Azeb Mesfin, the wife of Ethiopia’s dictator Meles Zenawi (also known as “The Wicked Witch of Ethiopia”), has become deputy head of the Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT), which owns several multimillion-dollar companies. She will serve under Abadi Zemu, the chief executive officer (CEO) of EFFORT, replacing Sebhat Nega, the most senior leader of the TPLF.
[There has been an intense behind the scene power struggle between Azeb and Sebhat as she moved to take total control of Woyanne's assets.]
This appointment is yet another public role Azeb assumes following the split within the leadership of the TPLF in early 2000. Not only was Azeb elected to the Federal Parliament in 2005 by a constituency in Welkait, she is also a chairperson of its Standing Committee on Social Affairs. She was also elected as a member of the Central Committee of the TPLF, a place she first got four years ago.
Azeb is not new to EFFORT; she has been in charge of one of its subsidiaries, Mega Publishing, whose office and printing facility is inside Mega Building, on Africa Avenue (Bole Road). It is the printing arm of Mega Net Corporation, an umbrella of several subsidiaries, which was first registered in March 1993 as Mega Net Printing & Distribution Share Company, with an initial capital of one million Birr. It was restructured to Mega Net Corporation and increased its capital to 10 million Br, with EFFORT controlling the largest share.
EEFORT was first established in 1995 as a non-governmental foundation. Its leaders often argue that it got its seed money from the TPLF that acquired assets during the period of armed struggle against the Derg. Although this argument has been directed to fierce criticisms from those opposing the administration of the Revolutionary Democrats, its supporters claim EFFORT was created to invest in areas where the public or private sectors are not interested or capable of involvement.
Its first Board of Directors of seven were all senior leaders of the TPLF/EPRDF; EFFORT’s first Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer was Seyee Abraha, a politburo member of the TPLF from the late 1970s, until he was flushed out of the party in early 2000. His chairmanship position was filled by Seyoum Mesfin, who is also minister of Foreign Affairs.
Sebhat took over the chief executive position and served up until this year, before he handed over to Abadi, who has always served as a director of the council. The latter transferred to the board and head of the industrial wing of EFFORT.
The conglomerate has over 25 companies that it controls in the industry, finance, trade, mining, construction, transport and agricultural sectors.
By PAWLOS BELETE | ADDIS FORTUNE