PM Hailemariam Desalegn expresses frustration to close confidants

Ethiopia’s new prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, has expressed frustration with the Tigrean People Liberation Front (TPLF) to a group of close friends he recently met. One long time friend of the prime minister (who wants to remain anonymous) told Ethiopian Review today that Hailemariam is finding it impossible to get cooperation from the TPLF members who are dominating the bureaucracy and military on a number of issues, most particularly making personnel decisions. TPLF officials also keep him in the dark on national security matters and he doesn’t get timely reports as a commander-in-chief.

Ethiopian Review’s source also said Hailemariam wants to give amnesty to all political prisoners, but hardliners in the TPLF-dominated state security are dead set against it.

Asked if Hailemariam is concerned about his security, the source said that all his family and friends are extremely worried, but Hailemariam himself doesn’t seem to be concerned.

Hailemariam wants to mend relations with the Eritrean government and he was furious that the Ethiopian football federation requested change of venue for the scheduled soccer match with Eritrea. Hailemariam believes that peaceful relations with Eritrea will solve most of the security issues in the region. However, TPLF leaders believe that Eritrea policy is their domain and they don’t want Hailemariam to come near it, Ethiopian Review source said.

The Nile river dam project is another area where Hailemariam feels that he is being sabotaged. Ever since the late dictator Meles Zenawi died last July, the TPLF has almost completely withdrawn support for the project, which is currently facing a crippling shortage of funds. Construction workers are not being paid on time, and critical supplies and equipments are not arriving. Much of the funds that have been collected so far have also been unaccounted for, the source said.