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Analysts: New Leadership Slow to Bring Change to Ethiopia
By Marthe van der Wolf
Source: VOA News
ADDIS ABABA — It has been almost one year since Hailemariam Desalegn came to power in Ethiopia, following the death of his predecessor Meles Zenawi. Despite recent demonstrations and a cabinet shuffle, little seems to have changed in the East African country.
After weeks of speculation, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's death was announced last year, on the morning of August 21st. The passing of the longtime ruler made way for his deputy Hailemariam Desalegn, to lead the second most populous nation on the African continent.
Ethiopia witnessed several anti-government demonstrations in recent months, a rare sight. And the new prime minister also replaced most of the cabinet.
But a spokesperson for the prime minister, Getachew Redda, said these developments are not part of any fundamental change within the government.
“What Hailemariam is doing at this point is implementing the policies that have been adopted by the ruling party," Redda explained. "If there were people who were expecting any kind of change in terms of directions and fundamental policies then they will definitely be disappointed because there was neither the intention nor the tendency to bring about any change whatsoever in this regard."
Hailemariam, an engineer by training, was the minister of foreign affairs and deputy prime minister until last August. With the appointment of Hailemariam, a collective leadership was put in place. Although government officials said that a collective leadership was always part of the ruling party's policy.
Solomon Dersso, a political analyst for the Institute for Security Studies, said that political power is no longer centered in the position of the prime minister. But he doubts whether it will change Ethiopia’s political scene.
“The only thing that it would change is how decision making is negotiated within the ruling party between the different power centers," Dersso said. "So you have regional governments becoming quite important, you have the members of the coalition, and of course the security apparatus. So on various aspects of the management of the affairs of the country obviously these different centers of power negotiations need to be undertaken."
Girma Seifu, the only opposition member of parliament in Ethiopia for UDJ (Unity for Democracy and Justice), one of the parties that organized demonstrations in recent weeks, said that Prime Minister Hailemariam behaves differently in parliament from his predecessor. “In the previous, the prime minister is everything. So he is the law of the country," Seifu noted. "So at that time the parliament was irrelevant.”
Despite those differences in character, Seifu feels the Ethiopian government has not changed its position on allowing more freedom for people who hold different opinions.
“They must do something visible to change the human rights situation in this country. They must take this thing seriously and they have to take action to improve these things. Only economic development issues, infrastructure issues will not substitute human rights issue," Seifu said.
Ethiopia has been ruled by a coalition of four parties, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, since 1991 with Meles Zenawi as its leader until his death. Current Prime Minister Hailemariam is expected to run for office during the 2015 elections. He hasn’t been very visible in his first year, but spokesperson Getachew said that this will change during his second year in office. “What you can expect from his leadership is a much closer engagement with the public, much more progressive attitude towards the development of the democratic process," he remarked. "And a much more economic growth.”
Ethiopian statistics claim the country has had double-digit growth for the last few years, although the World Bank and IMF estimate the growth is around eight percent. The country is halfway through implementing its ambitious five-year Growth and Transformation Plan that is aimed at turning Ethiopia into a middle-income country by 2025.
I can not believe you picked Seifu for your say about the current situation in mother Ethiopia. This absolutely will make open-minded and true Ethiopians say that you guys are both morally and ethically wrong. I personally never thought (even though I heard from different sources that your news were biased and one sided) that you were that bad!
Did you really expect some substantive and fair statement from Seifu??? Really?? Please be honest, (at least for a moment) What do you think is the thing that differentiate Seifu from the muslim extremists that are working day and night for the destabilization and destruction of the country?? Look what happened just few days ago in Wollo (Dessie) area, he ignored the death of an innocent by the muslim extremists and made fun of it, siding with the killers.
As news people, I am sure you watched what happened in Dessie.
so, I am completely in disbelief to read your article mentioning Seifu as your source for information about Ethiopia.
@ Y abai I agreed about killing an innocent man that was the saddest chapter in our country .
the economy is slow down it is obvious that there is huge change on the way to Ethiopia. 90% Ethiopian is an happy with the leadership. and European human right delegates denial of entry. to kaliti jail back in june spark big blow. to Ethiopian government human right abuse. and already reported to the united nation and all over the world . there will be more slow down regarding investment .
there is lot more Ethiopian community all over the world . keep having big meeting almost every month regarding Ethiopia . and they rote latter to world leaders including few embassy official in addis ababa this has huge impact on investors .
as we all know there is huge preparation going on in addis ababa rally against schek al moudi involvement against opposition and regarding political prisoners . as of now there will be big rally in Washington organized by tamage & abebe gelaw this one will be vary huge people fly in from many places we pray for better to our country economy and peace
Nobody did expect any kind of changes from Little Tyrant HMD .If the late Crime Minister did choose him to be at the second position after him ,it’s just because he knew this opportunist guy very well ,and the way that he was so devoted to him that he would ,eyes wide chut ,continue all his evil actions .
Afterall HMD was one of thèses shepherd bandas surrounding the Dead Crime Ministre . Who sold ,from the begining ,their souls to the Devil for the sake of their Agazi masters .
VOA ETHIOPIA COMPETING WITH SHABIA FUNDED ESAT.
Y. Abai [Visitor],
Open-minded people consider the report fair and balanced for simple reason that it includes the opinions of the opposition and that of the governing coalition.
Seifu, being opposition (the only one) member of the parliament is the right person as much as the government spokesperson.
You apparently have different opinions. That shows your one-sidedness. If you want to hear one-sided analysis about the situation in Ethiopia then you know where to look for one.
Seifu stated rightly so that little, if any has changed since the last all-powerful dictator passed away and that not much is expected in terms of major policy change. The PM lacks power base and the country is run by collective leadership. No one is capable of leading the country after the late PM.
The spokesperson for morally and ethically corrupt regime in his turn reaffirmed that the country is on the right track and policy changes won’t happen.
seifu said Pm Meles was everthing in the parlament. you are the only person who think like that. may be the pm couldnt tolerate a stupid idea which comes from idiot like you.as long as the human right is concern nothing is changed. if you are a true opposition your right is largely protected but if you are a terrorist disguised as opposition the govt will block your every effort to keep the security of our nation. it is as simple as that.thanks to the mighty epdrf and its immortal leader meles zenawi, ethiopia is where it is now. unified, secured, prosperous and of course democratic.
That was why the late intelligent PM Mesles Zenawi had a distaste for VOA. They are not even allowed to broadcast in their own country USA. We don’t need them either. They are biased,unethical and against Ethiopia all the time.
God Bless Ethiopia!
This very low quality anemic journalism is another indicator which exposes how low VOA news has descended to be a credible source of information.
Prime Minister Haile Mariam is an experienced politician who thoroughly knows what is best for the country and can not be mentored by VOA journalists who as their source of information refer to, of all people, Girma Seifu whose political erudition is highly skewed to please the so-called opposition forces that devour nothing but extremism and political instability in our country.
Human Rights Watch and others have reiterated the same mantra that has no relevance to the present day politics in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is prospering and shall continue to prosper!
The one thing that most Ethiopians in their 30s, 40s and even some in their 50s know about VOA and other similar media propagandist in the west is that you are totally irrelevant!! The problem is that you do not know that you are irrelevant. Ethiopia has made a total transformation to advance into a full-fledged development and is achieving it! We alone can do it. We remember the history of your vicious attacks on the leadership role of the late PM Meles and his colleagues as they undertook one of the most potent strategies to advance the country in the last twenty years. The VOA tried in vain to work with the hate-mongering riffraff Ethiopian Diaspora groups hoping to discrete PM Meles and the EPRDF, but failed!! It is interesting that you are trying to tell us that you are worried about the leadership of the same EPRDF leaders? No one will believe you except those rotten groups that PM Meles used to call them the idiots and the fools!!
Who is slow?
This is the funnies thing ever reported by VOA. VOA is the slowest media payed for by American tax payers money who is shielding any news from being reported internationally.
Why is the international body not reporting such abuses and lack of motive from third world countries to change?
Obama went to Africa but he gave the task for China. He talked about powering Africa (empowering) but not about empowering Africa?
What is the lack of such actions. I can not blame my people because they are working hard and dying for freedom including religious freedom for all.
Can we really hope for West to do the job for us? At least do not give the tear gas so we can demand our rights. Do not sell any modern equipments.
This Hialemariam for sure is very slow and has shown himself to be a puppet of Wayane. The only support he gets is from the crypto wayane Professor fake Tekola Hagos , a bitter Tigre inside.
America, do not stand on our way when we do the million march soon on the streets of Addis. Police should know that we are not against them. Police stop cooperation with the army which is tigrai dominated.
The only change I want see to eradicate those backward fanatic element who hide under religion including some of opposition.
Y.Abai = addis zemen
Muslim extremist? Wow Mr killer, What did you say? Muslim Extremist.
Didn’t you kill 6 years old child in Asasi and Harar during peaceful demonstration.
Didn’t you kill dozen Muslims in their pray places?
Didn’t jail and torture Muslims?
Didn’t you make drama based on lie, deception, fabrication, hate, unjustly attacking one religion while raising others?
Really! you are government for all!!!
Wollo (Dessie) is a new drama?
Bring more new dramas.
This power is too sweat but dangerous.
This excuriciation pain to Ethiopian Muslim will bring about freedom for good like Eritrea and South Sudan.
Don’t ever dare to call Ethiopian Muslims cousins as you said to Eritrea after they evaporated from your oppression camp and have a free country just like prior to 1887.
Sing extemist Mr terrorizor, oppressor, rigid, hard core liar.
Jiljillu ,change means for you and all your Thuggy bros and sists “TIGRE POWER” for ever !!!Adgiforum gangs keep on barking ,you
have already lost the game !!!!!Mimi
(Sebehatu..LOL !!) ,first of all you have to talk about the then Shabis Ass Hole and Reckage ,your own looter Dead Master actually roting in hell .Than barking days and nights against patriotic medias .TOOTHLESS SHIWAWA BANDA !!!
Nothing changed at all except,
In the past the Presidency in Ethiopia was a ceremonial position. Now the premiership is becoming a ceremonial job as well. It is an open secret that HMD is a figure head just like old Girma
You got to give the Woyanes credit. They were able to rule the country behind the curtain without holding those two important positions.
Jawar Mohammed along drama maker Bereket Simon interviewed on Al jazeera on 2005 election.
Jawar said only dictators get 99.6% of the vote in this world such as Sadam Hussein, Melese, Mubarek, etc.
Drama maker Berket run short of breath at that time. His democracy of oppression failed to combat Jawar’s disective and clear statement.
And now you want eradicate opposition and peaceful Ethiopian Muslims for good.
If so what kind of system your Coptic controled government call itself.
Democracy, autocracy, theocracy, dictatorship, fascist, etc.
You need not eradication but freedom for the South/East/West except your northern kilil using article 39 like Eritrea.
This way you don’t get headach. You can oppress (Axum Tigrian Muslims) and rule for good.
Leave the rest alone like you left Ertireans.
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