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Something unexpected must have changed in the reshuffling of officialdom in the Revolutionary Democrat camp, those in the gossip corridors have been murmuring lately. The original succession plan was to bring an army of young, but inexperienced, cadres to the frontline, but to keep the old guard at the back, recalled gossip. It was meant to create a “council of elders” in the Chinese style.

Members of this council were meant to have their bench in the Prime Minister’s Office, decorated with titles of honour (special advisors) and all the privileges (with ranks of ministers), and continue to advise and guide the younger Revolutionary Democrats in the discharge of their official duties.

Ideally, Seyoum Mesfin was to have the role of coaching the new minister in the foreign office, while Kassu Illala (PhD) would have a similar task of guiding all the line ministries responsible for public infrastructure provision, and Girma Birru was meant to do the same with those in the trade and industry sector, claimed gossip. The same goes for Addisu Legesse.

For reasons none of those seniors in the Revolutionary Democratic camp were able to explain, their chief priest changed the rules of the game in the final hours of the reshuffling, claimed gossip. The would-be members of the would-be council are all gone, far away from Addis Abeba, and now enjoy the glamour of international diplomacy. It may possibly be a blessing in disguise, some in the gossip corridors contemplated.

The state of officialdom in Addis is becoming confusing, gossip revealed. There are a dozen state ministers up at Arat Kilo supervising the various cabinet ministers. Compared to the ministers, the new army of state ministers with special advisor status to the Prime Minister are young and inexperienced, a development contrary to the original design before the reshuffling.

They are struggling to earn the respect and acceptance of the very ministers they are meant to direct; competence and merit appear to be in direct collusion with recruitment based on the regime’s desire to balance regional power quotas and distribution, gossip observed.

This development is illustrated by a recent incident where a state minister from the south was banned from entering the compound where his office is located up at Arat Kilo, only a few days after his return from a lavish party where his kith and kin had celebrated his ascendance to power, gossip revealed.

This state minister was serving in the Addis Abeba City Administration under Kuma Demeksa prior to his ascendance to the federal power structure. He was identified and promoted by the senior leaders of the party in the south, according to gossip. However, subsequent to the announcement of his appointment strong protest emerged from those who claimed to have worked with him, questioning his fitness for the office he now commands, said gossip.

Gossip claimed that the authorities who promoted him to such a rank are now putting pressure on the state minister to resign out of his freewill; a demand, gossip said, he has rejected. How long he will maintain this position is what those in the gossip corridors look forward to see.

For an administration that has chosen to tighten the noose around its neck, with its ambitious promises of delivering all the public goodies, this incident and a few others reveal how illogical the top of officialdom remains, gossip claimed.




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