Ethiopia: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Resigns

Published: January 26, 2024

Demeke Mekonnen, Ethiopia’s long-serving Deputy Prime Minister, who also doubles as Minister of Foreign Affairs since November 2020, is departing from both positions as early as today, Addis Standard has confirmed from a credible source close to the matter.

Demeke, who is the third vice president of the ruling Prosperity Party representing the Amhara wing of the party has also been relieved of his position as of today. He is replaced by Temesgen Tiruneh, Director General of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).

This was announced at the ongoing meeting of the PP Central Committee members.

Although Demeke has served as deputy prime minister since 2012, his elevation as the Minister of Foreign Affairs came during an unprecedented reshuffle by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in the wake of the war in the Tigray region in November 2020. Demeke replaced the then Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew while maintaining his position the deputy Prime Minister.

Demeke’s career at the federal level began in 2008 when he became the Minister of Education when the late Meles Zenawi was Ethiopia’s Prime Minister. Prior to his appointment as the Minister of Education in 2008, Demeke was the Commissioner of Ethics & Anti-Corruption Commission in Amhara Region. He was also the head of the region’s Administrative & Security Affairs Bureau. Between 2005 – 2008, he served as the Vice President and Head of Capacity Building Bureau of the Region.

But his biggest career leap within the then ruling party Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) would arrive when he was appointed as Deputy Chairman of the party and subsequently as Deputy Prime Minister when former Prime Minister Hailemriam Desalegn took the premiership following the death of Meles Zenawi.

In 2015, Demeke became an important focal point among the international community after the failed rains and the advent of El Nino left a staggering 8.2 million Ethiopians in need of emergency food assistance. As Deputy Prime Minister, Demeke was put in charge of organizing the much needed humanitarian response between the government and humanitarian partners. His coordination works were credited for effectively responding to the crisis before it claimed lives and livelihoods of millions.