“We are now on the path of change and love,” Abiy Ahmed said, appealing for patience from the residents of Ambo town, 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of the capital Addis Ababa.
AMBO (AFP)―Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed paid a visit to the town of Ambo town, a hotbed of anti-government protests, on Wednesday, asking residents for patience as he works to bring change to the Horn of Africa country.
Abiy is the first prime minister to come from Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group the Oromo, who spearheaded more than two years of unprecedented protests against the country’s one-party government that left hundreds dead.
In the university town of Ambo — a flashpoint for the protest movement — Abiy Ahmed was welcomed by dozens of horsemen adorned in traditional Oromo attire and cheering crowds, composed of the same young people who made up the ranks of the protesters.
Speaking just over a week after his inauguration to a surging crowd of thousands that police struggled to restrain, Abiy hailed the protesters, known as Qeerroo, as the “shield of the Oromo people”.
“We are now on the path of change and love,” Abiy said, appealing for patience from the residents of Ambo town, 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of the capital Addis Ababa.
“I ask you to give us time … to take organized action,” he said.
“We want to work hand-in-hand with you. What we say and what we do must match.”
– Breaking tradition –
The direct appeal to protesters stood in stark contrast to the situation in Ambo a year ago, when protesting students so feared voicing their opinions in public that they would only meet with journalists in an empty field outside of town.
“This is the first time the most powerful person in Ethiopia visited Ambo. The other leaders didn’t like to visit because they were afraid. He broke that tradition,” said Ambo resident Almaz Bulcha.
A 42-year-old former minister of science and technology, Abiy rose to prominence as part of a group of Oromo politicians within the all-powerful Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), who reached out to the protesters.
He was chosen to lead the party, which has been in power for 27 years, after former prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced in February that he would step down, a surprise move that analysts believe was partially driven by his inability to quell the anti-government sentiment.
Continue reading “Ethiopia PM asks protesters for patience as he seeks change” at Daily Mail Online
- An eastern problem for Ethiopia’s new leader
- Ethiopia Swears-in Abiy Ahmed Ali as Prime Minister
- What should be on top of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s table? Freedom of expression
- The new man in charge: A charismatic young leader tries to calm ethnic tension in Ethiopia
- Ethiopia has just seen ‘historic’ political change, while its China-inspired economics continue ― CNBC