A reformist group within TPLF?
September 2, 2013

Debretsion G Michael - Will he succeed as a reformer?
Her liutenants are being rounded up for corruption ... and it may be a matter of time before she joins them at Kaliti
There are strong signs to suggest that a class of reformers is emerging within TPLF, once the sole property of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

To refresh ones memory about the era under Meles, the key factor that Meles expected from any high-ranking appointee was "absolute loyalty." As long as one displays absolute loyalty, Meles would make them immune from any accusations, such as corruption charges. That's why civilian officials and army generals became uber rich in Zenawi's time.

But that title and extravagance of Meles loyalists may come to an end soon if the anti-corruption campaign continues at the current pace. And credited for the "hunt" is none other than Debretsion Gebremichael, the most tech-savvy of all TPLF (PhD in electrical engineering), a TPLF politburo member, a deputy PM, and most importantly a life reportedly clean from corruption. Debretsion is - party wise - the boss of Getachew Assefa, the powerful security chief now aiding the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission carry out its duty without fear of reprisals.

From what has been achieved so far, it is possible to say a group within TPLF has emerged to curb the widespread corruption that has further pushed ordinary Ethiopians into the depths of sordid poverty. Of course the reformist group is not without challenges. The Azeb supporters in the likes of Tigrai regional president Abai Woldu and General Samora Yunus (the latter known for his opportunism), may try to stir trouble within TPLF and confront the reformists. From the measures taken so far, however, the reformists look like they are winning.

Ethiopia arrests top security official
His arrest may be a prelude to the arrest of Azeb Mesfin, aka "Mother of Corruption"
August 31, 2013
WASHINGTON, DC - A top Ethiopian security official has been arrested on corruption charges, Radio Fana, a radio owned by the ruling party, said on Friday.

The official, Woldeselassie Woldemichael, a close friend and confidant of Azeb Mesfin, the widow of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, was thrown into jail as part of the ongoing hunt for officials who have amassed wealth on grounds of corruption.

Woldeselassie was a close friend of Gebrewahd Woldegiorgis, former deputy head of Revenue and Customs Authority, who has been in jail for months accused of corruption.

Observers say the arrest of the ranking security official could be a prelude to the arrest of Azeb, who is dubbed the "Mother of All Corruption" in the country.

"It is a matter of time before Azeb joins the ranks of the corrupt officials now behind bars," a source said.

Azeb was recently removed from her post as CEO of EFFORT, the business oligarchy that has never been audited despite comprising major multi-billion-dollar companies such as Sur Construction, Mesfin Engineering, Almeda Textiles, and nearly two dozen business enterprises that have been the cash cow of the Meles-Azeb family and their inner-circle liutenants.

When Meles Zenawi was alive, Azeb was the most feared and powerful woman who at party meetings vilified those who don't bow to her as womanizers and alcoholics. Recently, she lashed out at current security chief Getachew Assefa for corruption and extravagant lifestyle. Azeb had insisted that Getachew should be fired and her favorite, Woldeselassie, promoted.

The once powerful and aggressive woman is slowly turning into the most vulnerable following the death of her husband in August last year. She now has no known official job. Critics have been blaming her for being corrupt on the one hand and incomptetent on the other that she can't work as CEO of EFFORT. Though not officially reported, there were anti-Azeb protests at a number of EFFORT-affiliated companies that called for her removal following the death of her husband.

Azeb was counting on the political support of Bereket Simon, the lazy and cynical former government spokesperson who had lived much of his life as the second-in-command during the Meles time, but lost power recently when he was thrown into the dark alley as the "advisor to PM Hailemariam Desalegn."

In the absence of Bereket, and the ailing General Samora Yunus, Azeb may now lean on the political clout of Abai Woldu, an autocratic figure hated by the Tigrai people. Abai is leading the war against the Addis Ababa-based "power breakers," and he is on the losing side despite being a TPLF politburo member and president of Tigrai region.

Like Azeb, Abai has also been at loggerheads with Getachew Assefa and behind-the-scene powerful man, Debretsion Gebremichael, who is deputy chairman of TPLF and minister of Communication and Information Technology, and wait, one of the three deputy prime ministers.

In reality, many consider Debretsion as Number One in the power hierarchy, and his side leading the anti-corruption campaign means the days of Azeb as the spoilt brat of the palace are over.

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