Friday, March 9, 2012

Yamamoto lamented how EPRDF was firing professionals and hiring party members




Classified By: Ambassador Donald Yamamoto for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (S/NF) In a private February 10 meeting with Pol/Econ
Chief, a long-term Foreign Ministry (MFA) official lamented
that the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic
Front (EPRDF) has begun stacking government offices with
newly-recruited party members through the on-going Business
Practices Re-engineering (BPR) process. The source confirmed
previous reports from MFA counterparts that the Ministry has
brought on 230 new "trainees" to bolster the Ministry's
capacity per BPR recommendations. Of the 230 new-hires, all
are party officials, with roughly 160 of them coming from
middle-management positions in Ethiopia's regional
governments. Unlike current MFA employees, all of these
new-hires have received Ministry-provided housing and
salaries at levels double the prevailing rates of current MFA
officers. The source noted that the expectation from
Ministry leaders is for these new staff members to assume
middle- to senior-level positions (possibly to include
Director General level positions) in MFA and Ethiopian
embassies upon completion of their one-year training programs.

¶2. (S/NF) The source reported that the ruling party
recognized that the Ethiopian military and security service
was most loyal to the party in the 2005 national elections,
but that the civil service was a potential vulnerability.
The source confirmed other reports that since 2005 the
military and security services had been purged of individuals
and ethnicities perceived not to be loyal to the ruling
party, but argued that the civil service throughout the
executive branch of Ethiopian Government (GoE) has seen a
similar purging. The source reported that since 2005 the MFA
has introduced a four-point grading system for employees.
Individuals who are members of the ruling party and fully
support the party are given an "A" grade. Those perceived to
be loyal to the party and its platform, though not
necessarily party members, are given a "B" grade. Both A's
and B's are considered for promotion. Those who are not
party members, or who are apolitical, are given a "C" grade,
are subjected to increased observation, and are not
considered for promotion regardless of any positive
performance. Those perceived to oppose the ruling party or
its platform are given a "D" grade, are terminated from the
GoE, and generally subjected to observation by the security
services. The source reported that he has repeatedly been
approached by superiors and encouraged to join the ruling
party. The source has similarly been approached by
colleagues and pressured to contribute financially to the
ruling party's NGOs. He attributes his refusal of such
overtures to his being frozen in his position for years.

¶3. (S/NF) The source noted that while the Acting Assistant
Secretary of State for Africa's tough message to the GoE in
late-January (reftel) initially got people's attention, it
was brushed aside as bluster almost immediately by the MFA
and ruling party. The source argued that MFA officials
fundamentally believe that the United States assesses that it
(the U.S.) has too many interests at stake in the Horn of
Africa to risk a cooling of relations by pressing for
political reforms. He argued that public statements in 2005
and 2006 by U.S. Chiefs of Mission in Ethiopia made clear to
the Ethiopian people that the USG has picked allied itself
with the GoE. He argued that while the USG may have had
influence over the GoE to induce positive reform up until,
and soon after, the 2005 elections, it has lost all such
influence since then. He argued that the ruling party views
its narrowing of political space since 2005 as critical to
its continued existence in the face of the threat from the
opposition and civil society. As such, if faced with the
dilemma of whether to make reforms under international
pressure and risk being toppled or forego strong external
relations to survive, the GoE will certainly choose the
latter option.


¶4. (S/NF) While the source's comments are not surprising,
they do offer a deeper and closer glimpse of the extent to
which the EPRDF is so fundamentally dominating the stage for
the 2010 elections. His insights on bilateral relations

ADDIS ABAB 00000379 002 OF 002

suggest that the U.S. Administration's new tone of diplomatic
engagement will fail if not accompanied by clear and bold
actions. At the same time, his warning is prescient in
noting that in pushing the GoE for reforms -- through
dialogue and action -- we must remain mindful to explain our
common stability objectives clearly to the GoE and EPRDF and
to avoid over-reaching for too drastic of reforms lest the
ruling party opt to choose survival over engagement. End

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