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Chatham House Prize: Abiy Ahmed is nominated for his efforts to transform civic leadership and advance plural politics and free speech in Ethiopia, as well as for ending decades of hostility with Eritrea, progressing gender equality and injecting hope for a more peaceful and integrated Horn of Africa. July 20, 2019

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Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Abiy Ahmed is nominated for his efforts to transform civic leadership and advance plural politics and free speech in Ethiopia, as well as for ending decades of hostility with Eritrea, progressing gender equality and injecting hope for a more peaceful and integrated Horn of Africa.

Abiy Ahmed

Within months of coming to power, Abiy Ahmed sought to rehabilitate Ethiopia’s decades-old authoritarian regime – releasing thousands of political prisoners, decriminalizing opposition groups and initiating reforms to repressive laws. He also appointed a gender-balanced cabinet along with the country’s first female head of state and first female president of the supreme court. Under Abiy, Ethiopia has moved from being one of the world’s worst jailers of journalists to a country with growing press freedom.

The prime minister’s swift action to bring about peaceful relations with Eritrea paid immediate dividends, bringing neighbouring countries into the fold and boosting plans for regional integration. The speed at which he opened civic space and moved to dismantle the politics of animosity and suspicion in the sub-region has been striking given Ethiopia’s entrenched political, security and economic challenges. He has fostered optimism about his potential to help develop good governance and effect positive change in national, regional and global affairs.

Abiy Ahmed’s dramatic appearance on the political scene in 2018, and the once unimaginable achievements registered within such a short period, make him a source of hope for the youth in Ethiopia and throughout Africa, the youngest continent in the world. He has become one of the new faces of African leadership – one that promotes ethical leadership, rights and freedoms, despite the risks this incurs, and his actions deserve recognition on the international stage.

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Chatham House Prize 2019 Nominees19 July 2019

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አንተ አልቻልክም: አዎ አንተ አትችልም!በሰይፍ መቅላት፣ረግጦ መግዛት… April 13, 2019

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#አንተ_አልቻልክም ::

አዎ አንተ አትችልም!
በሰይፍ መቅላት፣
ረግጦ መግዛት…. አልቻልክም፤
አንተ እጅ መቁረጥ፣
እግር መንሳት.. አልቻልክም፤
ዘር ማጥፋት፣
ደሃን መግፋት…. ፈጽሞውኑ አልቻልክም፤
የኔን ተቀበል ያንተን ወዲያ ጣል፤
በአንተ ወርቅ እኔ ልድመቅ ማለት፤
ምን በወጣህ አንተ አትችልም፤
ስለዚህ አንተ አልቻልክም::
ጀግናን በስቅላት፣ ገሎ ለጅብ መስጠት
40 ምሁር ከወደቁበት አንስቶ ማክበር እንጂ 60 ምሁር ባንዴ መቅበር እንዴት ይቻልሃል? አትችልም!
ለመላው አፍሪካ መስራት እንጂ ምስኪኑን የኤርትራ ህዝብ መውጋት አይሆንልህም::
ማስታረቅ እንጂ ማራራቅ፤
ወንድም ህዝብ ደም ይፍሰስ አትልም!
ስለዚህ አልቻልክም::
የእናቶችን እንባ ማበስ እንጂ የራሔልን እንባ ማፍሰስ፤
የልጅ እሬሳ ላይ አስቀምጦ በሰደፍ አናቷን ማፍረስ፤
አንተ አይሆንልህም አመድ አፋሽ ቢያረጉህም::
የችሎታ ስሌቱ ይሄ ለሆነ ህዝብ አንተ አትችልም::
በቃ አትችልማ!!!
ሞታቸውን የሚጠባበቁትን ከእስር ለቀሃል::
ስለዚህ አልቻልክም:: ምክንያቱም ጀግንነት ለእነሱ መግደል ነዋ!
የተበተኑትን ከአለም ዙርያ ሰብሰበሃል፤
በፍቅር አቅፈህ አብረህ አልቅሰሃል፤
ያለመዱትን? የማያዉቁትን?
ስለሆነም አልቻልክም::
ለአህያ ማር እየሰጠህ አስቸግረሃል፤
አህያ የለመደችው ሳር እንጂ ማር አይጥማትም፤
ስለዚህ ችሎታ ይጎለሃል::
ፒንሳ የልህም፣ የሃይላንድ ዉሃ የለህም፤
የምድር ስር ጉድጓድ፣ጫለማ ቤት የለህም፤
ማስፈራርያ አውሬ የለህም፤
ሽንት የምትሸና የመብራቱ ልጅ የለችህም፤
ታዲያ ችሎታህ ምኑ ጋር ነው???
ሚድያውን ማፈን፣ የባለጌን አፍ መድፈን፤
እጅግ ተስኖሃል:: ስለዚህ አንተ ሳትቀር ባደባባይ ይሰድቡሃል::
ያሻቸውን ይጽፋሉ ይናገራሉ፤ሲሻቸው ይሰለፋሉ፤ ሲሻቸው ይሸልላሉ(አንተምላይ ሳይቀር)
“ሰማይ አይታረስ ንጉስ አይከሰስ ” ሲል ለኖረ ሰው፤
ለገዢዎች የአምልኮ ስግደት ሲሰግድ ለኖረ ህዝብ፤
የአጋዚን ዱላ ለጠገበ ሰውነት ይሄ እንዴት ይሰማሟል???
ስለዚህ አትችልም ይለሃል::
እጅ መንሻ ሲሰጥ ለኖረ ጉቦ ለለመደ፤
ሌባ ይጥፋ ስትል ሀገሩን የካደ፤
ባዕድ ነው ለሱ፣ የችሎታ ማነስ፣ ባህሉን የናደ::
እሱ ችሎት ለኖረው አንተ ምን አነካከህ?
ከባለቤቱ ያወቀ ቡዳ ነው እየሞተ ያገኛታል መተው ነበረብህ::
እኔ ልንገርህ ዶ/ር አብይ አንተ አትችልም!
ብዙ ሚሊዮን ህዝብ መምራት እንጂ ብዙ ሚሊዮን እብድ መንዳት አትችልም!
via OJA

BBC: Letter from Africa: Africa’s history makers in 2018 December 26, 2018

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Letter from Africa: Africa’s history makers in 2018

BBC, 26 December 2018

Screen grab of PM doing press-ups
Image captionEthiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed got soldiers who had threatened him to do press-ups

In our series of letters from African writers, Ghanaian journalist Elizabeth Ohene looks back at some of the big events on the continent in 2018.

It has been a year where one is tempted to invoke the “always something new out of Africa” theory.

It is not every day you have a prime minister leading a group of soldiers into doing press-ups, particularly not when the armed soldiers had tried to force their way into the compound of the prime minister to protest against unpaid wages.

It is the type of scenario that used to end up in coups in the old days.

But Abiy Ahmed has been doing the seemingly impossible ever since he unexpectedly became prime minister of Ethiopia in April.

He is 42-years-old, and currently Africa’s youngest leader.

Quote: In diplomatic relations, the prime minister did the equivalent of making the sun rise from the west

There is nothing predictable about the man and how he has set about doing his job.

Ethiopia had been seen by critics as an authoritarian state that brushed off criticism and remained an implacable foe to neighbour Eritrea.

But within a few months of taking office, Mr Abiy had lifted the state of emergency, released thousands of political prisoners, allowed dissidents to return home and unblocked hundreds of websites and TV channels.

Peace with long-time foe

Just as people were digesting the dizzying changes on the domestic front, the prime minister, in the sphere of diplomatic relations, did the equivalent of making the sun rise from the west.

He ended the state of war with Eritrea by agreeing to give up disputed border territory thereby normalising relations with the long-time foe.

The new president standing with the prime miniser
Image captionSahle-Work Zewde is Ethiopia’s ceremonial head of state, while Abiy Ahmed (r) holds political power

This came in an unexpected visit to the Eritrean capital, Asmara, and publicly holding hands with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki to declare the end of the two-decade old war.

Women in power

Flights and telephone communications have been restored and there has been an outbreak of love between the two nations that has stunned the world.

And if anyone thought there had been enough surprises, in October, Mr Abiy appointed women to half of all cabinet posts.

If that does not sound impressive enough, there were other changes. Ethiopia now has a female president (Sahle-Work Zewde), a female head of the Supreme Court (Meaza Ashenafi), a female head of the electoral commission (Birtukan Mideksa), and the official spokesperson of the government is a woman (Billene Aster Seyoum).

South Africa was another country which saw a major change of leadership, but the optimism that came with the accession of Cyril Ramaphosa to the presidency has fizzled out. |Click here to read the full text at BBC

Ethiopia’s New Leader Relies on Support from Youth November 3, 2018

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7 million strong freedom-loving #Oromo have converged onHulluuqoo Kormaa, Dirree Masqalaa (Meskel Square) in Finfinnee to welcom OLF leaders, 15 sept. 2018#OromoProtests, Oromo students movement for freedom

Ethiopia’s New leader Relies on Support from Youth

Reuters


They were tortured for their political beliefs. They saw friends shot dead by security forces. They were forced to cut their hair and give up other cultural traditions. This year, they say, they caused a revolution.

Young men from Ethiopia’s Oromo, the country’s largest ethnic group, proudly declare “we won” when describing their role in the rise of 42-year-old reformer Abiy Ahmed, also an Oromo, to become prime minister.

Across the Oromiya region, many of those young men claiming victory now want Abiy to deliver – and fast. The “Qeerroo”, an Oromo term meaning “bachelor” adopted by politically active young men, are demanding answers.

Will there be justice for friends who died during strikes and protests over the past three years? Will their rights as Oromos be respected? When will Abiy’s pledges of change help their impoverished communities?

Whether Abiy can answer those demands without favouring his home region over the rest of the country will dictate whether the young men remain an asset to him or become a dangerous liability. Before he came to power, the Oromo youths had already demonstrated they could shut down parts of the country with protests and strikes, and that pressure on the ruling EPRDF culminated in the resignation of Abiy’s predecessor in February.

Even as they celebrate Abiy, the Oromo youth are still frustrated with life under the EPRDF, a one-time Marxist-Leninist movement which has controlled nearly every aspect of Ethiopians’ lives since seizing power 27 years ago.

Frustration has spilled into violence. In September, Oromo youths were reported by Amnesty International to have carried out deadly mob attacks on other ethnic groups near Addis Ababa. Police said 28 died.

Elsewhere in Oromiya, young men are starting to challenge the state. They want local officials sacked and have booed them out of rallies.

“I appreciate Abiy for the reform he brought, and blame him for not removing those corrupt and evil killers from their positions and bringing them to court,” said unemployed accountant Dambal Dejene, 26, at a rally in the town of Woliso.

Abiy became prime minister in April after the EPRDF decided reforms were essential for its survival.

His appointment was a small step towards breaking the power of the Tigrayan elite who have controlled the state since they took power in 1991 and founded the EPRDF as a coalition with other ethnic political parties.

Youths wearing traditional Oromo costumes attend an Oromo Liberation Front rally asked what they want from the government, more than a dozen young Oromo men told Reuters:

“Freedom.”

“No more torture.”

“Justice.”

“Economic opportunity. Jobs.”

“End to corruption and unfair land deals.”

“Respect for our culture. Dignity.”

“Democracy.”

“Free and fair elections.”

A man wearing traditional Oromo costume rides a horse during an Oromo Liberation Front rally.

Abiy announced reforms several months ago but these have stalled in part due to a spike in ethnic violence.

More than one million people have been forced to flee their homes since Abiy took office. In the most serious violence, Oromo communities have clashed with other groups.

Acknowledging a breakdown of the rule of law, the EPRDF said last month: “Anarchy is witnessed in the country.” In a speech to parliament, Abiy said: “Lawlessness is the norm these days. It is something that is testing the government.” He has reshuffled his cabinet and formed a “Ministry of Peace”.

Gelana Emana (right), 36, the leader of a group of politically active youth from the Oromo ethnic group, sits in a cafe with fellow activists Alemu Kumarra (center), 26, and Dinaol Dandaa, 27.

Some young Oromos seem emboldened to settle old ethnic scores, said Felix Horne, Ethiopia researcher at Human Rights Watch.

“Since Abiy came to power, things have changed,” he said. “The ethno-nationalist narrative is much more dominant than it used to be … a lot of the young Oromos are not willing to take ‘second place’,” Horne said.

“The youth have already shown that they can be very influential. How they choose to be influential is an important question,” said a senior western diplomat in Addis Ababa. “Their support, or non-support, for the reform agenda will directly impact how quickly and how well the reform agenda succeeds.”

Abiy’s chief of staff, Fitsum Arega, did not respond to requests for comment.

A spokesman for Abiy’s political party said changes were needed at the grassroots.

“Anyone who was slapping you, shouting at you, seeing that face may dissatisfy the people. We feel it,” said Taye Dendea, public affairs head for the Oromo Democratic Party.

He requested patience from the youths while the ruling coalition implements change.

Magarsa Kanaa teaches in his classroom.

But like many young Oromos, Magarsa Kanaa, a 28-year-old teacher, said he is still very upset at the crimes committed by security forces against his friends.

He named one who was shot dead at a protest last year, and said he and other young men “are starting a committee to seek justice for him and other guys”.

Magarsa Kanaa stands on a hill.

Proud to be wearing his hair in an Afro, he spoke bitterly of how the government had not allowed Oromos to practice their culture. Men his age, he explained, like to wear their hair in the shape of the “Odaa”, the Oromo word for the sycamore tree that is significant as the site of rituals and meetings to resolve disputes.

Instead, he said: “We were forced to cut our hair.”

Activist Jawar Mohammed promotes an “Oromo first” ideology. Click here for the images

The 32-year-old with 1.4 million Facebook followers returned to Ethiopia in August from the United States. He told Reuters that although he used social media to coordinate Oromo youths in strikes and protests, he also “built a solid ground network” in every town in the region. Jawar is the movement’s hero.

“Jawar Mohammed is my pride,” said Dambal, the accountant. “He took the Oromo struggle to the next level. We were lacking someone to lead the youth … he made us line up all together all over Oromiya and win.”

Interviewed in a villa in Addis Ababa surrounded by bodyguards provided by the government, Jawar justified Oromo nationalism: “When the state particularly represses an ethnic identity, you are forced to defend it.”

But his “Qeerroo” are disciplined, he said, and will stick to non-violent resistance.

At a rally in the town of Kemise, north of the capital, Jawar told thousands of young men chanting “Qeerroo’s Father is here!”: “Obey Abiy. Don’t be emotional in order to help the reforms.” But on social media, his language is often less restrained.

Speaking to Reuters, he argued that Ethiopia is experiencing a “promising and terrifying” moment where the “power of the people” is rising and the state’s legitimacy has collapsed.

“People power” – particularly from the Oromo – is a strength for Abiy, but rebuilding and controlling the state is an urgent problem, Jawar said.

“If (Abiy) doesn’t move quickly to take full control of state power, so that he can use it to answer some of the demands of the youth … these people will turn against him.

“They think this is their government … So it’s just a ticking time bomb. We’ve gotta move fast,” he said, referencing elections that are due in 2020. He said Abiy “has good intentions, but he has no plan, no deadline.”

Older Oromo politicians agree.

“The youth moved the struggle we have been undertaking for the last 50 years one step forward,” said Merera Gudina, 62, leader of the Oromo Federalist Congress. “The PM makes a lot of promises. If he cannot walk his talk, then he’ll face the youth, definitely.”

Ethiopia: Millions of people gathered at Hulluuqo kormaa (Meskel square), in Finfinnee (Addis Ababa) and across the country to take part in a peaceful solidarity rally in support of PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed’s reform agenda. #March4Abiy #AbiyAhmed #Ethiopia #OromoProtests June 23, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

Millions have gathered at Hulluuqo kormaa (Meskel square), in Finfinnee (Addis Ababa)  to take part in a peaceful solidarity rally in support of PM Abiy Ahmed's reform agenda. #March4Abiy  #Ethiopia #OromoProtests ,n 23 June  2018.png

OMN Finfinnee: Gabaasa hiriiraa deeggarsaa (Wax2018)

Millions of people gathered at Hulluuqo kormaa (Meskel square), in Finfinnee (Addis Ababa) and across the country to take part in a peaceful solidarity rally in support of PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed’s reform agenda. #March4Abiy #AbiyAhmed #Ethiopia #OromoProtests

Millions have gathered at Hulluuqo kormaa (Meskel square), in Finfinnee (Addis Ababa)  to take part in a peaceful solidarity rally in support of PM Abiy Ahmed's reform agenda. #March4Abiy #AbiyAhmed #Ethiopia #OromoProtests.png

 

Millions have gathered at Hulluuqo kormaa (Meskel square), in Finfinnee (Addis Ababa)  to take part in a peaceful solidarity rally in support of PM Abiy Ahmed's reform agenda. #March4Abiy  #Ethiopia #OromoProtests on 23 June  2018.png

Millions have gathered at Hulluuqo kormaa (Meskel square), in Finfinnee (Addis Ababa) to take part in a peaceful solidarity rally in support of PM Abiy Ahmed's reform agenda. #March4Abi

Dozens injured in a deadly blast at a support rally for Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Ahmed, OP

 

AMHARIC PROGRAMOMN: ሰበር ዜና (LIVE) Jun 2, 2018

MM Abiy Ahimad: ‘Yaadni hammeenyaa keessan isiiniif hin milkoofne’, BBC Afaan Oromoo