Ethiopia names anti-Tigray general as new ambassador to Kenya

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General Bacha Debele

Ethiopia has named a military general who has been the face of the war against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front as the new ambassador to Kenya.

General Bacha Debele will take over from Meles Alem-Tekea, the career diplomat who had served in Nairobi since 2019, having started at the station in a junior capacity.

Gen Bacha was on a list released on Thursday by the Foreign Affairs ministry of appointments of ambassadors and deputy heads of missions to 29 countries.

They were appointed by President Sahle-Work Zewde two months ago to countries like Kenya, Egypt, the US and Eritrea.

The post in Nairobi is significant in deploying a military man who had been battling the TPLF forces since 2020, and often spoke for the operations in public appearances. Nairobi has been calling for both parties to choose dialogue and ceasefire. It will be interesting how relations will turn, given Kenya’s plea for the sides to negotiate for peace.

After the outbreak of the Tigray conflict, General Bacha served as the Chief of Army Staff at the Ministry of Defence and was promoted to the rank of general early in January this year.

He was among four senior military officers promoted to generals by the President following their nomination by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

But, Gen Bacha’s posting details following the promotion were not disclosed until Thursday, when the Foreign Affairs ministry revealed he would be heading to Kenya. Workalemahu Desta will deputise him.

Other appointments include Dr Sileshi Bekele, who had served as the Minister of Water, Energy and Irrigation, who will now head Ethiopia’s mission in the United States.

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