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Jimma : Ethiopian PM’s major campaign stop before the election

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed says  Democracy will be installed in Ethiopia in this election during a campaign live even in Jimma

Abiy Ahmed _  Jimma  _ Ethiopia
Prime Minister Abiy surrounded by security details rides a horse at Jimma Stadium in South West Ethiopia (Photo : EBC)

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“We will excel in the task of maintaining Ethiopia’s Unity and make Ethiopia a strong arm for the Horn of Africa,” that is what Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed told what are believed to be his fans packed at the stadium in Jimma – one of the major cities in the south western part of Ethiopia. 

He was accompanied by his wife and his Oromo regional government and party officials, including Shimeles Abdissa, president of the region, who was looking and acting like a bodyguard in the part of the video released by state media. 

For Abiy Ahmed, Jimma seems to be close to his heart in that he was born in Behsaha town which is only about one hour drive ( at a 60 kilometers per hour speed) from Jimma. 

He has been recently to different parts of Ethiopia as the sixth general election was approaching. The trips are not officially designated as election campaign trips. They rather mostly take a form of project inauguration. However,  “Ethiopia’s prosperity” is the central message in his speech. The party which he crafted from the defunct Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) is named as Prosperity Party. 

The reception he got in Jimma was warm. Of course, the security arrangement was tight too even when everyone appeared to be his fan. 

Jimma looked like a formal election campaign. The rally in the stadium was organized as a show of support to the ruling Prosperity Party. 

” No force is able to halt the work we started to build a prosperous Ethiopia,” he said in his speech to the crowd, as reported by state media Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation. 

He also talked about what he described as the expectation from the outside world about the Election. “When the world expects violence during the election day, we will install democracy, and plant trees to teach about love,”  he said. 

Intelligence and Security apparatus earlier this week said arrangements are in place to ensure that the election is peaceful and encouraged Ethiopians to go out in mass and vote on Monday. 

Abiy Ahmed was elected as Prime Minister by the defunct EPRDF party in April 2018 following Hailemariam Desalegne’s resignation amid increasing anti-government protest across the country. 

In spite of the introduction of economic and political reforms, his three years in office was marked by prevalent ethnic based violence – mostly targeting ethnic Amharas in Oromo and Benishangul Gumuz region of Ethiopia. Thousands of people were killed and hundreds of thousands of people were displaced as radical ethnic Oromo nationalists and Benishangul Gumuz rebels ( both believed to be supported by external powers) launched a series of attacks on innocent civilians. 

 Abiy Ahmed sounded happy about his Jimma trip. He wrote on his social media page “Our unity is our beauty. It is our strength. Today, from Jimma to Agaro to Beshaha, the peaceful energy and resilient spirit exhibited is a catalyst for us to serve our people even more.” 

Ethiopia’s election is scheduled to take place on Monday next week in most parts of the country. However, there are areas that will vote in September 2021 due to security complications and logistic issues that the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia had been facing, including printing of ballot papers. 

Lastweek, the board said that over 37 eligible voters are registered for the election across the country. 

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