Hailemariam Desalegn’s resignation is “on the basis of the national situation and especially the current political situation” and not because of “his failure to perform individually,” SEPDM’s secretary-general said.

By Nizar Manek (Bloomberg) |

Ethiopia’s ruling party needs “fresh forces” in its leadership to tackle political upheaval and achieve its economic goals after Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s shock resignation last week, a leader of his party said.

Hailemariam, 52, announced Feb. 15 he’s stepping down after an internal evaluation of the South Ethiopia People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM), one of four parties that make up the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, said Tesfaye Beljige, secretary-general of the SEPDM.

Hailemariam tendered his resignation “on the basis of the national situation and especially the current political situation” and not because of “his failure to perform individually,” Tesfaye said. The prime minister told the SEPDM’s leadership that he has faced a “very hectic situation” over the past six years, Tesfaye said in an interview Sunday in the capital, Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia, Africa’s fastest-growing economy over the past decade, is a key U.S. ally in its battle against al-Qaeda in the Horn of Africa. Home to more than 100 million people, the $72 billion economy has drawn investors including General Electric Co., Johannesburg-based Standard Bank Group and hundreds of Chinese companies.

Ethiopia’s government declared a state of emergency on Feb. 16 following Hailemariam’s resignation, which came after more than two years of sporadic, often deadly, anti-government demonstrations and amid conflict between the Oromia and Somali regions that has displaced more than 900,000 people. Similar measures introduced in 2016 failed to curb the turmoil mainly in the Oromia and Amhara regions — home to the biggest ethnic groups who say they’re excluded from political and economic power.

In a policy shift, Hailemariam last month announced that more than 7,000 political prisoners would be released and further political reforms would be implemented.

Continue reading this story at Bloomberg
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