PM Abiy Ahmed First 100 Days
Accomplishments made in the past 100 days since the swearing-in of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
1. Fostered Internal Stability
Today marks the 100th day of the premiership of Dr. Abiy Ahmed. His performance so far can only be rated as outstanding in all fronts. The wide popularity of the numerous measures he has taken so far and the speed with which each of them is delivered are nothing short of a miracle. The PM has done in this short period what many wouldn't even imagine getting done in years. His name has now become synonymous with optimism for an overwhelming majority of Ethiopians. International News Outlets including the BBC has described him as "one of the most dynamic and charismatic politicians to emerge in modern Africa."
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) came to power right in the middle of the worst political and social crisis that hit the country in decades. Due to popular unrest hitting major regions in Ethiopia, the government was forced to declare martial law twice in two years’ time since 2016. Demonstrations, roadblocks and conflicts flared up in almost all major urban and rural areas. Violence reached the outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa, a city of at least 5 million, severely limiting day-to-day public affairs. Despite EPRDF’s desperate attempt to curb unrest, the unrest finally culminated in the resignation of its chairperson and the election of PM Abiy Ahmed through a tightly contested inter-party election.
1.1 Inspired the Nation
Even before coming to the helm of the country’s political power, Abiy Ahmed was known for his charisma. He was frequently quoted saying “Kal yigedlal, kal yadinal” which roughly translates to “A word can kill, a word can save”. He thoroughly acted on this belief in his first 100 days, starting from his inauguration speech at the parliament. His inspirational quotes were carried far and wide throughout the nation. His words have become ubiquitous adorning window panes and bumper stickers all over Ethiopia. His message of unity through diversity and revival of the “Ethiopiawinet” (Ethiopianism) is widely celebrated and his notion of “medemer” (synergy) has become a colloquial word. His frank and transparent manners, the way in which he spoke of his mother, wife and all women at his swearing-in ceremony not only stole the hearts of many but also gave away signs of the seriousness of the change that is taking place in Ethiopia. The phrases he used such as “When alive, we are Ethiopians, and in death, we become the land that is Ethiopia” are favorites among patriotic Ethiopians who are longing for a message of unity and solidarity in the midst of ethnic rivalry apparent for the past several years.
1.2 First-hand discussion with the people
PM Abiy Ahmed made stabilizing the troubled nation his primary objective. He made regional visits and discussed with the community on matters that are important to them. He also delivered messages of solidarity in languages, customs and attires akin to the specific regions, raising issues that were taboo in Ethiopian politics yet very reflective of the local need. He kicked off his visit with the most affected areas in the last three years of anti-government demonstrations such as Ambo, Bale, Dembi-dollo and Gondar and continued to other regions such as Tigray, Hawassa, and Afar to experience first-hand the state of affairs in the different regions to ensure all voices are heard. His message of peace and unity was delivered in such an out-of-the-box and disarming way that it brought about a tangible impact on the nations and nationalities embraced in the country.
1.3 Expanded Political Space
Despite efforts exerted to widen the ever-narrowing post-2005 political space by the leading party EPRDF; the first tangible steps were actually undertaken in the last 100 days. This was evident with the release and pardon of political leaders. He lifted bans on political parties, website and various media outlets that were deemed terrorists and affiliates. and even invited them to operate locally. These ground-breaking changes helped in convincing the opposition and the large Ethiopian diaspora that the change was not cosmetic but genuine and is bringing many onboard to participate in the country’s affairs. Furthermore, a draft pardon proclamation has been submitted to parliament for approval that will streamline the way the government releases wrongly accused and imprisoned individuals and organizations. Previous anti-terrorism, cyber-terrorism and other sweeping proclamations are put under revision by the newly appointed attorney general to pave way for a less intrusive government and greater democratic reform.
The prime Minister’s bold defense of his reforms in front of the House of People’s representatives, goes so far as blaming some within the government itself for terrorizing the Ethiopian people, and firing and reshuffling of a series of untouchable civil servants. He is laying out a clear policy direction towards good-governance and accountability. Consequently, even state-owned/affiliated media such as EBC/ETC/Fana started broadcasting various rights abuses including in the criminal justice system. Such investigative reporting by the media is paving the way for those in the security and penitentiary systems to be held accountable and brought to justice.
Another proof of the new administration’s move to widen the democratic space is the virtually nation-wide rallies organized by the local communities themselves in support of the new pro-democracy reforms. Demonstrators carried banners and flags of their choice while reflecting varied political views. However, all the demonstration were markedly peaceful and pro-reform with the exception of a small grenade that exploded and killed few people and wounded many.
1.4 Reformed the Security Sector
Police, the military, the internal security, correctional facilities and other within the military-security establishment within the country were the ones that suffered from a serious lack of public confidence. Reforming these institutions in a top-down approach was a vital step towards restoring public trust and stability. It was along these lines that Dr Abiy Ahmed started by replacing old-guard veterans within these institutes in a rapid succession. This was done in a respectful manner to ensure continuity in accordance with state protocol and full-honor retirement to the likes of head of defense (etats-majeure), head of security and former prime minister.
2. Fostered Diplomacy and Foreign Relations
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has markedly departed from the usual trend of conducting diplomacy within the horn and Africa. His “win-win” approach towards neighboring diplomacy, while rejecting the previous decades’ old trend of the typical “us-versus-them” and “allies vs. enemies” seems to work. In that regard, his biggest wins include putting an end to the “no peace – no war” situation with Eritrea that persisted for decades, improving regional economic ties and cooperation which has now created a huge movement for his nomination for the upcoming Nobel Peace Prize.
2.1 Improved Ethio-Eritrea Relations
20 years ago, the relations between the two countries deteriorated culminating in one of Africa’s bloodiest war. Since then “no war-no peace” stance between the two countries costed human lives and damaged both economies. Previously Eritrea maintained there would be no negotiations until Ethiopian troops pulled out of Eritrean as per the decision of the international boundary commission. However, this black curtain between the two countries has been shred and overtures have been made as evident with the recent visit of high-level delegates from Eritrea and the return visit to Asmara, Eritrea by the Prime Minister of Ethiopia. The parade throughout the 45km drive from the Airport to Asmara Palace showered the Ethiopian delegates with unprecedented public support and love.
2.2 Prioritized Security in the Horn of Africa
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed traveled to all the neighboring countries in past three months and met with South Sudan's President and opposition leaders in Addis Ababa. As they say in political science "Every country has the right to choose their allies, however, no one can choose their neighbors". With this logic in mind, the Prime Minister has given priority in deepening diplomatic relations with neighboring countries in the horn of Africa.
2.3 Signed New Agreements
Despite the fact that the Ethiopian government has been working towards the adoption of a principle of give and take approach with its neighbors, the negotiations over the past 100 days were far-reaching. A deal was strike to develop and operate a shipping port in Djibouti and Ethiopia to extend stakes to Djibouti in the telecom and other mutually agreed infrastructures. These measures benefits Ethiopia from an economic and political standpoint in the long run.