Photo: Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed wants the diaspora to tear down the wall of hatred and bring home the culture of innovation. Source: ECADF - Photo: 2018

Ethiopian PM Sparks Euphoria In A Whirlwind U.S. Trip

By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network

NEW YORK (IDN) – It’s been called ‘Abiy-mania’ – an impulse to reach out and hug the young new Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, who brought an end to his country’s two-decade-long war with Eritrea and other sweeping changes in the Horn of Africa.

The 41-year old Ethiopian leader landed in the United States on July 26 where he met with thousands of his countrymen and women and reiterated his message of love and unity. “He urged them to tear down the wall of hatred and bring home the culture of innovation that Los Angeles is known for,” his chief of staff wrote on Twitter.

His six-day journey has taken him to Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Minneapolis, where “Kassa”, a researcher at North Carolina State University was heard to exclaim: “I want to hug him! He’s a hugger, I know, so I want to hug him.”

Abiy’s call to the Diaspora seems to have already softened the fiercest critics of the ruling party’s previous regime.

Among them was Abede Yimenu, a former major in the Ethiopian army and one of the 300,000 Ethiopians who live in the District of Columbia. He told the Washington Post he is also thinking of going home after being away for 17 years.

Tapping his red beret, he said: “This uniform shows that we believe in this prime minister and that we still love our country and that we still need to serve our country.”

Abiy also met with the leader of Patriotic Ginbot 7, an opposition group named for May 15, the date of a general election in 2005 marred by fraud and the deaths of about 200 people. The pro-democracy party was labeled a terrorist organization by the former government.

Aside from the peace treaty with neighboring Eritrea, Abiy has lifted the state of emergency and freed hundreds of political prisoners.

Meanwhile, in Washington, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, there was dancing, flag waving and ululation. Religious leaders began the rally with prayers, praising Abiy and celebrating the future of the country. D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser declared July 28 “Ethiopia Day” to great applause.

Before embarking for the west coast, Abiy met with the head of the World Bank, the IMF and Vice President Mike Pence.  He also oversaw the reconciliation of rival synods of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and met the Muslim community.

The new prime minister has the advantage of speaking fluent Oromo, Amharic, and Tigrinya. He is also steeped in Islam and the traditions of the Orthodox Church. There is something to satisfy each element of the coalition, which controls all of Parliament.

According to ECDAF, Ethiopian News and Views, during his visit, his first to the U.S., Abiy was expected also to preside over the unification talks between the country’s orthodox churches. Synods of the church based in Ethiopia and the U.S. have agreed to heal a rift that led to a split.

The Prime Minister has previously held talks with a peace committee based in Addis Ababa. At the said meeting, Abiy earnestly impressed upon them that the church, as a representation of Ethiopia, should lead by example and become a symbol of the current peace, unity and reconciliation efforts.

The accord reached by the two parts of the church was expected to be formalised in a ceremony to be held in Washington and attended by Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed, as well as six senior clergy representing both sides.

To underscore the importance of this accord, the first order of business for the Prime Minister upon arrival in the United States was to meet His Holiness Abuna Markorios and members of the U.S. synod. [IDN-InDepthNews – 30 July 2018]

Photo: Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed wants the diaspora to tear down the wall of hatred and bring home the culture of innovation. Source: ECADF

IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate. –

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