Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has appointed General Seare Mekonen as the military’s new Chief of Staff. He replaces General Samora Muhammad Yunis, who held the post for 17 years.
Seare participated in the rebellion against the Derg and also the war with Eritrea that took place from 1998 to 2000. He hails from Tigray, as does Samora.
Seare was one of three deputy chief of staffs appointed by former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in February, along with the Amhara general Adem Mohammed and Berhanu Jula Gelelcha, an Oromo. Seare has served as head of the Northern Command and of the military’s education and training department.
Testimonials about Seare are mostly positive. Some of those who know him say he is a proponent of strong civilian-military relations and, according to one of the founding members of TPLF, Aregawi Berhe, he shows greater loyalty to constitutional principles than to individuals. “He is a formidable, farsighted and unwavering military man. I think he is good choice and he could contribute a lot for the country,” Aregawi told VOA Amharic.
Getachew Assefa, director of the National Intelligence and Security Services since 2001, has also been replaced. Getachew is a member of the TPLF politburo and a veteran of the struggle. He is succeeded by Adem Mohammed.
After the EPRDF took power in 1991, former TPLF fighters formed the core of a new high command. Samora replaced Tsadkan Gebretensae, also Tigrayan, in 2001 after a split within the TPLF.