BY TESFA-ALEM TEKLE
What you need to know:
- He was nominated as a cabinet Secretariat (Cluster) for Decentralization and Democratization, with the rank of Vice President.
- If approved, the retired General will be one of the two vice presidents the Tigray region will have during the interim period.
A former Chief of Staff of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces and a mastermind to the Tigray rebellion, Gen.Tsadkan Gebretensae, is nominated to serve as vice President in the Interim Government of Tigray.
He was nominated as a cabinet Secretariat (Cluster) for Decentralization and Democratization, with the rank of Vice President.
If approved, the retired General will be one of the two vice presidents the Tigray region will have during the interim period.
However, the General’s selection might anger Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, says a US-based Tigrayan scholar (PHD) who is close to the matter.
“Gen Tsadkan is firm in his position on Tigray issues. He has always been very critical of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his government,” the scholar who sought anonymity said.
Sources said any nominee presented to Tigray Interim Administration positions has to be approved first by the Ethiopian Prime Minister.
“Prime Minister Abiy could potentially decline to approve Gen Tsadkan to the presidential position. If he did, it could spark public anger in Tigray and might potentially jeopardize the formation of an effective interim administration in Tigray” the scholar warns.
Gen. Tsadkan who led the Tigray war as commander of Tigrayan rebel forces, reportedly is regarded by international security analysts as one of the finest military strategists of his generation in Africa.
Gen Tsadkan was presented to the VP post by Global Society of Tigrean Scholars (GSTS), a largest and most active academic and professional association in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa with over 5,000 members worldwide.
GSTS was requested by TPLF (in letters dated 2nd and 5th March 2023) to facilitate the nomination of scholars and professionals for five offices in the Interim Administration of Tigray.
In a statement GSTS issued late on Friday and shared with this reporter, scholars of the Tigrayan diaspora community have accordingly presented five nominees to serve in the requested positions, including for heads of Justice, Industry and Tourism Bureaus.
To ensure the full participation of the public, particularly scholars and professionals, as well as to guarantee transparency and integrity of the nomination process, GSTS said it has distributed a nomination form to over 3,800 scholars and professionals via email, as well as sharing it through GSTS chapters, other GSTS platforms, and the Tigray networks and relevant associations.
In total, 178 nominations were received, consisting of 104 highly competent scholars and professionals, eight of whom were women.
“To avoid any potential conflicts of interest, the GSTS requested its Board members and the Chair of the Research and Consultative Committee (RCC), who had been nominated to recuse themselves from the selection process if they would like to be considered for the positions” the association said.
All members of the Board and the Chair of the RCC who had been nominated decided not to stand for nomination to maintain the integrity of the process.
The GSTS Board then developed a selection framework taking into account relevant experience and practical leadership skills, relevant education and training, professional integrity, gender, and readiness for deployment, and those who are not members of any political party.
The GSTS Board and the Chair of the RCC shortlisted a total of 25, five nominees for each of the five positions, each position having five candidates ranked based on the set criteria and then presented its shortlist and candidate ranking for consultation to the RCC.
“After a thorough selection process and extensive deliberations, and taking into account the suggestions of the Research and Consultative Committee, the Board and the Chair of the RCC endorsed and officially submitted the five nominees to the committee responsible for spearheading the process to establish the Interim Regional Administration” it added.
The Tigrayan diaspora has played a significant role in exposing the wrongdoings of Ethiopia and Eritrea government during the Tigray conflict.
Erupted in November 2020, the Tigray conflict has claimed the lives of over 600,000 people and forced millions to flee their homes.
The two-year bloody conflict ended after the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) signed a peace deal in Pretoria last November.
Neighboring Eritrea has also fought alongside the Ethiopian military but Asmara was not part of the Pretoria talks and has not yet fully withdrawn its forces.
Their continued presence in Ethiopia is being a major obstacle for the effective implementation of the peace deal.
(Source: Daily Monitor)