News / Africa

Ethiopia’s New Prime Minister and the Challenges Ahead

by Sophia Gebrehiwot

Dr.Solomon Deresso AyeleDr.Solomon Deresso Ayele
x
Dr.Solomon Deresso Ayele
Dr.Solomon Deresso Ayele
WASHINGTON D.C.---------Solomon Ayele Dersso Phd, is a senior researcher with Peace and Security Council Report Program at the Addis Ababa Office of the Institute for Security Studies. He has published articles on the ongoing political situation in Ethiopia.

Regarding the newly appointed Prime Minster Hailemariam Desalegn, Solomon says, it did not come as a surprise. However, to concerns raised by observers that the new Prime Minister might not hold real authority, Solomon asserts that the Prime Minister ship is the highest executive authority in the country, and the person holding the position cannot be said not to have authority, because he/she has the power inherent in the job.

Solomon draws a parallel between former Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi and Prime Minster Hailemariam Desalegn.  “Daniel Arap Moi like Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister came from a small ethnic community. When Jommo Kenyatta passed away and Mr.Moi assumed the presidency, he was met with resistance from the group that at that time was dominating the power base in Kenya."

Despite the initial resistance from ‘real power holders’, Mr Moi managed to very successfully make himself an influential president and ruler of Kenya,” states Solomon.
When critics point to the fact that the Prime Minister is a political novice and might be overshadowed by his subordinates with longer experience in politics Solomon says, “he is not new to politics."

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has been around, particularly in the seat of power in Addis Ababa following the 2005 elections as well as serving as an advisor to the late Prime Minister. After the 2010 election he was appointed deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.”

However Solomon admits that the new Prime Minister might have limited experience when compared to those who have been in power for the past two decades in the ruling party. Although that could be construed as a disadvantage, the Prime Minister, according to Solomon, has to reconcile with the situation. Ultimately, Solomon says, “what matters is the team of people the prime minister is going to surround himself with. If he has a very good team of people to provide him with the necessary historical memory and insights on various aspects of leading the country, then surely he can compensate for the shorter period of political experience and be able to exert and assert his full authority.” 

Drawing a parallel with Meles Zenawi, Solomon states, “we need to understand how long it took for the late Prime Minister to become as influential as he was at the time of his death.  It took quite a lot of time in terms of asserting his full authority within the government as well as in the country as a whole”.

According to Solomon the rise to power of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn is a continuation rather than a start of the succession plan by the EPRDF. It is a process of replacing the old guard with, ‘the new generation leadership’. According to Solomon the fact that Hailemariam is now appointed as Prime Minister after Meles Zenawi, is surely an indication of the commitment by the EPRDF to continue the succession plan that began earlier. On the issue of whether or not we will see a complete withdrawal of the old guards by 2015, Solomon says it could be a phased process.” 
                       
In his acceptance speech the newly appointed Prime Minister expressed his willingness to work with various sectors of society including the opposition. According to Solomon the Prime Minister’s speech emphasized more continuity rather than change. He seems reluctant to reverse the direction set by the late Prime Minster. However, Solomon points out that the Prime Minister needs to be flexible and needs to adjust to emerging circumstances as events warrant.

Solomon also highlighted a number of areas that require a very serious consideration. “The new leadership should show a high level of willingness to listen to the concerns of all sectors of society,” Solomon asserts.   He further noted the need to abrogate laws that proved to be inimical  to individual freedoms and liberties adopted since 2005 , as well as tackle inflation to  address the economic challenges that some sectors of the Ethiopian society is facing .

Solomon also talked about the needed interventions in the area of major development projects. For a successful implementation of this development projects he says it is important to engage sections of the society that are directly affected by the projects. In this effort he points out mobilizing the support of sectors outside the power base is paramount. 

On the challenges of building a multi- party democracy with some opposition parties not committed to working together, Solomon said, “strengthening the legal, political and social environment of the country will allow different political ideologies and political movements to triumph in the society. Working together is always good for the society and the country but is not necessarily a sign that multi-party democracy does not work.” He further states that freedom of association and expression are strongly entrenched  in the constitution but they are not fullfilled in practice.   

To the concerns raised by some that due to his rather strict religious orientation that the Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn  might be too soft to resolve pending issues such as the Ethio-Eritrean question and EPRDF's relation with opposition parties Solomon said,“the Prime Minister’s religious conviction will not have so much influence on his exercise of power rather the central background for his action seems to be the conviction surrounding the ideological orientation of his political party.”

Liston to Dr Solomon Ayele interview with Sophia Gebrehiwot
Liston to Dr Solomon Ayele interview with Sophia Gebrehiwoti
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

In China, Mixed Signals on Ebola Controls

How authorities are monitoring at-risk individuals remains unclear, including whether there are quarantines for Chinese health workers returning from West Africa More

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Awot from: Addis Ababa
October 09, 2012 3:32 PM
It is a good analysis but the replacement of old guard by the new generation is not working in Tigray and TPLF the region that fought the major war for fredom is not free yet. Still the new TPLF leader Abay Woldu is one of the OLD guard.


by: Yaya from: US
October 09, 2012 8:18 AM
Strict religious orientation ...... might be too soft ???? Seriously???
Had he been a Muslim, wow! let alone being strict, even if he just had a Muslim name, it would have been a chaos of blames and quarrels claiming "He is a Muslim, he could be fair to Muslims, he might might support them..." People are deliberately blinded when it comes to non-Muslims, well he's 'Strict and soft' Laughable!


by: BG from: NY
October 08, 2012 5:13 PM
Solomon (Dr.) intersting obserbation real both have to see their positive role in the development of democratic env;t in this country. I do share gov.t should do farther on peaceful oppositions and privete or opposition medias. the other points regarding to New PM, which you argude is very reasonable, so i appericaite.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Electionsi
X
October 31, 2014 4:10 AM
Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid