In his two-paragraph New Year message, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said “We will win.” Usually, his holiday messages are long and full of preaching, and at times incoherent.
A day after the Ethiopian New Year, Ethiopian President Sahlework Zewde released a New Year message on social media. And it appears that she does not buy Abiy Ahmed’s “We will win” message.
In a statement that she started with “Here I am again for the fifth time,” She said, “Beyond slogans, it is expected that we demonstrate our superiority of thought, inclusivity, and participatory [approach] in practice.”
She said when not recovering from the past, our people are not escaping the fate of lack of peace again. She added that many citizens have lost their lives due to civil war and they are losing. Many are wounded. Many are displaced and residing in shelters
One clear difference is that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the people around him do not seem to see the situation in the country – especially in the Amhara region.
Sahlework Zewde stated that civil war or conflict will not have a winner. “There is no other way to look at the root of the problem and find a lasting solution to it,” she stressed. She added that “war and fighting” are choices and if that is the case it is not possible that peace could not be a choice.
Abiy Ahmed has expressed his feeling that the Ethiopian People have misunderstood him ( in what appears to be an allusion to the loss of support base and legitimacy). Yet, his New Year message, as indicated above, was “We will win-” he was indirectly making a reference to the war against Fano forces. Shimeles Abdissa, president of the Oromia region, took Abiy Ahmed’s stand further and declared the war – over forces who are aspiring to “Old Ethiopia” – is won.
Another key point that President Sahelework conveyed is that temporary reforms could not address Ethiopia’s problem. “Let us make the year [the new year] one that we move along the direction of fundamentally addressing our problems, not with temporary reform,” she said.
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