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Ethiopia’s New Cabinet Said to Lack Fresh Ideas

  • Peter Clottey

Ethiopian opposition leader Merera Gudina (File)

Ethiopian opposition leader Merera Gudina (File)

A leading member of the Ethiopian Federal Democratic Unity Forum (Medrek), the largest opposition party said Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s new cabinet comprises people who have no capacity and new imagination to transform the country.

Merara Gudina said the new cabinet enables the prime minister to consolidate what he called his already enormous powers.

“Very little is new about the reshuffle. I think the prime minister moved some people around, moved some people up and moved some people down. But, it is from the same pool of half-baked cadres. No giant intellectuals joined the government. Really there is nothing new about what is happening,” he said.

Analysts say Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin was the highest profile of the ruling party members not to be named in the new cabinet. The others include Deputy Prime Minister Addisu Legesse and Trade and Industry minister Girma Birru.

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was officially sworn in Monday after his ruling Ethiopia People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) won an overwhelming 545 seats in the country’s 547-seat parliament.

Some poll observers said the May election was not credible, adding that the vote failed to meet international standards.

The opposition groups also condemned the election as fraudulent and demanded a rerun which was rejected by Ethiopia’s electoral body.

Opposition leader Gudina said there are no technocrats in the government who are capable of resolving the country’s problems.

“They (new cabinet members) have been major cadres, they have been around. You don’t see intellectuals from the universities and from the business community (joining the cabinet). You know, it is the same pool of cadres. It is people who have been wondering around the prime minister… You don’t see new people from outside, real professionals. Academics from the universities,” Gudina said.

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