Ethiopia’s Hailemariam Desalegn sworn in as prime minister BBC

September 21st, 2012 Print Print Email Email

Ethiopia’s new leader, Hailemariam Desalegn, has been sworn in after the death of long-time leader Meles Zenawi in August.

“I am very happy to take the responsibility of being prime minister,” said Mr Hailemariam, 47, as lawmakers banged on their desks in support, AFP news agency reports.

Mr Hailemariam had been deputy prime minister and foreign minister.

Mr Meles died last month in Brussels after 21 years in power.

He had been praised for bringing economic growth to Ethiopia but criticised for not tolerating opposition.

He was also a key Western ally in the volatile Horn of Africa – twice sending troops into neighbouring Somalia to tackle Islamist groups.

Mr Hailemariam was last week chosen to head the governing Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).

He vowed to continue Mr Meles’ “legacy without any change”.

“We brought peace, democracy and development to the country,” he said.

Technician, not fighter
BBC Africa analyst Martin Plaut says Mr Hailemariam would appear to be an unlikely man to lead the country.

He is from the small Wolayta community in the south, rather than the northern elites who have traditionally ruled Ethiopia.

He is a Protestant, not an Orthodox Christian, as many Ethiopian Christians are.

Professor Chris Clapham from Cambridge University in the UK says Mr Hailemariam was chosen as the late prime minister’s deputy to give the government ethnic balance.

Ethiopia’s new leader is a technician, not a fighter, like the man he replaced, our correspondent says.

An engineer by training, Mr Hailemariam studied in Finland and the United States.

He became a university dean before entering politics, rising to become president of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region.

Mr Hailemariam led the Southern Ethiopia People’s Democratic Movement, part of the EPRDF. But commentators point out this is the least influential member of the alliance.

  1. babbur
    | #1

    Tigre people liberation front has invited Siyee Abraha to redeem them, via a coup d’eta to take the prime ministers position. the shabia wing of TPLF are opposing this move and TPLF are in a muddle. In the mean time, the so called ‘opposition’ in Ethiopia continue to be a laughing stock of the woyane. they could not even get organise a coordinated campaign to get the jailed leaders to be released, let alone take part in leading Ethiopians.

    The Ethiopian people have had enough of the fascist woyane and the ‘opposition’ and they will free themselves, sooner or later.

  2. solomedi
    | #2

    Ethiopia should be granted a very respect among other African nations for transfering key political power peacefully as such
    Mr Hailemariam, from his short time political operation experirnce, i don’t think it is hard enough for him to run the state through democracy, development, peace & stability like what the late prime Minister did.
    once & again i would like to congradulate all the Ethiopians, Member of EPRDF & Member of Parliaments as well for this historical peacefull power transfer!
    Each every citizens should be integrated for the development of Ethiopia by putting his/her own effort in relevant sectors?

  3. Anonymous
    | #3

    I wish the new prime Minister all the best in the world for the sake of our motherland and the 88 million oppressed Ethiopians. May the loving God grant the new Prime Minister–Guidance, Wisdom, Fairness, Good judgment, Kindness, Compassion and Love to wards ALL OPPRESSED AND STRUGGLING ETHIOPIANS. Still it’s a mystery for me, why the same coldblooded Dictator that looted Ethiopia, left Ethiopia landlocked, sold Ethiopia’s precious fertile land, locked up hundreds of thousands INNOCENT Ethiopians in cold rat infested filthy prisons, tortured, gunned down innocent Ethiopians in the broad day light, massacred hundreds of thousands innocent Ethiopians, bulldozed religious historical Churches …at the same time, handpicked, embarrassed and trusted a non-TPLF Ethiopian to be his Deputy Prime Minister?, And now, the TPLF thugs agreed to keep this man as a Prime Minister of Woyaneland Ethiopia??? It’s mind puzzling! I won’t stop wondering till I see that Hailemariam distanced himself from TPLF mafia and show his Legitimacy, individuality, power and fair mindedness…by freeing all the INNOCENT political and non-political prisoners who are suffering needlessly and give them deserving justice to live in peace with their loving families. IT IS ONLY FAIR!!!!!

  4. Sam
    | #4

    The new Ethioipian Prime Minster said “we [EPDRF] brought peace, democracy, and development to the country.” I really believe he believes what he said. AS long as EPDRF is concerned democracy in Ethiopia is flourishing. Well, I do not say Hailemariam is the first politician to not knowing what democracy means. Meles knew what democracy means. But he believed, especially after the 2005 election, Ethiopia does better without it than with it. What made him to believe that was the Chinese economic miracle with the state run command economy some might say. What Meles failed to realize was the Chinese really grasped market economy though the State opted to monoplize political power. In Ethiopia case there is no market economy. The government runs everything. More specificaly TPLF runs most of the economy. How many private businesses are run by individuals? If you take out the Sheik almost nearly none. How many by TPLF? almost everyone created after 1991. Democracy without free market economy is hard to imagine of being. In democracy there are no enemy parties. There are opponent parties. In Hailemariam democracy there is one Ethiopian party: EPDRF. The rest are enemies. Meles said it repeatedly. And many more EPDRF politicos too. In democracy free press is essential. In Ethiopia where more than 80 million people live now there are not three free newspapers functioning. Those who are functioning always are on a verge of being a terrorist. Today you are a journalist. Tommorow you are a terrorist facing a judge who could send you for a life. Well, Hailemariam the democracy you are talking about might make sense to EPDRF politicos but to none other. Democracy to function the courts have to be impartial. Are the courts impartial? Is there any judge in the country who could deliver a judgement free of the consequences his decision might have in his employment? Mr. Hailemariam you cannot name a single judge of that character and integrity. Because there is no one. The judges are mostly party members. They have to echo the party slogan. I think what Hailmariam was saying about Ethiopia having democracy might be there is an election every five years. But that is no different than having an election in Siad Barre’s Somalia. He used to get 98 percent of the electroate votes. EPDRF a one point less. EPDRF could not and will not bring democracy by itself. Because all the prominent politicos believe the State knows best for the more than eighty million people of Ethiopia. In democracy Mr. Hailemariam the people think what is best for themselves. They are not given that chance of choosing what is best for themselves in todays Ethiopia. Let me sum it up in one sentence Mr Hailemariam: there is no democracy in Ethiopia.

  5. Hun
    | #5

    Martin Plaut,you are racist and know nothing. Mengistue was also from minority.

  6. Hun
    | #6

    Mr Hailemariam will not bring change.So we have a new hyena in power.

  7. bonger
    | #7

    Hailemariam Desalegn’s speech after his appointment as PM was full of praise for the dead fascist meles zenawi. In fact he mentioned the satanic meles 5 -6 times in his speech praising him as ‘our beloved leader, our righteous, hard working leader, who brought prosperity etc etc”.

    Hailemariam’s speech was also full of threats and bullying, reminiscent of the satanic meles zenawi. He threatened the opposition by saying that there will be serious consequences if this happens, if that happens etc etc . The fascist Meles would have been proud to hear Hailemariam speak.

    Hailemariam said he has nothing new to bring in by saying that he would carry out what the devil woyane leader started. that means selling Ethiopian land to arabs, pakistanis, chinese. Evicting the Ethiopian poor peasant from their ancestral lands, Harrassing and itimidating, jailing and murdering kournalists and political opponents.

    That is waht the devil woyane fascist meles was doing and Hailemariam is telling us he would continue to carry out.

    We are in for a shock!!!

  8. The Eritrean one!
    | #8

    As an Eritrean I would like to be optimistic about the new prime minister of Ethiopia and the Ethiopian people. It is my dream to see and witness Ethiopia to play a major role as a peace loving nation rather than its past leaders as war mongers backed by the western opportunists. The new prime minister of Ethiopia should not only visit Somalia but all other neighboring countries and that includes Eritrea, Djoubiti, Sudan, and Kenya. Let normalization begin between the neighborly communities of the horn of Africa before we become the play ground of Susan Rice and her stooges.

  9. Abiy Ethiopiawi Segawi/wemenfesawi አቢይ ኢትዮጵያዊ ሥጋዊ-ወመንፈሳዊ
    | #9

    አቶ ደረጀ ሀብተ ወልድ እንደው ልጠይቅዎት:-ቅድም ከሞተው ሐብታም አሁን የተወለደው መናጢ ምናምንቴ ድሃ ሕፃን በእጅጉ የሚበልጠው ለምንድን ነው ይላሉ???በተስፋው አይደለምን???ሌላ ምንም ምክንያት የለውም ተስፋ ስላለው ብቻ ነው::እናም ተስፋዬን እኔም ሰንቄ ለመጓዝ እችል ዘንድ በኢትዮጵያ ብሔራዊ ሸንጎ ምክር ቤት ማመልከቻ አጣፍቼ አቤቱታዬን አቅርቤአለሁና ፅናቱን ይስጠን::








    ለኢትዮጵያ ብሔራዊ የሽግግር ምክር ቤት

    ጉዳዩ:- የእኔም የልመና ጥሪ ሆኖ በታሪክ ይመዝገብልኝ:

    ***** የሽግግር ምክር ቤቱ በዚህ የኢትዮጵያ ፈታኝ የትግል ወቅት ራሱን አደራጅቶ በራስ አነሳሽነት ያቀረበው አገርን የማዳን ጥሪ በግል የእኔም የልመና ጥሪ ሆኖ በታሪክ ይመዝገብልኝ::ይህ ደብዳቤ በትክክል ለጠቅላይ ሚኒስቴር ኃይለማርያም ደሳለኝ በእጃቸው እንዲደርሳቸው እና ላምጪው ደረሰኝ ተሰጥቶ ምላሽ እንድናገኝ ቸሩ መድኅኔዓለም ልብ ይስጣቸው::ይህ ማመልከቻ እጥር ምጥን ብሎ በግልፅ የተቀመጡ የኢትዮጵያን ሕዝብ መጠይቆች በአንድ ሸክም የቋጠረ ትንቢታዊ መልዕት ነው::በልቡ ቀና ያሰበ ማመልከቻውን ኢትዮጵያዊ ሕይወት ዘርቶበት ለሰላምና ለፍቅር ሲል በፍትህ እና በዕርቅ ጠቅልሎ ለኢትዮጵያ ሕዝብ ያቀርበዋል::ይህንን የሕዝብ ጥሪ አጣጥሎ ለፖለቲካ እና ለሥልጣን አደራነት ካለሁበት አቋም አልነቃነቅም የመለስ አጥንት ይውጋኝ ካለ ምርጫው አሁንም በደም ለመለወስ የተዘጋጀ መሆኑን ሕዝብ ሊያስተውለው ይገባል::ለመከረኛውም የነፍስ-ወከፍ ነጻነታችንን ለማስጠበቅ አጠገባችን ያለውን ግለ-ሰብ ሳንጠብቅ ለራሳችን ስንል የየበኩላችንን እርምጃ ልንቀጥል ይገባል::ከዚህ ሌላ ምንም ዓይነት የእምቢታ መረጃ ስለማይኖር የዶክተር ብርሃኑ ነጋ የትግል ስልትን ማንሳት ይገባል::ይህ ፍፁም አማራጭ ያሳጣን ማጋለጫ ነውና ሌላ ትንተና ውስጥ መግባት አያሻኝም::

    ኢትዮጵያውያን ሆይ!!!

    እዚህ ከሕዝብ ጋር ያለነው የተለያዩ መላምቶችን እያመነጨን ልዩነቶችን በመካከላችን ማስፋት ሳይሆን እዚያ ሥልጣን ላይ ያሉት”እምቢ እናንተ ስለኢትዮጵያ አያገባችሁም”እንዳሉን እዚህ ከሕዝብ ጋር ያለነው ማስተዋል ይገባናል::ለዚህም ነፃነታችንን የሚሽር ቢመጣ ለመፍትሔ ምን ማድረግ እንዳለብን ከአባቶቻችን ልንማር ይገባልና ሐዲሽ አለማየሁ በስነ-ግጥም የተዉልንን እንረዳ::ዶክተር ብርሃኑ ነጋ እንዳሉት አይደለምን???

    የሽግግር ምክር ቤቱን በኢትዮጵያዊነት ከልቤ በግል ላመሰግን እወዳለሁ::

    አቢይ ኢትዮጵያዊ ሥጋዊ ወመንፈሳዊ
    ፊርማ የማይነበብ::

  10. Tagadalit Adanhoum
    | #10

    The BBC reporter has a nebulous understanding of Ethiopian history.The rulers had never been as implied from the “North” of the country.Is the reporter trying to deprive the ablity of Ethiopians their historical faculties?What of Shale Selassie,Menilik II,Haile Selassie and Mengistu Haile Mariam. None of whom were from the north with the exception of thanks to General Napier King John of Tembene and tiny Meles Zenawi of Adua, who was installed in 1991 by USA like Mobutue of Congo in 1960′s. I do not want to say anything about the Prime Minister Haile Mariam at this point in time. But the Wolyita has a long history of ruling themselves,more importantly use copper long before the “North” and valiantly fought Menilik II, unlike Ras Mengesha and Alula of the “north” who were surrendered without resistance? How could this reporter forget King Toana and his crucial role in the history of Ethiopia? The best economiest the late Minnase Lemma, the chief security
    Tesfaye Wold Selassie who sold down Ethiopia and Assefa Chabo a seasoned politician are all from Walamo; and distantly Mengestu Haile Mariam.There is no chosen few of the “North”.

  11. Zerayakob Yared
    | #11


    ከንግስተ ሳባ ጀምሮ እስከ ንጉስ ሃይለመለኮት ዘ’ሸዋ ድረስ በምድረ ትግራይ, ሮሃ, ሸዋ,ጎንደር ዘ’ፋሲ ድረስ በንጉስነት ይሁን በሌላ መልኩ ኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ ስልጣን ላይ የወጡን የፅዮን ልጆችን በሙሉ እንደ ከሰሜኑ ኢትዮጵያ ፈልቀውና ከተለያየ ምክኒያት ተነስቶ ወደ ተለያዩት የፅዮን ግዛቶች ዘንዳ ሄደው ኢትዮጵያን የመሩ ልጆችዋ እንደሆኑ ፅዮን ትቀበላቸዋለች::

    በእርግጥ እነዚያን በሙሉ በአንድ አይን አታያቸውም:: እንደየተግባራቸውና እንደየነበሩበት ጊዚያቶች እየታዩ የሚሞገሱና የሚወገዙም አሉበት::

    ጽዮን እንደ ልጆችዋ የማትቀበላቸው “የትግሬን ማድቀቅ ነው” ፖለቲካ አራማጆችን ምኒልክ II, ሃይለስላሴንና ያንን ከሁለት ወፍጮ በስተቀር ብሎ ዋሾ ሸላይ, የስራ ቤት ልጅን ነው::

    ፅዮን, እርስዋ ራስዋንና ግዛትዋን በበለጠ ስለተከባከቡ ልዩ ፍቅር የምትለግሳቸው ልጆችዋም አሉ:: በሶስት ሺህ ታሪክዋ ውስጥ መጥተው ካለፉት ሁሉ እዚህ ላይ የሚዘረዘሩ ብዙዎች ሊሆኑ ይችላሉ:: ንጉሰ ፅዮን ዮሃንስ አራተኛ እና ተከናካኝ ልጅዋ ፋሲል ዘ’ጎንደር በተቀዳሚ እንደሚመዘገቡ ፅዮን ራስዋ በላከችልኝ ማህደር ውስጥ አንብቤዋለሁኝ::

    በጦርነት አይኮራም:: ግን አስፈላጊነት ኖሮት ከተገኘ ምናልባት, ከኢዛና እስከ አሉላ በተካሄዱት ጀግንነቶች ያልተጠናቀቀ የቀረ ጎዳይ ካለ, ቖልዓ ትግራይ በወንድሞቹ እንደነ ሓየሎም, በርሀ, ፃድቃን እና ምንም እንኳን ከጊዜ በኋላ ወደ ተራ የክብር ዘበኝነት ቢወርድም, ግን ቀደም ባሉት ጊዝያቶች ባካሄዳቸው ጀግንነቱ, ከወንድሞቹ የማይለየው ሳሞራም, እየተመራ ከናቅፋ እስከ ህንድ ውቅያኖስ ያካሄዱት ሃኒባላዊ ትእይንት ምስክር ይሁነን::

    ግን ምን ይሆናል, ይሄን ሁሉ ተግባራት ጭንጋፎችም እጃቸውን አጠለቁበትና, በስነ ስርዓቱ አላማውን ሳይመታ ስለቀረ የማንም ከላይ እንደሰፈሩት ለፍዳዳ እና የመሳሰሉት ሁሉ ሳይቀር አፉን ለመክፈት አመችቶታል:: አላማውን ይመታ ዘንዳ አሁንም ግን እድሉ አልተዘጋምና, እስኪ ትንሽ ትእግስት ይስጠን!! ሁላችንም በያለንበት አይዞን!

  12. Zerayakob Yared
    | #12


    ብዙሕ ወጠይጠይ ንምባል ዕድል የለን:: ከም ብዓል muddle ዝብሃሉ ቓላት’ውን ኣብዝ’እዋናት’ዙይ ቦታ የብሎምን:: ሻዕቢያታት ንገዛውቶም ኸይዶም, “ትግራይ-ኢትዮጵያ እፈትወኪ እየ” ዝብል ታዕሊም ከካይዱ ኣለዎም:: ታዕሊም ምስወድኡ ተመሊሶም ክመፅኡ ይኽእሉ እዮም:: ዝተረፈ ካሊእ ወያናይ ግና ዝኾነ ክሳብ ዝኸውን ንግዝይኡ “ብኣቦ ወያነ” ስብሓት ትሕቲ ካብ ምምሕዳር ካሊእ መንገዲ ዘሎ ኣይመስለንን:: ስብሓት’ውን እንተኾነ ከም ቀደም እዋናት ጭንጋፍ ከይኮነስ ሕይሽ ዝበለ ትግራዋይ ናብ ኣመራርሓ ወያነ ከምዘምፅአልና ተስፋ ንገብር:: እዙይ ምርጫ ንኽንክተል ምውሳና,ባህ ኢሉና ከኮነስ, ፈቲኽን’ዶ ንጉስ ትምርቓ ከምዝብልዎ ስለ ዝኾነና ጥራሕ እዩ!

    መፈንቅለ መንግስት ገለ-መለ ዝብል ቃላት ድማ ኣይኮነን’ዶ ብውነና ብሕልምና’ውን ኣየስምዓና!

  13. Darsema
    | #13

    Ato Hailemariam is nothing but the surrogate of the TPLF. Do not expect anything good from his false parading as the PM.

  14. Hun
    | #14

    Ethiopians have again no say in the affairs of their country. Still we have hyenas in power.

    Ethiopians in America tell Obama you do not vote for him unless he put pressure on those criminals to release prisoners, prepare new election, etc.

  15. Hun
    | #15

    The new Prime minster has no real power. He is just condom

  16. Ethiopian from Minnesota, U.S.A
    | #16

    What is shocking is the stupidity of some of the participants of the forum who are still caught up with backward mentality of Tribalism by mentioning the ethnic affiliation of the new PM. Why can’t we recognize that he is an Ethiopian – pure and simple? Let us dissect his political affiliation and how he proceeds to govern our beloved Motherland – ETHIOPIA. When we keep on talking about the ethnic or tribal background of the person, we cannot deny the fact that we are promoting the hidden agenda of DIVIDE AND RULE of EPRDF guided by the narrow-minded ethnocentric anti-Ethiopian party of TPLF (Tigray People Lynching Front). We can be better than narrow-minded sycophants. Let us stick to the burning issues that concern Ethiopians as long as the PM is an Ethiopian. PM’s ethnicity or tribe should not be the issue. What should be the issue are his political views that can be discussed about, commented on, criticized, commended, opposed or supported. To have an opinion on his governing style, we should be patient and observant. We have to give him time and space to show us which direction he is going to steer the boat of government. Rome was not built in one day. In the last 21 years, Ethiopia has seen some good things and bad ones. We can identify the good ones and encourage those good works. And we can point out the the destructive actions and remind the new PM that “our beloved leader, our righteous, hard working leader” did neglect the human value of Ethiopians with his arrogance, and abused his authority. The new PM should be reminded that before prosperity comes humanity. The first thing that he should do is to bring healing to Ethiopians. Recognize the individual rights of Ethiopians and Respect their human rights as long as the Ethiopians recognize their duty and obligations to each other. He should release political prisoners, and prisoners of press. He might have some resistance from his party members. But he has to fight for the truth and reconciliation of Ethiopians. He has to stand up and advocate for the powerless and voiceless Ethiopians. If he does that from his heart, I guarantee truthful Ethiopians inside and outside will stand up with him and give him unwavering support. I hope that he will work and fight for Ethiopia and Ethiopians not for political Ideology and political party. But we should give him time. Let His Almighty God give him the courage, wisdom, and strength. Let God bless Ethiopia, Ethiopians, and the new Prime Minister, Ato Hailemariam Desalegne.

  17. jinqiv
    | #17

    To get full support from Ethiopians,Hailemariam Desalegn must immediately collaborate and stand beside all freedom fighters and start the march along with all Ethiopians towards the final victory;if he strongly believes in being emancipated from the yok of the cell that had hatched out of the organization which has been the enemy of our dearest country and people,then Hailemariam must courageously come out and stand on the podium and speak clearly of his holding hand with the rest of Ethiopians and lead the people by example.

    yes;the ex-fugitive,Legesse Meles Zenawi has been mentoring Hailemariam Desalegn for the last 20 years,and conditioned him to a complete submission and obedience to be the mouth and the hand,heart,and mind of both Zenawi and Zenawi’s distructive organization.

    Liberation begins from self;then,it must be built upwards with courage and personality and style.Halemariam Desalegn,although big and tall,he has been dwarfed with propaganda pressure that has been put on him by the late dead robber,Legesse Meles Zenadwi,and has been carried over the manner and character of zenawi even after the death of the most wanted criminal who had been a fugitive for deacades and thought he would escape from justice and trial,but death cornered him against his crimes and sins.Now,Zenawi,the robber dead,Halemariam Desalegn must quickly able to regain what has been taken from him by the enemy freedom and democracy,Zenawi,the askari.

  18. federal
    | #18

    @Ethiopian from Minnesota, U.S.A
    I dont have any problem when taliking about the ethnic origine of the leaders,since it is the wish of the majority of ethiopians.
    It time to accept and recognise oppenly that Ethiopia is a multietnic,multilanguage country.By accepting this new ethiopia,we become more strong,more rich through our diversity .A country of one language,one culture,one religion belonged to the past.

  19. Aleka Gebrehana
    | #19

    Like many in here I decided to give some time to the new P/m Hale Mariam Desalegn not that I am convinced TPLf officials will let him to be independent leader. But because perhaps the correct way of judge him is to wait and see his policy enactment. Given the power structure behind the P/m ,I am not sure if any change we can expect under his administration. In any case, before we continue to far we will see if he chooses to define himself as a unique person or if he choose to be TPLF tail.

    Surly his faith, his family and the Ethiopian people are against him being a tail. The question is will he seize this moment to follow his conscious in honor of his maker or will he ,at eleventh hour, be a TPL yes man and end up on the wrong side of history. Whether TPLF admits or not from this point on Ethiopian public support for TPLF is irretrievably gone. And the consensus, both at home and abroad, of the opposition at the moment is armed struggle.Halemariam need to really think before he leaps to the way before him.

  20. Ethiopian from Minnesota, U.S.A
    | #20

    Dear Federal, you can say and talk about your wish of Divide and Rule based on the tribal line. Your wish of bantuism does not translate into the wish of the majority of Ethiopians. Your argument of advancing multi-this multi-that as a rich diversity is a cover for propagating the tribal based politics of the Tigray People Lynching Front (TPLF) and its pony Ethiopian Peoples Rule and Divide Front (EPRDF). Nothing else.

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