PM Abiy’s speech in Mekelle upsets his potential supporters



Abbay Media News
Yassin Ibrahim

The newly minted Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Dr Abiy Ahmed Ali, stopped over Mekelle as part of a country wide visit to introduce himself to the nation. His first stop was in Jijiga, the capital of Somali regional state on April 7, 2018. Even though PM Abiy’s speech in Jijigga was widely accepted, his embrace of the president of that region, Ali Abdulahi, known for his extreme cruelty on dissenters drew a lot of criticism from local, national and international human rights activists. PM Abiy, who was accompanied by the Deputy PM Demeke Mekonnen and Oromia’s President Lemma Megersa, addressed the audience in Amharic – the working language of the federal government.

His second stop on April 11, 2018 was in Ambo city of Oromia region where he received a warm welcome by tens of thousands admirers. Ambo is a city known for its fierce resistance to TPLF’s regime from the very beginning and for being the epicenter of the three years old uprising. The PM praised the Qeerroo for their struggle for justice  and credited them as the force behind his election. The Prime Minister was accompanied by the Deputy PM Demeke Mekonnen, Oromia’s President Lemma Megersa and, chairman of the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM), Shiferaw Shigute. The PM delivered his speech in Oromiffa – the official language of Oromia.

After his stop in Ambo and before he took off north, PM Abiy had dinner with opposition party leaders, activists, community and religious leaders and other officials on Thursday April 12, 2018.

On Friday, April 13, 2018, Prime Minister Abiy arrived in Mekelle – the capital of Tigray regional state. He delivered a speech in local language in which he paid tribute to deceased TPLF members including the late PM Meles Zenawi. His statement of equating Tigray as the engine of Ethiopia has disappointed many who had hoped he will end the northern dominance. For the past 26 years the political and economical power has been exclusively dominated by TPLF members, who by ethnic composition represent less than 6% of the population. Dr Abiy’s election gave hope to millions that the era of ethnic politics was over. But his speech in Mekelle showed more his loyalty to TPLF than the rest. The Prime Minister also talked about the question of Wolqayit and reduced it as a question of schools, electricity and water. He said the Wolqayit Amhara question is raised and fanned by the diaspora and is not the question of the people living in Wolqayit.

on Saturday April 14, 2018, PM Abiy Ahmed met thousands of youth, officials and diplomats at the Millennium Hall in Addis Ababa. His speech struck the same tone as his acceptance speech in the sense that it calls for unity and to focus on the present and future rather than looking backwards to the remote or recent past. Dr Abiy also met the Ethiopian business community on Monday April 16, 2018 at the Sheraton Addis.