IGAD new Executive Secretary Dr Workneh Gebeyehu on Friday, November 29, officially took over from Mahboub Maalim during the opening of the heads of state summit in Addis Ababa Ethiopia.
The former Ethiopia Foreign Affairs Minister was appointed in October by PM Abiy Ahmed.
Dr Gebeyehu expressed his readiness to serve the region for peace, prosperity and regional integration.
‘I’ll build on my predecessor’s momentum and contribute to the revitalisation of IGAD with the new Treaty and the organisational structure to be endorsed today in view of the IGAD Summit of tomorrow,” Dr Gebeyehu said during the opening of the Ordinary Council of Ministers.
During the opening of the heads of state and government, PM Abiy, who is also the IGAD chairman, welcomed Dr Gebeyehu as the new executive secretary and wished him good luck in discharging his duties.
Foreign Affairs CS Monica Juma represented President Uhuru Kenyatta, while CAS Ababu Namwamba represented the former.
The Summit adopted a new IGAD structure as Sudan took over the chairmanship of the regional organisation. The structure review, Namwamba said, intends to make IGAD more responsive to regional challenges.
Diplomatic sources had last month confided to The Brief that the Executive Secretary position desperately wanted by Somalia and Djibouti, who were against an Ethiopian taking over, and said Gebeyehu’s appointment was a unilateral decision by Ethiopia.
They argued the signing of the letter appointing Gebeyehu was unprocedural as it should have been preceded by the Summit in which a communiqué as to which country becomes the new chair and as to who becomes the new IGAD Executive Secretary is agreed on.
The two wanted the successor to be appointed based on a rotational basis as Kenya and Ethiopia have dominated the Igad leadership for more than a decade.
Gebeyehu was reportedly told to wait for official confirmation from the Igad Summit, although he has been in office since the start of the month.