Ethiopia: Who and what is behind the Oromia crisis – a view from Abiy’s camp

In Ethiopia, opposition activists accuse Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government of trying to reassert central control over Oromia and dismissing their campaign for cultural rights and linguistic rights – at stake is the future of country’s proclaimed system of ethnic federalism.


Readers please note – this is a strongly opinionated piece written in support of Premier Abiy Ahmed’s government. The Africa Report welcomes alternative viewpoints, as well as responsible and lively debate about the points raised in this piece and on all other critical issues in Africa.
Bekele Birhanu is the nom de plume of a senior official in the federal government in Addis Abba, Ethiopia. He/she is writing in a personal capacity but will respond to any correspondence through this email address:

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power heralding an era of change, openness and freedom. His ascent to power in Ethiopia, the second most populous country in Africa, was welcomed by all those who desired change.
Although Abiy came from the political front that has ruled Ethiopia for the 27 years, his assumption of power marked an end of an era. His relative youth, charm and vision aptivated the imagination of millions. Upon assuming power, he used his pulpit as head of government to preach unity, reconciliation and forgiveness.

Concrete changes
His message of solidarity and coming together was encapsulated in his catchword “medemer” which he elaborated in a book, laying out his governing philosophy and vision.
Abiy Ahmed’s oratory was accompanied by action. Under his leadership, more than 40,000 political prisoners were freed, political organizations previously outlawed were allowed to operate and exiled dissidents were welcomed back.

The Prime Minister reshuffled his cabinet and achieved gender parity. Such critical portfolios as the Ministry of Defence, the Office of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Peace (the ministry overseeing the Federal Police and National Intelligence and Security Service) were held by women.
Both the federal judiciary and the National Electoral Board are also headed by women lawyers with a track record of advocacy for women’s rights and democracy

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