The Ethiopian parliament has elected its first female speaker on Thursday following the approval of the 29-member cabinet including three women appointed by the new prime minister Abiy Ahmed.
42-year-old Muferihat Kamil, a former Minister of Women’s Affairs, replaces Abadula Gemeda who has served as Speaker since 2010, reports state media FBC.
The report confirms earlier rumours that Muferiat Kamil was set to be named speaker. She replaces Abadula Gemeda who has been in the role since 2010.
It remains to be known what role Abadula will be taking after quitting the speaker position. Gemeda resigned his position last year in October, before rescinding that resignation on December 29, 2017.
Muferiat belongs to the Southern Ethiopia Peoples Democratic Movement (SEPDM) one of the constituent bodies of the ruling Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).
Her party produced the immediate past Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn who resigned in February according to him, to allow the government to pursue democratic reforms.
Desalegn was replaced by Abiy Ahmed, the first ethnic Oromo to become PM. Abiy on Thursday announced a cabinet reshuffle of 29 ministers. Ten of them being new entrants, six reassigned portfolios.
Incidentally, one of the biggest issues raised by legislators during Abiy’s presentation of his cabinet was the absence of women on the list. He promised that more women will be named in a subsequent list.
Brief about Speaker Muferiat Kamil
In 2008, Muferiat Kamil, the new speaker became Minister of Women’s Affairs at the age of 32, at the time, the youngest appointee of the late Meles Zenawi.
She was born in Jimma, the largest city in south-western Ethiopia. She Graduated from Haramaya University with BSc. degree in Agriculture in 2000.
She held different women affairs roles and from 2002 till her appointment as Public Relations Advisor to the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR) President in 2007.
She has worked at the EPRDF office in Addis Ababa in April 2008, then as a junior public relations officer till her appointment as Minister of Women’s Affairs.