Abiy Ahmed (PhD)…




It has been two weeks since Abiy Ahmed (PhD) was confirmed by parliament as Ethiopia`s Prime Minister and he has been busy chairing the cabinet meetings ever since. However, his tour of the nation, delivering motivational speeches to an animated public, featured prominently in his première. The latest in the series of public addresses will be today, where he will address tens of thousands of mostly youth crowd at the Millennium Hall in Addis Abeba.

It is expected that he will continue with his style of delivering inspirational speeches, consistent with his messages of pride in history; shared sacrifices of the past; contradiction between Ethiopia`s democratic legacy – meaning the Geda system – and recent deficits; restoring democratic order; and the rights of the individual enshrined in the constitution, gossip claims. Yet, he has something to throw to each crowd, depending on where he speaks, gossip observed.

To his luck, Abiy has a warmed up public, eager to cheer and delighted to get electrified, claims gossip. Today`s will be no different than the previous addresses in Jigjiga, Ambo and Meqelle, gossip anticipates. Not even leaders of the opposition and advocates of civil society causes were able to resist their temptation to grant him a standing ovation when he met them in the Jubilee Palace on Thursday night, over a state dinner, observed gossip.

On Monday, he will address members of the business community at the Sheraton before shuttling to Gonder, an epicentre of protest in the north-west, the following day. On next weekend, he will be in Bahir Dar, opening the Tana Forum, an annual regional summit discussing mostly on security and economic policy matters.

On the surface, facing the public it may appear as an attempt by Prime Minister Abiy in pacifying a rebellious population that has been at odds with the Revolutionary Democrats over the past three years, says gossip.

Nonetheless, it could also be the beginning of an era where a new style of leadership emerges where the chairman of the ruling party and a leader of the nation earns his political capital directly from the public, overcoming limitations imposed by party structures and the parliamentary system, claims gossip. Abiy is evolving to be presidential in his leadership than any of his predecessors have ever dreamt of, gossip claims.

It will not be without fierce opposition from those within his ruling party, gossip foresees. It is too early to tell those who may ally with him although his recent public appearances give a clue. For an apparent reason, Lemma Megersa and Worqneh Gebeyehu (PhD) are on his side, while he has been accompanied by Demeke Mekonnen and Shiferaw Shigutie, the latter in charge of the powerful EPRDF Secretariat.

The opponents have already declared their reservation, if not vehement opposition, to Abiy`s rise to power during the party`s Council meeting that elected him as chairman three weeks ago.

Indeed, there was that embarrassing incident of a witch hunt over who leaked the information that the TPLFites may have been interested in seeing Abadulla Gemeda as chairman of the EPRDF and as Prime Minister, says gossip. It was this rumour that was attributed to the decision by the OPDO`s Executive Committee to swap its chair between Lemma and Abiy, gossip disclosed. Getachew Reda, who was critical of Abiy`s election, was in the spotlight as a source, although his name was cleared off during the witch hunt, gossip disclosed. Ironically, the person who could have been the source remains unidentified despite a couple of names still flying around, says gossip.

Then there was Bereket Simon, who found it hard to digest Abiy`s rise to power and threatened to remain a steady voice against the EPRDF henceforth; and Asmelash Gebresellasie, a.k.a Abay Nefso, and parliamentary whip would rather die than seeing a person he accused as a closet neo-liberal and deceptive gets elected, gossip disclosed. Abraham Tekeste (PhD), the finance minister, had criticised Abiy as a recreant, to which Lemma rebuked him saying look who is talking, gossip revealed. It appears that many of the veteran EPRDFites have simply held their breath, for now, gossip observed.



Published on Apr 15,2018 [ Vol 18 ,No 938]


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