exchange for recognition of Somaliland as a sovereign state. However, Somalia has threatened to fight back should Ethiopia refuse to withdraw the controversial agreement.


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