From EPRDF to EPRDF: Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali Sworn in Ethiopia’s New Prime Minister, Delivers Superb Speech

Abiy receiving the national flag


AbiyAhmed Ali, Chairman of OPDO and EPRDF, has been sworn in as a premier of Ethiopia, approved by the EPRDF-controlled parliament.

Abiy holds PhD in Peace and Security Studies (2017) from the Addis Abeba University (AAU).

Many people especially protesters from the Oromia region have raised their hopes with the election of Abiy as chair of the EPRDF and Prime Minister of Ethiopia. While many people question this high hopes arguing that Abiy cannot single-handedly bring any change since the Ethiopian political power brokers, deep state and the security sector is in the hands of TPLF.

Over 14,000 people watched Abiy’s speech Live on Facebook from the state owned EBC.

Abiy quoted Mahatma Ghandi in his speech.

Unlike previous EPRDF leaders, he named and thanked his mother, and his wife, Zinash Tayachew.

His speech took nearly 30 minutes.

TPLF MPs, were visibly seen discontent and worried when Abiy was speaking. Debretsion, TPLF’s leader showed little interest to stand up and welcome back Abiy to his seat when all MPs stood up to greet Abiy.

Hope, unity and reconciliation could describe the generality of Abiy’s speech.

He condemned ethnic-ism and racism several times in his speech. It was basically a mutinying acceptance speech against the TPLF establishment.

The reaction on social media to his speech from all sides including opposition forces, bloggers and public figures has been very positive.

However, his speech didn’t mention anything about the lifting of the State of Emergency, elections, dialogue and negotiation with the opposition or changes in relation to restrictive laws such as the Anti-Terrorism, Civil Society and election legislation.

Abiy seems to have won the hearts and minds of most Ethiopians with a single speech. Most protest voices aka the Qeroo from his original region, Oromia also seem to be happy and calm with his confirmation. However, it is yet to be seen if his ascendance tames the protests in two other regional states that saw fierce protests in the past three years such as the Amhara region and Southern Ethiopia such as the Gurage Zone.

The US Embassy in Addis Abeba welcome Abiy’s confirmation as the new PM of Ethiopia and stated that it is ready to support the “rapid implementation of democratic and economic reforms and look forward to the lifting of the State of Emergency.”

Abiy, in his speech, declared his commitment to human rights, democracy, freedom of speech and assembly, reached out to the Diaspora, opposition forces and highlighted the issue ethnic based racism strongly. He called on all competing parties using various methods of struggle to come forward and support the reconciliation and nation-rebuilding process.

Now everyone is asking “Will he walk the talk?”

The hardest and beginning of walk is reshuffling and completely changing EPRDF’s security sector from one ethnic domination that has been the cause of innumerable human rights abuses, significant economic inequalities and caused the protests.

Protests are very unlikely to stop if Abiy and his cabinet cannot bring the changes required by the protesters immediately.