By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
October 5, 2010 (ADDIS ABABA) – Ethiopia’s main opposition group has strongly criticized the formation of the new government of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), who won a landslide victory in the country’s controversial parliamentary polls on May 23 sweeping over 99 % of the vote.
Meles Zenawi, was re-elected to serve a third 5-year term as Prime Minister on Tuesday by Ethiopia’s parliament.
The leader of the country’s largest opposition group MEDREK-ARENA, Gebru Asrat a former guerilla fighter and once a close ally to Zenawi, rejected the new cabinet calling it as “a fake and cadre cabinet.”
“The ruling party has completely turned the country in to a one party state and the new cabinet is just a replica and cadre cabinet of the ruling EPRDF party,” Gebru Asrat told Sudan Tribune.
“To be on a high ranking position within this government, the main criterion is to be solely loyal to the ruling party no matter what the actual political and leadership capacity you have.’’
Zenawi said his new cabinet appointees were the right people to work towards the realization of Ethiopia’s recently launched 5-year Development and Transformation Plan (DTP).
Under the new plan the country hopes to boost its economic growth to 15% a year from the current rate which has been standing at around 10% for the past seven years.
“I hereby present the following nominees who are highly believed to play major roles in attaining the 5-year Development and Transformation Plan” Zenawi told parliament adding, “they are elected considering their competence in political leadership as well as in public mobilization and administration.’’
Gebru Asrat rejected an invitation from the government to the opposition to discuss the Development and Transformation Plan.
“The Development and Transformation Plan and other growing bluffs by the ruling party are just false propagandas. We call them camouflage slogans.”
“As far as a conducive and democratic political atmosphere is not created and our pre-conditions are not met we won’t negotiate with the government nor will do we put our hands in the policies of the EPRDF government which were deliberately designed to promote one party rule,’’ he said.
The new cabinet which consists of 20 ministers, including three women, was unanimously endorsed by the House after the Ethiopian Premier’s proposed the appointees.
During the formal inaugural ceremony the newly assigned Cabinet members took an oath of office before parliament to faithfully and diligently serve the country and people in accordance to the constitution.
The House also approved the appointments of Bereket Simon, a long-serving senior adviser to the Prime Minister, as Head of the Office for Government Communications Affairs, Aster Mamo as Government Whip in the House of Peoples Representatives, and Melaku Fanta as Director General of the Ethiopian Customs and Revenues Authority with the rank of Minister.
LIST OF CABINET POSITIONS
1. Hailemariam Desalegn - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs
2. Siraj Fegesa - Minister of Defense
3. Dr. Shiferaw Tekelemariam - Minister of Federal Affairs
4. Berhan Hailu - Minister of Justice
5. Junedin Sado - Minister of Civil Service
6. Sufian Ahmed - Minister of Finance and Economic Development
7. Tefera Deribew - Minister of Agriculture
8. Mekonnen Manyazewal - Minister of Industry
9. Abdurahman Sheik Mohammed - Minister of Trade
10. Desse Dalke - Minister of Science and Technology
11. Diriba Kuma - Minister of Transport
12. Debretsion Gebremikael - Minister of Communications and Information Technology
13. Mekuria Haile - Minister of Urban Development and Construction
14. Alemayehu Tegenu - Minister of Water and Energy
15. Sinkinesh Ejigu - Minister of Mines
16. Demeke Mekonnen - Minister of Education
17. Dr. Tewodros Adhanom - Minister of Health
18. Abdulfetah Abdulahi Hassen - Minister of Labor and Social Affairs
19. Amin Abdulkadir - Minister of Culture and Tourism
20. Zenebu Tadesse - Minister of Women, Youth and Children’s Affairs