Ethiopia: New PM pledges reform

Abiye Ahmed the new Prime Minister of Ethiopia has promised new democratic reforms and put an end to the three-year-old unrest which first started from his home province Oromiya. Abiye Ahmed has been the choice of the ruling coalition Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) in replacement of Hailemariam Desalegn who had resigned to allow for reforms in the second most populous nation of Africa.

Abiye who is also a former lieutenant general did warm up to the opposition after taking the oath but made no mention about lifting the emergency which has been in place since the resignation of Hailemariam in February. Abiye welcomed the peaceful power transfer and reiterated the fact that democracy is based on civil and economic rights and all need a platform to voice their concerns. He also raised concerns about the need for ethnic unity.

The nation has been plagued by violence since 2015 primarily due to sidelining of the Oromiya population which comprise one-third of the Ethiopian population. EPRDF has been in power since it took over from the Derg military government in 1991. Ever since the Oromiya unrest has been the biggest challenge to the rule.

The opposition is hopeful the new PM will emphasize on mending ties and improve relations with other ethnic groups who have serious concerns about the governance. The representatives from Oromiya have welcomed the new PM from the ethnic group which had been at the centre of unrest. The opposition has also called for the scrapping of laws which have criminalised any form of dissent and has allowed indiscriminate arrests of many thousands of people in addition to killing hundreds. They have also asked for the lifting of laws which bars the work of NGOs.

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