Ethiopia’s prime minister created a new “Ministry of Peace” in sweeping cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday as he sought to tackle a wave of ethnic violence.
Abiy Ahmed – who has turned the region’s politics on its head with a string of reforms since being appointed in April – named new finance and defense ministers in an overhaul that kept only four of the former post holders in their jobs.
The 42-year-old merged ministries to cut the cabinet to 20 from 28 and for the first time handed half of the top jobs to women.
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“The main problem in this country is the lack of peace. This (peace) ministry will be working hard to ensure it prevails,” Abiy told lawmakers.
About 2.2 million people out of a population of 100 million have been displaced since clashes broke out last year, many of them between rival ethnic groups.
The new peace ministry will be led by former parliament speaker Muferiat Kamil, and will oversee the intelligence and security agencies, the government said.
Since his appointment, Abiy has made peace with neighbor Eritrea and presided over the partial privatization of key economic sectors such as telecommunications.
He has also extended an olive branch to several rebel groups and promised to rein in the powerful security agencies. Yet the changes have not stopped ethnically-charged violence, some of which escalated since he was named premier.
Former construction minister Aisha Mohammed was named defense minister – the first woman to hold that position in the country.
Ahmed Shide, who has previously served as a deputy minister of finance and a government spokesman, replaced Abraham Tekeste as finance minister.
The economy has grown by nearly 10 percent on average for the past decade, official data shows, but the recent unrest has led to concerns over its long-term stability.
The prime minister also named new ministers of agriculture, culture and tourism, education, labour, mines, planning and development, revenue, science, trade, transport, urban development, and women’s affairs – a mixture of new names and reshuffled ministers.
He kept Workneh Gebeyehu as foreign minister, Amir Aman as health minister and Seleshi Bekele as water and electricity minister, as well as Berhanu Tsegaye as attorney general.
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Nigeria Football Federation boss Amaju Pinnick under fresh corruption probe
Several properties belonging to top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), including its president Amaju Pinnick, have been seized in a fresh corruption probe.
The latest investigation and seizures are being carried out by the country’s Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission’s (ICPC).
The ICPC has published a newspaper advertisement about the properties seized – half of which belong to Pinnick.
According to the statement published in the Nigerian papers one of Pinnick’s properties is in London.
It comes amidst wide-ranging claims over how money meant for football development allegedly disappeared.
“We can’t go into further details beyond the fact that many officials of the NFF are under investigation,” ICPC spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa said.
“It’s basically because what they have is in excess of what they have earned.”
The ICPC has also taken control of properties belonging to the NFF second vice-president Shehu Dikko and the general secretary Muhamed Sanusi among others.
Rwanda ban Burundi,s music star ahead of annual festival
Burundian musician Jean Pierre Nimbona, popularly known as Kidum, has told the BBC he is confused by Rwanda’s decision to ban him from playing at the upcoming Kigali Jazz Fusion festival.
Kidum is one of Burundi’s biggest music stars and has performed in Rwanda for the past 16 years.
But a police official phoned the musician’s manager to warn that he would only be allowed to make private visits to Rwanda.
“[My manager was told] Kidum is not supposed to perform, tell him to leave. If he comes for private visits fine, but no performances,” the musician told BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme.
The mayor of Rwanda’s capital said that in this instance permission had not been sought from the authorities for him to perform at the festival in Kigali.
Kidum was a leading peace activist during Burundi’s civil war between 1993 and 2003 and used his songs to call for reconciliation.
The 44-year-old musician said he had never had problems with Rwandan authorities until recently when three of his shows were cancelled at the last minute – including one in December 2018.
That month Burundi had banned Meddy, a musician who is half-Burundian, half-Rwandan, from performing in the main city of Bujumbura.
Kidum said he was unsure if the diplomatic tensions between Burundi and Rwanda had influenced his ban.
“I don’t know, I don’t have any evidence about that. And if there was politics, I’m not a player in politics, I’m just a freelance musician based in Nairobi,” he said.
He said he would not challenge the ban: “There’s nothing I can do, I just wait until maybe the decision is changed some day.
“It’s similar to a family house and you are denied entry… so you just have to wait maybe until the head of the family decides otherwise.”
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