Hailemariam’s parliament comment sparks widespread outrage


Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn is used to rebukes from time to time– but his comment made to lawmakers in the Ethiopian parliament last week about the huge amount of money stolen and embezzled by one regional government has drawn criticism from a wide range of public, including from his supporters.
After questions were raised from a parliamentarian about the missing financial compensations allocated for forcibly resettled people, the Prime Minister reacted in business-as-usual manner. “Well, we don’t know what to do about it. There is even one regional government that I don’t want to name, embezzled around 100 million birr given to it by the federal government to compensate the displaced people,” the Premier dropping an affair of blatant dimensions like an ordinary matter.
Not only the Prime Minister failed to mention the name of the region, but also failed to say if any measures were taken and if there is an ongoing investigation. Parliamentarians were conspicuously tight-lipped as the Prime Minster passed to other issues. This comes as a paradox for a regime that is making a vow almost every day to clean up corruption in the country.
Reactions have, belatedly, come roaring back in the social media, one commentator saying this is just once case of the decades of slow rot that have eaten into the country’s political establishment. One surprise reaction came from none other than the US-based web journalist, owner of the Ethiopia First website, and the regime’s ardent supporter, Benyam Kebede who said that he was unbelievably disappointed and embarrassed by the Prime Minister’s response. “Can you imagine? He is addressing the representatives of the people, who is supposed to remain well informed about what is going on in the country. And he said he is not going to tell them. What an effrontery! To make matters worse, those elected members left the hall without uttering a word. What kind of democracy is it, our democracy? The Prime Minister has an obligation to disclose such disgraceful act. This is tax payer’s money and people are entitled to know,” he said that in a recorded message on You Tube.
Well, let us see where the uproar over the matter leads but one commentator says any chance of reactions or apology from Hailemarim is remote.

Arefayné Fantahun
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6 Discussion to this post

  1. Alem says:

    Aref, Benyam Kebede is not a journalist in the sense of one seeking the truth and thereby informing his readers. He is a propagandist and one starved for recognition.
    Hailemariam is but a mouthpiece. On arrival in 2012 he dared anyone to come to him with evidence against corrupt leaders and that he will make sure such got their day in court. And if he failed to do what he promised that he is willing to be sued. For the next 3 years he never mentioned going after corrupt leaders because he was later to discover that his “special advisers” are actually involved. A man of integrity would have resigned his position; Hailemariam is “happy ” [his word] to be prime minister. There we go.

  2. Interesting, Arafaine! But I think this is hardly surprising given a parliament with 100% seats occupied by the ruling party. The good for nothing MPs there do not represent their constituencies at all. But mind you this is a televised event, and I expected some pretensions, some makeovers, to make it look like we have a an accountable PM and MPs, If the MPs are not entitled to know about a gross embezzlement, then who? It is so saddening! Alas…..

  3. Leul Araya says:

    There must be something behind it, probably higher officials from the government involved or his own circle had to do with this scheme or never allocate the money to the region, who knows may be disappears in between, very disappointing a country PM can not expose this issue, then who ? Very secretive administration.

  4. Teddy Dagnew says:

    Sounds like business a usual,but this time he mentioned in open parliament, to sound transparent, sad..

  5. If they don’t have a courage to take a measure on corruption, What is the use making a vow day and night ? Disgraceful!

  6. Henok megersa says:

    It sound like a lot of money that will be given to peoples as a compensation is stolen and the gov’t is not interested to take any measure?.its alrady known that a lot of money has stolen by ethiopian leaders time 2 time but this time the pm has given some points about z situation to media?i appritiate this side.

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