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BBC: Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed: The leader promising to heal a nation January 3, 2019

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed: The leader promising to heal a nation

BBC, 3 January 2019

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (C) greets a child as he arrives to welcome Eritrea's President at the airport in Gondar, nothern Ethiopia, on November 9, 2018

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been widely praised for introducing sweeping reforms aimed at ending political repression, writes BBC Africa editor Fergal Keane after visiting the country.

The crowd at the airport in Jimma in Ethiopia’s Oromia region was handpicked and universally rapturous.

But these were not the praise-singing party hacks who so often grace the arrivals and departures of powerful men in Africa.

Men and women, old, young and very young – beaming babies were held above the crowd – had gathered to witness the arrival of a political sensation.

“We are so very happy,” an elderly man shouted to me above the sound of the military band, “it is like a renaissance. We have waited so long for this.”

Shift from autocracy

Then Abiy Ahmed was among us, descending the steps of his plane to delighted cheers, testing the nerves of his security detail as he reached into the crowd to kiss a baby here, embrace an old man there.

I was conscious of an extraordinary fusion between the driven energy of an individual and the hope of a nation. Africa has rarely seen anyone like him.

Cheering supporters of PM Abiy
Image captionPro-democracy activists have welcomed the changes in Ethiopia

At 42 he is the youngest leader on the continent but his impact is far greater than his age suggests.

When the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition elected him prime minister nine months ago the country, Africa’s second largest in terms of population with more than 100 million people, shifted decisively from a long period of autocracy.

He ended a 20-year conflict with neighbouring Eritrea, freed thousands of political prisoners, unfettered the media and appointed women to half the cabinet posts.

Parliament also accepted his female nominees for president and head of the supreme court.

On top of that, he asked a dissident leader to return from exile in the United States to run the electoral commission.

Quote: Thousands, if not millions, of people paid [a heavy price] to see this kind of change in this country

The pace of change has delighted pro-democracy activists and thrown more reactionary elements off balance.

Fourteen years ago, Birtukan Mideksa spent 18 months in prison as leader of an opposition party before leaving for exile in the US.

She was as surprised as most observers when Mr Abiy invited her to return and chair the National Election Board.

“Thousands, if not millions, of people paid [a heavy price] to see this kind of change in this country… to see this opening,” Ms Birtukan told me.

“To have a former opposition leader, former dissident, to lead an institution with significant independence of action… means a lot.

“For those people who paid a price in the process, it’s really significant,” Ms Birtukan added.

‘Use ideas not weapons’

But change has inevitably emphasised the significant challenges still facing Mr Abiy.

When I caught up with him at a graduation ceremony for medical students in Jimma he appealed to them to “use ideas not weapons” and to follow the example of a nation like Japan, which recovered from World War Two to build a sophisticated economy.


Key facts: Abiy Ahmed

Abiy Ahmed
  • Born to a Muslim father and a Christian mother on 15 August 1976
  • Speaks fluent Afan Oromo, Amharic, Tigrinya and English
  • Joined the armed struggle against the Marxist Derg regime in 1990
  • Served as a UN peacekeeper in Rwanda in 1995
  • Entered politics in 2010
  • Briefly served as minister of science and technology in 2016
  • Became prime minister in April 2018

Ethiopia has one of the fastest growing economies in the world but still has a vast number of unemployed young people.

This is both a reservoir of potential talent and potential dissent if Mr Abiy’s moves to liberalise the economy and tackle corruption do not succeed swiftly.

The prime minister was addressing the graduates in Jimma against a backdrop of deepening ethnic conflicts across the country.

Ethiopia has more than 80 different ethnic groups.

The divisions are old and deep rooted, but they flared up with a new intensity in the first half of last year when 1.4 million people were forced to flee ethnic conflict in the west of the country, according to the UN.

Chart showing the ethnic make-up of Ethiopia

Overall, some 2.8 million people have been uprooted from their homes in recent years. The other major concern is the fighting on the borders of the Oromia and Somali regions.

Over decades, the central government used force and a whole battery of repressive legislation to quell ethnic unrest.

Predictably, this merely gave an impression of national cohesion while unaddressed grievances festered. They erupted into protest in 2016.

‘Steel in Abiy’s voice’

Demonstrations by members of the Oromo community – Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group – precipitated the resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and the election of Mr Abiy.

Mr Abiy is the first leader to come from the Oromo community but has stressed that he is a leader for all Ethiopians.

Map showing Ethiopia's regions

When I caught up with him in Jimma I asked if he was the man to unite an increasingly divided country.

He was being ushered away from the crowds by his guards but the question made him pause.

Looking around he caught my eye and shouted above the noise: “Of course I am. No doubt about it!” There was steel in the voice. And then the smile returned.

Last month, Mr Abiy established a reconciliation commission to deal with some of the issues.

This may provide an outlet for the airing of uncomfortable truths about the past but the greater challenge is the federal constitution which divides regional government along ethnic lines.

Respecting ethnic rights while fostering the idea of a nation will demand considerable political and legal sure-footedness.

Presentational grey line

Abiy’s reforms in 2018

Celebrations as border is reopened
Image captionPeople celebrated as the land border between Ethiopia and Eritrea was reopened
  • May – frees thousands of political detainees
  • June – lifts state of emergency
  • July – alongside the Eritrean president declares the end of war between the two nations
  • September – reopens land border with Eritrea
  • October – appoints women to half of ministerial posts
  • November – appoints ex-opposition leader to head electoral commission
Presentational grey line

In the Tigray region, in the north, there have been ominous stirrings.

Although Tigrayans compose only a small percentage of the population they dominated the previous government.

In recent months, prominent Tigrayans in the army, security services, as well as business figures, have been accused of human rights abuses and corruption.

Travelling in Tigray one frequently hears concerns about the alleged marginalisation of the once-powerful group.

Quote: "He represents the kind of tendency to gloss over things... to try to telescope decades into months, years, to rush things"

A former communications minister, Getachew Reda, told me he thought Tigrayans were being turned into scapegoats.

It was as if only Tigrayan leaders were responsible for past abuses under the ruling coalition, he said.

Although still calling himself a friend of Mr Abiy he believes the young leader risks creating a failed state.

“He symbolises the kind of ambition, the kind of courage to storm the heavens that youth would represent.

“But he also represents the kind of tendency to gloss over things, the kind of tendency to try to telescope decades into months, years… to rush things.”

For the moment Mr Abiy has the momentum and no shortage of energy.

Posters of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed are seen on a tuc-tuc in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on November 07, 2018
Image captionPrime Minister Abiy Ahmed plans to steer the nation to elections in 2020

Even in Tigray, the ordinary citizens I spoke to saw him as an inspirational figure.

Elsa Tesfaye is a small-holder farmer who lives close to the border with Eritrea and lost a brother to the war between the two nations.

For her Mr Abiy is the man who brought peace “and I thank him for that”.

‘Revivalist preacher’

She worries about ethnic divisions and whether her son – an engineering student – will be able to work in other parts of the country if the situation deteriorates.

“[The reforms] are great. But it still needs a bit of work. If ethnic conflict… and hate could be removed I would be satisfied.”

Mr Abiy is a devout Pentecostal Christian and there is something of the revivalist preacher in the way he evangelises for his vision. He has the energy, the passion and the certainty.

The question is whether he can prevent an escalation of conflicts without resorting to the repressive methods of the past, and maintain his reformist momentum up to the next elections in 2020.

Presentational grey line

Read more about Ethiopia’s reforms:

Presentational grey line

Before he left Jimma I managed to speak with Mr Abiy again.

He greeted me with a traditional embrace and kiss. This was Mr Abiy being the consummate politician.

The world should look at the example of Ethiopia, he told me, to see how people can live together in peace. Given the vast numbers of displaced it seemed more a statement of ambition than reflective of any current reality.

But on the central question of reform he was adamant.

“Would anything stop you?” I asked.

“Not at all,” he replied with a vehemence that left no room for doubt.

Related from Oromian Economist Sources:-

Abiy Ahmed: The Ethiopian Prime Minister who captured Africa’s imagination, CNN

Click here to read Analysis by Farai Sevenzo, CNN

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Oromia: KFOn Raayyaan Ittisa Biyyaafi hidhattoonni uummata keessaa faca’anii jiran akka dachaafaman gaafate January 3, 2019

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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KFOn Raayyaan Ittisa Biyyaafi hidhattoonni uummata keessaa faca’anii jiran akka dachaafaman gaafate

BBC Afaan Oromoo, Amajjii 2 Bara 2019

Haxaa KFO
Goodayyaa suuraaHaxaa KFO

Ibsa haala yeroo irratti baaseen paartiin Kongirasii Federaalawaa Oromoo (KFOn) Mootummaafi Addi Bilisummaa Oromoo waldhabdee gidduu isaanii jiru atattamaan furanii Raayyaan Ittisa Biyyaafi hidhattoonni uummata keessaa faca’anii jiran akka dachaafamaniif gaafate.

Waliigaltee qaamoleen kunneen gidduutti raawwatame uummanni akka beekuufi hojiirra akka ooluufis hubachiiseera ibsa isaa kanaan.

KFOtti Damee Liigii Dargaggootaatti Itti-gaafatamaan Sab-qunnamtii Obbo Addisuu Bullaalaa ibsa paartiin isaanii baase kana irratti BBC Afaan Oromootti akka himanitti, murni ykn jaarmiyaaleen adda addaa injifannoo qoodachuuf jecha akka hin taanetti karaa irraa waan maksaa jiraniif nutti dhaga’ama jedhan.

Dubbiii ijoon ibsa kana akka baasaniif isaan kakaases, “Haalli kun bayyee nu yaaddessa, uummanni keenya guddaan, nutis, paartiin keenyas gatii guddaa itti kaffaleera waan ta’eef kunuunfachuu qabna waan jennuufidha. Injifannoo arganne kanas cimsinee sirna ijaarrachuu qabna waan jennuuf ibsa kana baasne,” jedhan.

Qabsoon Oromoon waliin ta’ee tokkummaan yeroo bu’aa argamsiisuu jalqabe irraa kaasee karaa adda addaatiin uummata kana irratti bobba’amee jira jedhan Obbo Addisuun.

Uummata waliin jiraataa turre sabaafi sablammilee waliiti buusuudhaan saba kana buqqisuun, ajjeesuun, qabeenya isaa barbadeessuun waggoota darban keeessa deddeebiyee mul’achaa tueera jedhan Obbo Addisuun.

Isa sana jala dabarree gaafa jennu ammoo yeroo ammaa kana ifaafi ifatti mootummaan biyya kana bulchu raayyaa ittisa biyyaa akka hin taanetti uummata keessa sochoosaa jira kan jedhan Obbo Addisuun, kanaan alatti ammoo hidhattoonni karaa adda addaatiin uummata keessa faca’anii jiru.

“Waraana Adda Bilisummaa Oromoo haa ta’uutii ta’uullee haa dhiisuutii sana eger gargar bahuu danda’a. Garuu qaamni hidhate kamiyyu kan WBO haa ta’u kan raayyaa ittisa biyyaa yeroo uummata keessa deemanii walitti bu’an kan gidduutti miidhamu uumata haarsaa kaffalaa ture, qote bulaa, daa’imman, barattootaa, dubartootaafi jaarsoliidha,” kanadha.

Kanaaf kun sirrii waan hin taaneef humnoonni kunneen uummata keessa hidhattoota keessaa akka baasaniifi kaampiitti akka deebifatan gaafanneera jedhan.

Ibsi KFO kun dabalataan yeroo ammaa kana naannoo Oromiyaa bakka adda addaa keessatti walitti bu’insi Raayyaa Ittisa Biyyaafi hidhattoota gara garaa gidduutti mul’ate uummata goolaa akka jiru kaasee, fakkeenyaaf yeroo darbe Godina Gujii Lixaa ganda Fincaa’aa jedhamutti humni mootummaa kan itti shakkamu meeshaan guddaan dhukaafamee lubbuu namoota 13 galaafachuu addeessa.

Itti dabalees, hidhattoonni naannolee biroo gara naannoo Oromiyaa godina Wallaggaa, Boornaa, Gujiifi Harargee keessa seenuudhaan uummata Ororomoo ajjeesaa, saamaafi buqqisaa akka jiran qaamolee adda addaa dabalatee mootummaanis amaneera.

Uummanni Oromoo injifannoo aarsaa guddaan argate eeggachuuf sababii walitti bu’insaa kaniif tikfachuufi firii isaalle dhamdhamachuu dadhabuu qofa osoo hin taane, isa itti aanu kallattiii qabsoo misoomaafi guddinaatti ce’uuf gufatee uummanni boo’ichaafi gadadoo biraatiif saaxilameera jedha ibsichi. Caalaatti as tuqaatii BBC Afaan Oromoo irraa dubbisaa

More from Oromian Economist sources:-

 Mootummaa Itoophiyaatiif Waamicha Godhe!

Uummati Oromoo injifannoo aarsaa guddaan argate sababa walitti bu’insa haaraa ABO fi Mootummaa gidduutti dhalateetiin injifannoosaa eeggaachuu fi tifkachuu akkasumas firiisaa dhandhamachuu dadhabu qofa utuu hin taanee, isa itti aanutti kallattii qabsoo misoomaa fi guddinaatti ce’uun gufatee ummati keenya booyichaa fi gadadoo biraatiif saaxilamuun isa gadda guddatu nutti dhage’ameera. Keessattu dhiya Oromiyaa godinalee Wallaga afranii fi kibba Oromiyaa godinalee Gujii fi Booranaatti gochi dhiyeenya kana raawwatamee ammas aarsaa biraatiif kan nu affeeruu fi qisaasama Hawaasi-Diinagdee nutti fidu kan dande’uusa ni amanna. Rakkoolee asiin olitti caqafaman akka itti hin fufnee fi kan caalutti akka hin galleef KFOn tarkaanfii asii gadi hatattaamaan akka fudhatamu waamicha godha.

1. Mootummaa fi Addi Bilisummaa Oromoo waldhabdee isaan gidduu jiru hatattaamaan furanii Raayyaa Ittisa Biyyaa fi Hidhattoota uummata keessa faca’anii jiran akka uummata keessaa dachafatanu cimsee gaafata. Waliigalteen qaamolee kunneen gidduutti raawwatame ummati akka beeku fi hojiirras akka oolu ni hubachiifna.

2. Mootummaan Federaalaa hidhattoota kutalee biraa irraa naannoo Oromiyaa seenanii uummata ajjeesaa, saama fi buqqisa turani fi jiranu akka dhaabsisu cimsinee gaafanna.

3. Hawaasooti Itiyoophiyaa, qaamoleen amantaa, maanguddooti biyya fi addunyaa rakkoo ummataa keessa jiru hubatanii qaama furmaataa fi araaraa akka ta’anu kabajan gaafanna.

4. Mootummaaleen naannoo Oromiyaa fi federaalaa akkasuma haawasi biyya keessaa fi biyya alaa lammiilee buqqa’anii fi saamamaniif deeggarsaa akka godhanu maqaa ummata miidhamaniin ni gaafanna.

5. Qeerroon uummata Oromoo akkuma asiin duraa eennuyyuu odoo hin loogiin uummata isaa cina dhaabbatee injifannoo aarsaa isaatiin argame akka tiksu adaraa jechuun waamicha goona.

6. Mootummaan Itiyoophiyaa uummata humnaan bulchuun faallaa dimookiraasii ta’uunsa akkuma beekamu ta’ee, mootummaan kun rakkoo biyya kanaa qophaa hiiku akka hin dandeenye beeke paartii taayita irra jiru dabalatee qaamoleen dhimmi ilaalu hundii kan keessatti qooda fudhatu Mootummaan Waliigalaa Biyyoolessa (National Consensus Government) akka hundeeffamu irra deebinee ni gaafanna.

Kongireesii Federaalawaa Oromoo (KFO)
Finfinnee: Muddee 23, 2011