Lemma Megerssa Dismissed as Ethiopian Defence Minister

By Staff Reporter

Team-LemmaAugust 18, 2020 (Ezega.com) -- In an extraordinary move, PM Abiy Ahmed has dismissed Lemma Megerssa as Ethiopian Minister of Defence for undisclosed reasons.

Prime Minister Office on Tuesday in a Facebook post said Dr. Kene’a Yadeta replaced Lemma Megersa as Defense Minister. Lemma Megersa was a key ally of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed from day one to the extent that many called the duo 'Team Lemma' to show the elder leader status of Lemma Megersa.

The cascading turn of events against Lemma Megersa started several months ago when he opposed Abiy 's move to form the Prosperity Party (PP).

Lemma Megerssa was dismissed as a member of the central committee of the Oromia branch of the ruling party for alleged failure to meet the party’s discipline and long absence from work.

The office also disclosed the appointment of Dr. Gedion Timothewos as Attorney General replacing Adanech Abebie who was appointed as deputy mayor Addis Ababa.

It is not clear why Adanech was removed as an attorney general. Adanech, who was minister of Revenues, swore in before parliament as Attorney General in March this year, replacing Birhanu Tsegaye, who was recently appointed as an ambassador.

Engineer Takele Uma who won popularity as deputy mayor of Addis Ababa city among Oromo groups was appointed as Minister of Mines and Petroleum.

According to the Office, Prime Minister Abiy also appointed Dr. Samuel Urkato, Minister of Science and Higher Education; Tesfaye Daba, Deputy Attorney General; Yohannes Buayalew, Director General of the Ethiopian Foreign Relations Strategic Studies Institute; Nigusu Tilahun, Commissioner of Job Creation Commission; Engineer Endawek Abte, Deputy Director-General of Metals Engineering Corporation, and Fekadu Tsega, Deputy Attorney General; and Prof. Hirut Woldemariam, Social Sector advisor to the Prime Minister with the rank of minister.

Reports last week revealed that Lemma Megerssa was denied access to his office for undisclosed reasons effective Wednesday, August 12, 2020.

His secretary was also said to be absent from the office and there were reports that the police had searched his office.

The decision denying Lemma access to his office came from the executive body but the chief of staff of the Ethiopian defense forces Adem Mohammed reportedly conveyed the news to the minister, it was learned.

A high-level official told Ethio Insider that Lemma came to the office of minister of defense rarely and it was not surprising that he was ordered to stay home.

Lemma Magerssa is a prominent Oromo politician who was credited to have played a major role in ending the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) led government and facilitating conditions for the current Prime Minister to assume power in April 2018. The team that came to power ousting the TPLF was commonly called "Team Lemma."

In November 2019, it became clear that Lemma and Abiy had developed a political difference. Lemma himself made it public when he used the Voice of America platform to declare that he does not believe in “Medemer” — a sort of new political ideology that Abiy Ahmed is said to have developed.

The former boss of Abiy Ahmed, Lemma Megersa, opposed Medemer saying that the “Oromo question” is not yet addressed.

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