Prime Minister Abiy and his surprising moves (Gizaw Legesse)
Ethiopian Prime minister Abiy Ahmed has surprised millions of Ethiopians this evening! As far as I know, EPRDF, the coalition of parties which Abiy is said to be leading, doesn’t have a habit of similar surprises in its nearly three decades rule.
According to government critics, the only way PM Abiy’s predecessors in the inner circle of the ruling coalition, have been using ‘surprise’ is when they arrest someone whom they think is a treat to the system. But, these days, the new PM seems to devote himself in surprising millions of Ethiopians repeatedly.
In an event organized by Mindset All Grand Ideas Convention at the Millennium Hall, in the capital Addis Ababa on Saturday evening, PM Abiy just appeared surprisingly, few minutes after his arrival from his official state visit at the gulf region. The person who was speaking before him Dr Mihret Debebe, organizer of the event, was saying “I will not talk more about vision because it is the topic of the next person.” Who would have thought the next person is the PM?
Because Abiy was in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi in the last couple of days (It was even a surprise for many Ethiopians that he was also seen at the Emirates – though the objective of that particular visit is yet to be disclosed officially.) We learned that 1000 prisoners are to be released from Saudi prisons.
In today’s speech he confirmed that the billionaire Mohammed al Amoudi will also be released. This person has an Ethiopian blood but a Saudi citizen; he is also one of the many defendants whom the prince arrested few months ago. He is the owner of multiple investments in Ethiopia – including the Midroc Gold Mines that is being accused of affecting the environment which led to a number of defective births and infertility on the community nearby.
And yet, PM Abiy said, “whatever questions/issues we may have with him, we will do that once he is here in his home country … he should not be left alone … he is also an Ethiopia.” (The translation may not be as it is – but the theme of the event was “I am Ethiopia” and the PM is saying that we should consider him as one element of Ethiopia and he should not be left alone in a strange country under such circumstances)
The surprises were countless. Abiy said forgiveness is a key matter for Ethiopia’s future. And he added that those sheltered in foreign Embassies in Ethiopia, in other countries, and everywhere should be forgiven and come to their homeland. He spoke about a number of things – it looks like a re-inauguration speech – and the crowed couldn’t stop showing approval and praise with applouding. He told them that the only resource Ethiopia has is her people and we must focus on utilizing that.
Respecting and recognizing the role of women, the fact that our youth must be visionary, and that all diaspora are very much welcomed and also are respectfully invited are just the few topics/visions he mentioned.
But most importantly, he emphasized the role of everyone – artists, media personnels, philosophers, scientists, doctors, religious leaders, elders, etc – while comparing their relation with the role of a politician/leader. He boldly said a leader should only lead the country while being led by religious fathers and mothers on moral issues. He also said a leader must not involve in roles that are meant to others.
In ‘simple’ terms, the PM talked about separation of power, rule of law, and all other social contract philosophies. (John Lock and Rousseau were all over the Millennium Hall.)
A few weeks ago, I wrote an Article in this website which accuses the promises of PM Abiy as ‘too good to be true’. That wasn’t with out reasons, because whatever he has promised mostly contradicts with what we know EPRDF is. His ideals are affiliated with liberal philosophy and EPRDF a set of revolutionary democrats who adhere Marxism. Hence, unless EPRDF itself is not EPRDF anymore, I have now almost reached to the conclusion that Abiy is not EPRDF. I know, it is none sense, but it is what I am feeling.
Just before and after he took the office, thousands of prisoners are released – all of them were arrested by EPRDF. Today the PM said “arresting is easy, releasing is the hard one. And if we don’t do the hard, it will be difficult to take one step as a country.”
I am saying all these even by not mentioning the fact that some old guards of EPRDF were let to be retired this week and many more is said to follow; the fact that the PM has shown humanity by visiting patients and even by advocating for remedies for Ethiopians miss-handled in foreign countries; and also the fact that he achieved the release of many Ethiopians imprisoned in Sudan and Kenya, in addition to Saudi Arabia (which he said today “in our visits, we didn’t ask for money. We asked them to release our people. When we are united and have all our people here at home, the money will come”).
Now, where is EPRDF? I only hope the PM is not playing us. Don’t blame me for saying this; we all have lived in doubts.