Gobana Jama | March 28, 2014
Muktar was born in Jimma. He earned his first degree in Law from the Civil Service College (security) and his second degree in International Leadership from Azusa Pacific University in California in August of 2008.
Muktar joined the OPDO in the mid-1990s, and was appointed administrator of the Jimma Zone in 1999, serving in the post until 2003. Unlike, his predecessors, Muktar is not prisoner of war (POW), who formed OPDO, but awesome loyal and confidant to the late Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi. From 2008 to 2010 he served as Vice-President of the Oromia Region state and head of the office of the Ethipian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Font (EPRDF) council.
Under Meles Zenawi, Muktar enjoyed considerable influence especially after he was appointed to run the affairs of the prime minister’s office in 2010. He also joined the national security council at the time, a post that helped him to gain a great deal of knowledge and skill managing large operations that harassed millions.
Muktar is known as a politician of considerable will, and ego. He is an orator given to addressing mass meetings, and is one of few senior EPRDF figures who can communicate with the people. His biggest problem could come from OPDO where there are already two distinct factions, one supporting him, from Islamic areas and the other from largely Christian areas. Muktar was unpopular with the later faction for approving Wahabist groups to organize gatherings when he was vice minster of the Oromia region, a job with much influence in the party.
From 2012 to 2014 he was one of the country’s three deputy prime Ministers, serving with Debretsion Gebremichael and Demeke Mekonnen, considered “a loyal politician and trusted ally of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn” and he was appointed as minister for the civil service.
Now, Muktar is a personal confidant of a ruthless security chief, Dr. Debretsion Gebremichael, who is responsible for the disappearance of millions in Ethiopia. Debretsion is an architect of the security establishment in the country, inlcuding wire tapping technique, internet access limitations, depriving citizens rights, adopting torturing menus in prisons, etc. He is also reponsible for retardation of the country’s information technology growth. Ethiopia is far lower than the lawless coutnry, Somalia, when it comes to information technology growth.
Muktar will be closely watched by his boss, Dr. Debretsion, who will test him how he handles the relationship with OLF. The growing popularity of OLF, especially among youth, will consume his office. Will he negotiate or follow his predecessors’ hardline approach, who finally ended up in exile?
Muktar’s second problem is the rampant regional corruption within the Oromo communities, which was deliberately designed and created for divide and rule strategy by the TPLF. The third is the unresolved religion issues.
Observers say that Muktar will be another headless, puppet of Debretsion, who will exercise or apply his security knowledge and skill on innocent citizens. Any way time will tell whom he will be working for.