PM Abiy’s first 100 days in Office

27 Jul 2018

Spurred by the mandate he had received from the ruling coalition, Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), to embark on a rectification course of action and to usher in reforms, Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed went straight into action. Since his election by the customary parliamentary vote on 2ndApril, he has motivated Ethiopians with his catchphrase, “Medemer,” which soon became the mantra of millions of Ethiopians who espouse the cause of the revitalisation of Ethiopian unity. “Medemer” – Amharic for togetherness – is not so much an ideology as an attitude, which holds that it is possible to change human nature; it offers the opportunity for Ethiopians to forgive past misdeeds, for the sake of the common good.

Crowds gather at Meskel Square for PM Abiy’s historic rally of Love and Forgiveness

In a manner and style seldom seen and much liked by the public, the Prime Minister embarked on a whistle-stop tour to Regional States where he called on Ethiopians to close ranks so that “Ethiopia’s unity in diversity can flourish in an environment of durable peace and stability.” In tandem with his speaking engagements in regional capital cities, the Prime Minister was quick to implement one of EPRDF’s recent pledges. The release of hundreds of prisoners was welcomed warmly by the people of Ethiopia as well as Ethiopia’s international development partners.

No sooner had the Prime Minister completed his speaking tour of Ethiopia’s Regional States than he set out to visit Ethiopia’s neighbours: Sudan, Kenya, Djibouti, Egypt and Somalia, where he apprised the leaders of the smooth transition of power which had taken place in Ethiopia as well as his administration’s commitment to further enhance bilateral and regional relations. At Uganda’s National Heroes Day on 9thJune, President Yoweri Museveni made Prime Minister Abiy a Member of “The Most Excellent Order of the Pearl of Africa.”

PM Abiy with Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta

At meetings at the Office of the Prime Minister with businessmen, young people and a large contingent of Ethiopia’s academics, Dr Abiy expressed EPRDF’s regret for past errors, and echoed the ruling party’s renewed commitment to usher in a rectifying course of action, so that the momentum of growth and transformation is maintained.

In a significant departure from EPRDF’s previous stand, the Prime Minister also announced EPRDF’s commitment to part-privatise state-owned enterprises such as Ethiopian Airlines, Ethio-Telecom and Ethiopian Electric Power. This economic policy has already attracted great interest nationally and internationally. An ad hoccommittee of the wise has been set up to ensure that the process of part-privatising state-owned enterprises is carried out above-board and in a transparent manner.

The Government’s declaration to unconditionally accept the Algiers Agreement on the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and Dr Abiy’s historical visit to Eritrea in early July, which was reciprocated by President Isaias Afewerki’s State visit to Ethiopia a week later, must surely be the apogee of the Prime Minister’s first 100 days.

Road and air transport, and telecommunication links were restored between Ethiopia and Eritrea after 20 years, and Eritrea has expressed its readiness to allow Ethiopia access to the Port of Assab.

PM Abiy and President Isaias sign the historic Joint Declaration of  Peace and Friendship between Ethiopia and Eritrea

Next in Prime Minister Abiy’s speaking itinerary was the United States of America – home to the largest Ethiopian diaspora – where he borrowed one of former-President John F. Kennedy’s phraseologies: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country!” to encourage thousands of Ethiopians in Washington DC, Los Angeles and Minneapolis to be part of Ethiopia’s revival.

The Prime Minister’s first 100 days in office have been hectic and peripatetic, but they have surely ushered in a rapprochement with Eritrea after 20 years, and hope of a bright future for Ethiopians after nearly three years of unrest in parts of Ethiopia.

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