Massive layoffs at Foreign Ministry
By Muluneh Yohannes, Ethiomedia Writer |Dec. 19, 2006
Several diplomats – including three full-fledged ambassadors – were among those who have been fired and demoted this week following a politically-motivated “evaluation session” that has been the trademark of the ruling party since it seized power in a 1991 coup.
Professionals who have been working for different desks at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have either lost their jobs or relegated in a bid to pave the way for incoming class of political cadres of the ruling party, sources informed Ethiomedia on Tuesday.
The ambassadors who have been fired are Dr Koang Tutlam Dung, former ambassador to Japan; Mr. Yoseph Kumalo, former ambassador to Sudan; and Mr. Ofato Alew, former ambassador to Kenya.
Sources said the action constitutes the ruling party’s punitive measure against Foreign Ministry employees who have been suspected of having ties or sympathies for the country’s major opposition party – Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUDP) – an opposition party that virtually came very close to ending Mr. Zenawi’s brutal rule of 15 years at the May 2005 elections.
The list of dismissals in the major shake-up believed to have cut off 70 percent of the workforce includes:
Semerita Sewasew, Melese T/mariam,Teferi Melese, Eyob Gebre Tsadik, Mohamed ali, Alemu (Community), Ermias Olana (Africa Desk), Dubale, Wossen(Africa Desk), Tewabech, Assegid, Aklog, Tesfaye Molla, Alemayehu Eyassu, Tefera (Protocol then Africa staff), Kidist (Protocol), Dawit Temessgen.
Demoted are Zinabu Samaro, Zenebe H. Mariam, Adam Reta, Ayele Biru, Genetu Melese, Amha H.Giorgis, Tibebu (IT), Ephrem to mention but a few.
The sources said the fired and demoted staff members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs went through a painful Gemgema (Evaluation session) that was not based on professional merits but on each employee’s loyalty to the ruling party.
The Foreign Ministry has suspended appointing and sending diplomats overseas for fear of desertions.
“The ruling party has been preparing its cadres to do the job of the professionals and the ‘evaluation session’ which has the traits of criminal investigation is conducted with the goal of giving legal semblance to politically-motivated mass lay-offs,” the sources said.
Federal court judges, inquiry commissioners, army generals, ambassadors as well as elected MPs have fled the country as Mr. Zenawi continued to resort to a reign of terror to subdue a nation that has clearly voted for a regime change.
The military showdown with the Union of Islamic Courts of Somalia, observers say, is the government’s desperate strategy of diverting international public opinion away from the worsening crisis in the country.