Toronto – In what appears to be an event solely motivated " />

Abiy Ahmed’s Nekemte Speech Sparks Concerns of Escalating Tensions

Filed under: All News,more news,RECENT POSTS |

Toronto – In what appears to be an event solely motivated by political gains amid worsening political bankruptcy ,

Abiy Nekemte Speech

Abiy Ahmed making speech at Nekemte Stadium (photo : screenshot from EBC Video)

 Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Wednesday traveled to Nekemete, Oromia region of Ethiopia, where he made a controversial speech (many fear it could trigger another round of ethnic cleansing)  to a crowd packed in the town’s stadium. He was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister, Temesgen Tiruneh, and Speaker of the Ethiopian Parliament, Temesgen Chafo – among other members of Abiy Ahmed government officials.

Wollega is one of the areas in the Oromia region of Ethiopia where the militant ethnic Oromo Nationalist that calls itself  Oromo Liberation Army operates extensively.

From the video footage government media outlets aired, it is noticeable that there was a very tight security arrangement for the event. Security detail for PM Abiy was even tighter.

For many, including those in Oromo politics,  the political rally in support of Abiy Ahmed in Nekemte was staged. Political cadres and members of the ruling party took part in it. The party claims to have more than 14 million members.

But that is not the problem for many. The problem, based on ongoing social media conversations and news reports by Ethiopian outlets, is that Abiy Ahmed made a narrative that could potentially perpetuate ethnic violence in the country.

He made the speech in Oromigna language. It is unclear if the senior members of his government who do not understand the language got a translation of his speech.

A report by al-ain quoted him as saying “Oromo people were denied its identity over one century, were made to not use its language, were denied ownership of the country and considered as a second class citizen. Now the ‘Oromo is liberated’ with a sacrifice that was paid. The people need to understand this.

”  It is common for Shimeles Abdissa, president of the Oromia region, to make speeches like that in public in the Oromo language. Abiy Ahmed has been painting himself as one a politician free from ethnic parochialism.

His remarks at Nekemte Stadium rather seem to suggest that he subscribes to radical narratives that Shimeles Abdissa has been saying in public.

Abiy Ahmed went further, based on al-ain report, to paint an image of an enemy against which ethnic Oromo must unite. “Let us end being deceived by the enemy and being divided on the enemy’s agenda,” he is quoted as saying.

He also called for an end for fighting one another – apparently within ethnic Oromo.   Ethnic Oromo nationalists have been employing the code word “neftegna’” against ethnic Amhara. Since Abiy Ahmed took over power in 2018, tens of thousands of ethnic Amhara civilians have been massacred in the Oromia region – among other areas.

Taye Dendea, who used to be a state Minister for  Peace and who is currently in prison, described Abiy Ahmed – as “a person who does not honor what he said and as a ruthless individual who plays with the blood of innocent people.

”  Taye’s remark – which is believed to be the reason for his arrest – seems to capture what Abiy Ahmed did in Nekemte Stadium.

Abiy Ahmed’s ruling party has been claiming that it undertook a series of political assessments to figure out the underlying causes of the country’s political crisis and political polarization. One of the findings was, it was said a few years ago, a polarizing political narrative and lack of shared narrative.

The radical ethnic Oromo Nationalist quarter was known to be – at least outside of ethnic Oromo politics – the major problem in bringing an end to radical narratives that make other ethnic groups – primarily ethnic Amhara – vulnerable to violent attacks and massacres in the Oromia region of Ethiopia.

What Abiy Ahmed said during his speech on Wednesday was rather one that aggravates the problem.

Abiy Ahmed also made calls for “people” to support his government and promised to bring about development to Wollega – the part of Oromia region of Ethiopia which he said is lagging behind in development due to the conflict in the region.