Eyesuswork Zafu, a prominent member of the Ethiopian business community and former president of both the Addis Ababa and Ethiopia Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations, was banned from entering the general assembly
meeting of the city chamber where president, vice president and board of directors were scheduled to be elected.
According to a letter addressed to the United Insurance Company SC, Eyesuswork, who had been legally appointed to represent the company in the meeting, has been banned from taking part in the general assembly or any other chamber meetings. However the letter, which was delivered one day before the election, was not accepted by the company, forcing an additional letter confirming that Eyesuswork was the only representative involved. Apparently the original letter written by the chamber governance made reference to a decision by the board of directors to ban the former chamber leader some 11 months earlier.
The events that led to the board's decision concerned Eyesuswork's protest to the chamber's general assembly on account of it not meeting the quorum, which according to Eyesuswork requires at least a 50 percent attendance out of the 10,000 and plus members of the chamber. However, the board countered by saying a minimum attendance of 500 members would constitute a quorum for the general assembly.
For instance, this year's attendance for the general assembly meeting was 889, not including the banned Eyesuswork. In fact, 740 of the participants were from the sectoral association, while a minority of 152 represented the chamber. Eyesuswork and a few others even went to the extent of appealing to the Ministry of Trade (MoT) last year, with the group submitting additional complaints this year.
Upon arrival Eyesuswork was banned from the entering the auditorium, creating quite a commotion at the gate. Finally, with mediation by Haile Gebresilassie and Gizeshwork Tessema (both members of the chamber), Eyesuswork managed to make it to the meeting. The first order of business was the presentation of the annual report by Ayalew Zegeye, the outgoing president of the chamber.
However, the incident with Eyesuswork was soon elevated to first on the agenda, and it slowly moved on to the issue of the legal quorum requirement of the chamber general assembly. Ayalew defended, arguing that the by-law of the chamber requires only 500 to attend the meeting. Without being given the right to speak at the meeting, Eyesuswork stormed out of the meeting that he had fought to enter earlier.