Ethiopia’s Prosperity Party kicks off unofficial election campaign

Abiy Ahmed’s Prosperity Party had a city wide forum to explain the programs and regulations of the party residents in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa

Prosperity Party _ Abiy Ahmed_ Ethiopia
Abiy Ahmed speaking to thousands of youth Addis Ababa. Photo credit : FBC

January 2, 2019

Although there does not seem to be certainty whether  Ethiopia’s next election will take place as planned as many opposition parties are considering it as undesirable under the existing circumstances in the country, the election board is sending signals that it will.

On the other hand, Prosperity Party, an offspring of former ruling coalition Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) but with a little attribute of the organization/s it evolved from, seems to be kicking off a sort of an informal campaign. Addis Ababa – a city that would never vote, according to some opposition parties, to the rebranded political party has become a focus for the party.

Party program and regulations of Prosperity Party, have been discussed across all sub-cities in the capital, and the closing forum was organized on Thursday at the Millennium Hall in the capital.

Prosperity Party _ Addis Ababa
Prosperity Party event at Millennium Hall in Addis Ababa. Credit : FBC

Over ten thousand youths from the city have attended it, according to the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC) report on Thursday.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, supposedly the leader of the new party, has attended it too. The city’s acting mayor, Takele Uma, was also in attendance.

Abiy said a popular phrase that is common during election times about his new party “Prosperity party works for a generation, not for an election.”

He seized his appearance as an opportunity to paint a picture of what his party stands for and also to paint a dark image of potential challengers in the city. 

In his speech, he hinted at the possibility of losing the election but he spoke differently about the invincibility of his party. “It is very difficult to beat the thoughts and practices of Prosperity Party in the next 50 or 60 years; whoever defeats me will find it difficult to administer Ethiopia even for a month without ‘prosperity thought’,” he said.

He spoke even with more precision to make a point about the veracity and definitiveness of the Prosperity Party. “The only way that works in Ethiopia hereafter is not accusing Prosperity [party] but by learning from it and improving it.”

Without naming names he insinuated that there are entities who intend to hold power by inciting killings, and that, he added, will not benefit Ethiopia, and the youth has to be aware of it. 

“If you like Prosperity Party [biltsigna in Amharic], vote for it. If you do not like it punish it with your votes but you will never give your life to anyone,” Abiy Ahmed told youths from the city gathered at the millennium hall.

The new party claims that it intends to build a strong and lasting institution, strike a balance between ethnic and national identity, and create a strong united political economy.

Based on the existing political landscape, two parties are believed to challenge Prosperity Party (PP) in the capital Addis Ababa. One is Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice (EZEMA), whose leader is Berhanu Nega, – a party that expressed the conviction that the city needs to be administered by elected mayors not appointed one.

The other potential challenger in Addis Ababa is Eskinder Nega’s, formerly prominent Human Rights activist and prisoners of conscience, Baladera Council which is morphing into a political party.

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