Demeke Mekonnen Hassen (Amharic: ደመቀ መኮንን?) is an Ethiopian politician who has been Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia since 2012.
Demeke was born in Gojjam province, and later was resettled to Chagni Woreda of the Agew Awi in Gojjam province when the Derg regime relocated people to resettle in other areas. Demeke was sent to a high school in Feres Bet, a small town located in Dega Damot Woreda in Mirab Gojjam Zone, off the main road from Addis Ababa to Bahir Dar. He taught biology in Feres Bet High School, for two years, before he was transferred to Bure town in the same province.
It was in Bure, which housed the lone high school in the area named after former governor of the region, Ras Bitwoded Mengesha Atikim, that Demeke met Alemitu Kassaye, a student of the high school at that time, and his future wife and mother of his three children.
His service terms have been as follows:
- Public Posts: Commissioner of Amhara Region Ethics & Anti-Corruption Commission;
- Head of Amhara Region Administrative & Security Affairs Bureau and Amhara Region Cabinet member( till – 2005);
- Vice President and Head of Capacity Building Bureau of Amhara Region (2005–2008);
- Minister of Education (2008 – present);
- Member of House of People’s Representatives (2010–present).
He joined the Addis Ababa University and studied Biology in the Arat Kilo campus and received his BA in 1988. After graduation, he returned to his native region to begin his career in teaching.
Demeke joined the ruling EPRDF in the early 1990s.
Demeke first took part in the national election held in 1995, and won a seat in the Amhara Regional Council, where he was appointed general secretary. In the middle of his term, he went to England to do his post graduate studies in conflict management. Upon his return, he was assigned to establish and lead the ethics and anti-corruption commission of the region.
He was then moved to head the administrative and security affairs bureau of the region, where he had served up until 2005. He was then promoted to the vice presidency of the regional state following the highly contested election in 2005, under the presidency of Ayalew Gobeze. A year later, he was elected to the executive committee of ANDM, a member of the EPRDF coalition formed in 1983, in Jerba Yohannes of Wag Himra Zone. Finally, he was elevated to the position of deputy chair of the party replacing Tefera Walwa; and in 2010 became the first non-combatant chairman of the ANDM, replacing Addisu Legesse.
It's alleged that he has little power as a Deputy Prime Minister, and thus spends most of his time attending ribbon cutting ceremonies for various public works. He is also criticized for not speaking out against the massive eviction of Amhara peasants from the southern regions of Ethiopia.