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New cabinet unveiled for Ethiopia’s Tigray

New cabinet unveiled for Ethiopia’s Tigray
In this file photo taken on November 02, 2022 Redwan Hussein (second left)- Representative of the Ethiopian government, and Getachew Reda (second right)-Representative of the Tigray People's Liberation Front, sign a peace agreement between the two parties following the success of the African Union-led negotiations to resolve conflict in Ethiopia at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation offices in Pretoria | AFP

A 27-member cabinet for Ethiopia’s war-scarred Tigray was unveiled on Wednesday, official media in the region reported, the latest step in a peace process to end two years of brutal conflict.

The establishment of an interim administration was a key tenet of a peace deal signed in South Africa’s capital Pretoria in November 2022 by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government and the TPLF.

Last month, the Ethiopian government said TPLF spokesman Getachew Reda, the public face of the rebels during the war, had been appointed head of the interim government.

That followed the Ethiopian parliament’s move to remove the TPLF from an official list of terrorist groups in line with the November deal.

Debretsion Gebremichael, who had been president of the Tigray region since 2018, formally handed over the reins to Getachew during a ceremony on Wednesday, according to Tigrai TV.

“Members of the interim administration of Tigray, you have been given a responsibility to play your part in this peaceful stage of the struggle to ensure the security and the interests of the people of Tigray,” said Debretsion, who does not figure in the new lineup.

General Tadesse Worede, commander of Tigrayan forces during the war, has been named regional vice president, in charge of peace and security.

Number three in the cabinet is Tsadkan Gebretensae, who was Ethiopia’s army chief of staff during the 1990s and 2000s when the TPLF dominated the government and became chief strategist for the TPLF forces during the Tigray war.

Tsadkan has been appointed head of the “democratisation and decentralisation governance” secretariat.

It began in November 2020 when Abiy had sent troops into Tigray to topple the TPLF, then the regional ruling party, a move he said came in response to attacks on federal army camps.

It followed months of rancour between the two sides as the TPLF, which dominated the government for three decades, became increasingly marginalised after Abiy came to power in 2018.