Oct. 16 (ESAT News) Prime Minister Hailemariam Dasalegn’s first report and his responses to questions raised to him in parliament today drew sharp criticism for trying to imitate his predecessor. The only opposition MP, Girma Saifu, said he had expected nothing new from him while the veteran human rights advocate Mesfin Woldemariam quipped that the new PM appeared to be a replica of the old one even in style.
While responding to a number of questions, the PM frequently quoted his predecessor. He claimed that an accountable democratic system was put in place in Ethiopia but later contradicted himself by saying that democracy is a process not magic potion that can be concocted within a week.
Hailemariam told parliament that freedom of expression is consolidating but blamed jailed journalists and dissidents of conspiring to destabilize the country. MP Girma Seifu told ESAT that he did not expect the new PM to say something new while he did not even consolidate his power base.
Prof. Mesfin noted that the absence of senior government officials in parliament was a concern as it showed the weight given to the PM’s presentation on national issues.
The late Prime Minister’s widow, Azeb Mesfin, senior TPLF officials like Abaye Tsehaye were visibly absent in parliament.