[dehai-news] (ION) Standoff Between Toga and Zenawi

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From: Biniam Haile \(SWE\) (eritrea.lave@comhem.se)
Date: Mon Jan 12 2009 - 04:23:01 EST


Standoff Between Toga and Zenawi
Monday, January 12, 2009
During two successive afternoons, on Dec. 5 and 6, prime minister Meles
Zenawi convened 45 ministers and senior civil servants to outline the
results of his government at length. According to information gleaned by
The Indian Ocean Newsletter, he singled out some in attendance by name,
accusing them of incompetence and informing everyone that a purge of
ministers and deputy ministers would follow.
During the Dec. 5 session he specifically pointed the finger at Teshome
Toga, speaker of Ethiopia's parliament, and accused him of spending the
government's money on trips and entertainment instead of fulfilling his
functions. Surprisingly, the Parliament's speaker, who is on extremely
bad terms with the prime minister's wife, Azeb Mesfin, didn't take the
criticism lying down as most dignitaries of the Ethiopian regime tend to
do. On the contrary, he stood his ground with the prime minister,
explaining that the funds given to him for a five day trip weren't
adequate to cover his expenses and that he paid some money out of his
own pocket. Considering that Zenawi was altogether aware of that fact,
he demanded that the prime minister withdraw what he saw as unfair
At that moment, visibly furious, Zenawi held his head in his hands and
called for a 30 minute suspension of the session, claiming he had a
terrible headache. He rested for a moment in another room where a doctor
came to tend to him and give him pills, after which he proceeded with
his speech.
The prime minister subsequently praised Abdula Gemeda, president of
Oromiya Regional State, who wasn't present at the gathering. He also
raised the question of differences between Ethiopian generals on the
strategy to deploy on Somalia. Elsewhere, he admitted that despite his
talks with Djibouti president Ismail Omar Guelleh and the presents he
offered him, Djibouti had finally raised its port fees. The move, said
Zenawi, could only "worsen our economic problems."

The Indian Ocean Newsletter


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