News: Ayisha Mohammed back as defense minister as new reshuffle sees Irrigation and Lowlands, Defense ministers switch places

Addis Abeba – Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed reshuffled his cabinet, appointing the Minister of Irrigation and Lowland, Aisha Mohammad (Eng.), back to the Ministry of Defense, while the Minister of Defense Abraham Belay (PhD) has been appointed as Minister of Irrigation and Lowland.

Today’s appointment also includes Mohammad Indris (PhD), who has been serving as director general of the Ethiopian Diaspora Services since August 2022 and is now appointed as Minister of State at the Coordination Center for Democracy Building. The appointments are effective 21 May 2024, according to the Office of the Prime Minister. The reason for the reshuffle is not stated.

Ayisha Mohammed was the first woman defense minister appointed by PM Abiy in October 2018, when he announced 50% women cabinets. She held the position for a little over one year and a half before returning to the Ministry of Urban Development and Construction in April 2019 as a minister, a position she once held. She was also the Minister of Tourism and Culture during the protest-hit period of the EPRDF government under the premiership of Hailemariam Desalegn.

In 2018, she was elected as the Chairperson of the Afar National Democratic Party (ANDP) before the party dissolved after joining the ruling Prosperity Party (PP) the next year.

Abraham Belay, the only Tigrayan native in PM Abiy’s cabinet, served as federal-appointed interim president of Tigray Regional State between May and June 2021, when the interim administration he led was forced to flee following Tigrayan forces’ recapture of the capital Mekelle. He was then appointed as Minister of Defense in October the same year, a position he held until today. AS

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