Ethiopia’s Fegessa: Dilemma of a strong man


Concern over military takeover heightens


By John Eche


For all practical intents and purposes, Siraj Fegessa, Ethiopia’s long-standing defence minister and leading light of the ruling EPRDF coalition is clearly the current go-to man in the country today.

While this indeed has been the back-stage position since the death of his former co-traveller in the TPLF, Meles Zenawi in 2012, the snap resignation of Hailemariam Desalegn, the stand-in consensus prime minster that has been in formal charge since Zenawi’s death, has forced his hand to briefly come out into the open.

He it was then that read the resolution of the Council of Ministers to the effect that a State of Emergency was being declared all across the country to last for six months and that the resigned prime Minister remains in office until a new leader can be found!

Against the backdrop of the seeming in-fighting within the coalition and the heavy-handed roles that the army have been known to play in the country’s history since the coming into power of the EPRDF in 1991, analysts say it is indeed only a matter of time before, Fegessa will be formally crowned as ‘lord of all Ethiopia.’

And the implications?

meanwhile, strong undercurrents of defiance and resistance to the emergency rule proclamation continue to be witnessed in the country even as the EU is joining the resigned rime Minister in asking for the immediate entrenchment of political reforms in the country, arguing that that, and not the presently declared state of emergency is what the country really needs. But will the Fegessas of this world hear and take heed?

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