By Yonas Abiye – The Reporter
Members of the House of Peoples’ Representatives (HPR) raised questions regarding the competency of newly appointed ambassadors and heads of mission of Ethiopia’s diplomatic outposts, most of whom were unseated from government executive offices.
However, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) defended the appointees while admitting the need to review the whole appointment procedure.
In his appearance before Parliament on Tuesday, Workeneh Gebeyehu (PhD), Minister of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), however, did not deny the prevailing outstanding issues such as concerns of fairness and luck of transparency. He as well has underlined the need for procedural revision.
During the 25th regular session of the parliamentary year, Workneh presented his office’s nine-month performance report before the House while MPs raised various questions related to the ministry’s activities as well as the country’s diplomacy.
Among the questions that were raised by members of the Foreign Relations Affairs Standing Committee of the House the appointment of new ambassadors and diplomats who are not career diplomats but picked by the government after being expelled from other ministerial offices.
The standing committee further raised the issue of fairness, transparency, legitimacy as well as qualification of diplomats appointed and posted at embassies and consulate offices abroad.
The minister recognized two established trends of appointment of diplomats. One is assigned career diplomat from within the ministry and the other is appointment coming from the government.
But the retired officials, when they are appointed for diplomacy, they come with the experience and leadership quality they have acquired during their tenure as an executive.
Though it is the responsibility of the Prime Minister and the President to appoint an ambassador, the ministry also has a responsibility to generate regulations and guidelines and to make proposals to the government.
He also noted that consultation is underway with the Office of the Prime Minister regarding the appointment procedures as well as other related tasks.
Hence, according to the minister, once the guideline is concluded, senior government officials can only be assigned for diplomatic responsibility based on their track record and what they achieved while they were in office.