By Hiwot Teferra
Once again, His Excellency Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed made us fall in love with our country, Ethiopia.
Ever since he took office, his actions have been remarkable, the type one can simply not ignore.
It started with his inaugural speech where he mentioned Ethiopia so many times, he evoked so much love for the country and showed so much respect to his predecessor, H.E. Hailemariam Dessalegn that right from the beginning, Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed touched our hearts.
It needs to be stated right away that Dr. Abiy’s speeches are generally mind-blowing and one has to have full control of his or her emotion while listening, in order not to cry. His words are moving and tend to bring people at the heart of the Ethiopian issue.
As far as prioritizing Peace in concerned, it was obvious since Dr. Abiy took office that he wanted to tighten and reinforce diplomatic ties with neighboring countries. In fact, within a few weeks of his premiership, Dr. Abiy started visiting each one of them.
This by itself was exceptional because customarily in Africa, premiers tend to spend more energy and time on domestic affairs rather than on international relations. This is of course not to say that Dr. Abiy did not focus on internal issues. He definitely did. In fact, he went to most regions to address the issues our people had. Yet, the fact that he gave equally an importance on foreign affairs was for me respectable and a clear indication that our Prime Minister came on board with a global vision.
In this initiative, what surprised me the most is when in June 2018, Dr. Abiy not only visited Egypt which is probably not the easiest country to tie diplomatic relations with due to the Nile issues, but after a successful meeting with President El-Sisi, Dr. Abiy got Ethiopian Prisoners in Egypt freed and brought them back to Ethiopia in the same flight he took to come back to Ethiopia. This was an unimaginable event, an action only a blessed person would take.
That same month, precisely on June 23, 2018, Dr. Abiy made a heart-touching speech in Meskel square, emphasizing on the concept of ‘Medemer’, the need for all of Ethiopians to work together for a better Ethiopia tomorrow. There again, he brought our emotions together, preaching love for our country and the possibility of building a better Ethiopia, in unity. When he finished his speech, he bowed down 90 degrees to the thousands of Ethiopians who were listening to his speech, showing a great length of respect for the people. This was never seen from a leader before and so, it was very much appreciated. Unfortunately, this same day, a bomb exploded at Meskel Square and sadly we had a few victims. The same day, not only Dr. Abiy went to the hospital to see the wounded, he also donated blood the very next day, thereby activating a blood donation program nationwide, on a voluntary basis.
Again in June 2019, Dr. Abiy initiated a peace deal with President Issayas Afeworki, restoring diplomatic ties with Eritrea after two decades. The rest is history, as the reunification of Ethiopia and Eritrea helped bring peace between the two nations, it reunited families who were separated for years yet had so much love for one another, and this saved thousands of dollars spent at the boarder for peacekeeping.
Dr. Abiy’s efforts to restore peace did not end there. In July 2018, he traveled to the USA and visited the most important cities where Ethiopians reside and addressed our people’s issues in North America. These people were to a great extent dissatisfied with the previous Ethiopian Government. It was therefore important to approach them and create peace. Hence, the largest halls were booked in various cities for this purpose. There, Dr. Abiy met most of the opposition leaders and started a peace and reconciliation process. He courageously apologized for all the wrong actions previously taken. He used this opportunity to invite Ethiopians to come and help build their country, which was well accepted. This proved to be very successful. A few days later, many opposition leaders who had not returned to Ethiopia for a long time came back and were received colorfully.
Over and above this matter, despite not being an Orthodox himself, Dr. Abiy took on the responsibility of bringing unity within the Ethiopian Orthodox Church which was divided into two between the USA and Ethiopia. Upon returning from the USA, the Prime Minister brought in his plane senior leaders of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church who were exiled in the USA for years. Within a couple of days in Aug 2018, a celebration at the millennium hall marked the Reconciliation, Peace and Unity of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
October 2018 was a historic month for Ethiopia. First because that month, the ministerial cabinet saw for the first time, 50% of its ministers being women. Moreover, the country saw for the first time a Ministry of Peace with at its head, a woman, the remarkable He.E. Ms. Muferiat Kamil, the right person in my opinion to head this ministry.
On Oct 28, with the full support of PM Dr. Abiy, Ambassador Sahle-Work Zewde became the first female president of F.D.R. of Ethiopia. Again, this was the right choice because Ambassador Sahle-Work Zewde had been a diplomat for a very long time and she has a wide range of experience and exposure abroad including with the United Nations.
This move helped young girls and women, including me to unleash our potential and envision a bigger picture of ourselves, the sense that we too could reach the top if we work for it.
In November 2018, under PM Dr. Abiy’s leadership, Honorable Ms. Birtukan Mideksa who was imprisoned and tortured under the previous regime came back from the USA where she was exiled and became the Chairperson of the Ethiopian Electoral Board, a position never taken by a woman before.
In Feb 2019 at the opening of the yearly held AU Summit, the statue of the Emperor Haileselassie, one of the fore founders of OAU was inaugurated at the AU compound, whereas our previous government had obviously not lobbied for this to happen when the statue of Kwame Nkrumah had been there since 2012.
When is April 2019, a photo exhibition was organized at the Millennium Hall depicting H.E. Dr. Abiy Ahmed’s performance as Prime Minister of Ethiopia from April 2018 to April 2019, it was obvious that he had accomplished a number of things within one year and beyond anyone’s imagination.
The opening of the Unity Park in Sep. 2019 was another great achievement, for the outcome was outstanding. What made it even more unique is that when it was inaugurated, free access was given to elders, the physically challenged and the homeless before it was opened to the public…
Dr. Abiy’s achievements are many, way too many. Some of them are unique in nature and simple at the same time. I say simple because clearly some of them are based on his simple and uncomplicated core values which are LOVE for Ethiopia, PEACE for all & UNITY. His love for the non-privileged, his respect for the elders and religious leaders, his proven humility are the essence of his actions. Hence, the Nobel Peace Prize is a very well deserved award and a honor for Ethiopia.
Dear Nobel Laureate, Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed, Thank you! May you have a Long Life. May God Bless you and your family.
Hiwot Teferra can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org