Ethopia’s prime minister yesterday reshuffled his cabinet to create a more ethnically diverse team after an unprecedented wave of protests.
Hailemariam Desalegn had promised the reshuffle after imposing a six-month state of emergency in October.
Hailemariam gave senior roles to two politicians from the Oromo people who have spear headed sometimes deadly anti-government protests over the last year, reducing the dominance of the minority Tigrayans.
The new ministers of foreign affairs and of communications Workneh Gebeyehu, a former transport minister, and Negeri Lencho, a journalism professor are Oromos, replacing the Tigrayans who previously held the posts.
Negeri, who is also now government spokesman, said the changes were necessary in light of the protests and subsequent state of emergency.
“This new cabinet is ready to respond and provide a better service with professionals from many directions.”
Nine of the previous 30-strongcabinet retained their posts, among them long-standing party loyalists Siraj Fegessa, in charge of defence, and Debretsion Gebremichael, who runs telecommunication and information technology, as well as Hailemariam’s deputy, Demeke Mekonnen.
The new government, which includes just three women, was immediately approved by parliament in which every seat is held by Hailemariam’s ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, which has ruled Ethiopia for 25 years.