10 Things You Didn’t Know About Ethiopia’s Mulatu Teshome
We don’t necessarily know everything there is to know about Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome, who took office in October 2013. Here are some facts we’ve been able to dig up — 10 things you didn’t know about Ethiopia’s Mulatu Teshome.
Sources: TigraiOnline.com, EthiopianReview.com, HornAffairs.com, AwrambaTimes.com, Wikipedia.org, SoDere.com
Mulatu Teshome is a member of the Oromo
The Oromo, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, also lays claim to Teshome’s two predecessors, Dr. Negasso Gidada and Girma Wolde-Giogis.
He pursued higher education abroad with a government-funded scholarship
Mulatu studied at Peking University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy of political economy and his doctorate in international law.
His degrees helped set him up for his later positions within the Ethiopian government
When he returned to Ethiopia in 1991, he served as the Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Cooperation, and later was appointed the Minister of Agriculture in 2001.
He is sometimes nicknamed “China’s old friend”
Due to the time he spent studying in China, Mulatu Teshome is considered to have very close ties to the country. Indeed, he spent more than 15 years there, and didn’t return to Ethiopia until 1991 at the age of 34 to begin his political career.
He has served as Ethiopia’s ambassador to several different countries
Before taking the presidential office, Teshome served as the Ethiopian Ambassador to China, Japan, Turkey, Thailand, and Australia at various points in his career.
Despite having been ambassador to Turkey for seven years, he can’t actually speak Turkish
Apparently that’s not in the job description. He did, however, speak Mandarin Chinese, which was undoubtedly useful during his time as the Ethiopian ambassador to China.
He beat out an Olympic medalist for the job
In addition to Mulatu Teshome, the joint session of the Houses of Peoples Representatives and the federation that decides Ethiopia’s presidential nomination was considering Addis Ababa Mayor Girma Deressa; Member of Parliament Dr. Asheber Woldegiorgis, and two-time Olympic gold medalist Haile Gebreselassie (a long distance track and road running athlete).
He is considered much more outgoing than many African political figures
Perhaps due to his time spent as an ambassador — jobs in which congeniality and personal relations are integral — Mulatu Teshome is considered much more outgoing and willing to speak openly than many other Ethiopian politicians, as well as leaders throughout Africa.
Mulatu’s son has dreams of following in his father’s footsteps
Reportedly, Mulatu’s only son once said, “I will go and study in China when I grow up and pursue my doctor’s degree at Peking University, just like you did.”
Teshome’s powers are largely those of a figurehead
As Ethiopia is a parliamentary republic, the president is largely a figurehead executive. Some powers are kept in reserve, as granted by the country’s constitution, but the bulk of the leadership is done by the prime minister’s cabinet.
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