Ethiopian-Kenyan dominance of IGAD must end! – UM

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and Eritrea's President Isaias Afwerki sit in a helicopter during their visit to Gondar, northern Ethiopia, on November 9, 2018. PHOTO | EDUARDO SOTERAS | AFP 

Mogadishu (UM) – Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda and Djibouti should call for an emergency IGAD meeting following Ethiopia’s unilateral decision to appointment of Workeneh Gebeyehu, the Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, as IGAD’s next Executive Secretary. In  a leaked letter, the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appoints his Foreign Minister to the position of IGAD Executive Secretary after suggesting that this was a decision by consensus after consultations during the inauguration of Unity Park which president Farmajo attended earlier this month.

IGAD Secretariat must release the discussions and outcomes of the meeting during the inauguration of Unity Park in Addis Ababa and if Somalia and other countries supported the candidacy of Ethiopia as Executive Secretary then the reasons for this will need to be reviewed because it is not fair. If Somalia and other IGAD member states should did not agree on Minister Workneh’s appointment to the top job in IGAD, then Somalia and other members must stand up to Ethiopia and Kenya which dominate IGAD. IGAD members must stop the organization from becoming a lucrative retirement plan for Ethiopian and Kenyan civil servants and politicians who have shown that they have no shame by passing the top jobs among themselves.

Somalia has proposed qualified candidates and they have been overlooked and ignored by Ethiopia and Kenya. Somalia’s candidate Dr. Abdisalam Omar is a former Foreign Minister with excellent national and international experience. He is better qualified and suited to the position of IGAD Executive Secretary than the young Workneh who was a political appeasement plan for the Oromo during the times of tension in Ethiopia under Prime Minister Desalegn. Now, his clansman Prime Minister Abiy, a Noble Peace Prize winner, appoints him as IGAD chief. This is unacceptable and immoral.

The Somali government, if president Farmajo did not support the Ethiopian position during his visit to Addis Ababa for the inauguration of Unity Park last month, must get the support of other IGAD members and argue the case for their candidate. Somalia has never led IGAD, an organisation it helped to establish. Somalia also has the least employees in IGAD yet most projects the international community provides to the organisation is for Somalia. Why is this?

If Ethiopia and Kenya want to dominate every position in IGAD and the African Union for the East Africa region, regional cooperation will not survive. Two members can’t benefit at the expense of everybody else.

Ethiopia must feel ashamed and back track on the decision to award its Foreign Minister the top positions in IGAD. Otherwise Somalia and other members who feel disrespected should leave IGAD. It is a failing institutions anyway with little to show for the funding it receives from the world.