Meaza Ashenafi was appointed President of Ethiopia’s Supreme Court in November 2018. How is she faring?
As Meaza Ashenafiwas introduced to the stage at the LSE Africa Summit last month, the audience went wild with rapturous woops and applause. Here she was! The first ever woman to be Ethiopia’s Chief Justice! The founder of the Ethiopian Women Lawyers’ Association! The architect of Ethiopia’s first women’s bank! The justice crusader whose defence of a 14-year-old child bride was immortalised in the critically-quite-liked Angelina-Jolie-executive-produced 2014 film Difret!
As Ashenafi adjusted the mic, a smile on her face, the spectators settled down. A few looked at one another in giddy anticipation at hearing this giant of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s brave new Ethiopia speak. And then she started… quietly at first, and then a little louder, and then quieter again.