Ethiopians were seemingly worried as Abiy Ahmed was not in the news last week. As it turns out, Eastern Ethiopia situation was keeping him busy as he was working on it steadily.
When Mwai kibaki broke his leg after a car accident while rallying for presidency sometime in 2002 and was unable to make public appearance, his supporters, then majority of Kenyans, were worried and demanding the government updates about Kibaki’s health. “Kibaki’s leg is our leg,” as one commentator wrote in one of Kenya’s popular news paper was the mantra.
The situation was virtually same in Ethiopia this past week. Prime minister Abiy Ahmed was not seen in public for about a week after he returned from a trip to the United States where he met with tens of thousands of his supporters. He did not appear in television. The situation gave rise to a rumor that Abiy Ahmed was not feeling well.
Some say he was sick of workload and was in hospital outside of Ethiopia. Others claimed that he was poisoned. Of course, many were worried. Not much is known but what many seem to believe is that he was probably exhausted due to overwork.
Many Ethiopians were relived when he was in the news yesterday chatting with Reem Ebrahim Al-Hashimi, United Arab Emirates’ Minister of State for International Cooperation, who was visiting the country.
He made headlines in Ethiopian News outlets this morning again when he visited the Fourth Patriarch of Ethiopia, Abune Merkorios who returned to Ethiopia last the week before last week after 27 years, in his residence in the capital. Debretsion Gebremichael, Tigray region’s deputy president, was seen with him in news video released by Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation.
He told journalists why he is visiting Abune Merkorios. “I promised him that I will visit him, but I did not get a chance to see him as I was busy due to the situation in the Eastern part of Ethiopia.” We were trying to prevent more deaths in the region, he added.
“The situation [ in the region] is back on track now. Government is working with the regional government and the party that is governing the region” confirmed Abiy.
Government Communications Minister, Ahmed Shede, told journalists last week that a portion of the leadership in Ethio-Somali region were mobilizing a secessionist activity.
The prime minister assured Ethiopians today when he tells journalists that the danger to Ethiopian Unity is not there.
“A part of Ethiopia is like a single leaf of a tree. It will not shade like a leaf. The unity of Ethiopia will not collapse just because we do not like it. The social fabric is strong, and it is wrong to think that Ethiopia will disintegrate like that,” Abiy Ahmed concluded his remark on the situation calling for Ethiopians to protect themselves from bad thoughts and from those who sow them.
Eastern Ethiopia remained a conflict zone this past week as loyal forces of the region’s former president, Abdi Mohammed Omar (Abdi Illey), and youth groups he organized launched attacks targeting non-Somali ethnic groups in Jijiga, capital of the region. At least 29, were killed including in Dire Dawa and the situation caused a humanitarian crisis as thousands of residents from Jijiga and kebri Dehar are taking refugees in military barracks and churches.
Video Credit: EBC
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