Before Abiy Ahmed came into office as Prime minister of Ethiopia in 2018, it is fair to say that all was not well with Ethiopia. The country was in a mess and the economy was in chaos.
One of the major problems the country was battling with was the persistent killing and political imprisonment that was going on as a result of farmland allocation in the country. There were increased protests and demonstrations by the Oromo people over what they felt was government’s bias towards them, and these protests often ended in deaths and mass imprisonment after clashes with armed security officials.
In August 2016, more than 90 people were shot dead by security forces in protests across Ethiopia’s Oromiya and Amhara regions.
Unrest flared in Oromiya for several months until early last year over plans to allocate farmlands surrounding the regional capital for development. Authorities scrapped the scheme in January, but protests flared again over the continued detention of opposition demonstrators.
During the riots, protesters chanted anti-government slogans and waved dissident flags. Some demanded the release of jailed opposition politicians.
“So far, we have compiled a list of 33 protesters killed by armed security forces that included police and soldiers but I am very sure the list will grow,” Mulatu Gemechu, Deputy Chairman of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress was quoted as saying.
The deaths were recorded in at least 10 towns across Oromiya, he said, including Ambo, Dembi Dolo and Nekemt – areas where protests were recorded.
“Twenty-six people have been injured, while several have been detained,” Mulatu said, adding that three members of his party were also being held.
In Amhara, it was recorded that police fired live bullets at demonstrators during protests over disputed territory in the city of Bahir Dar.
“Police and Soldiers fired live rounds at protesters. Hospitals have been filled by dead and wounded victims,” a resident was quoted as saying, putting the number of protesters who lost their lives at 60.
These are the type of issues that were going on in Ethiopia before Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took over as PM. Tensions had been ongoing for more than two decades over the status of Wolkayt district, a stretch of land that protesters from Amhara say was illegally incorporated into the neighboring Tigray region to the north.
You will agree that all of these issues have reduced considerably since Abiy Ahmed took over the helm of affairs as Prime Minister of Ethiopia. He has brokered peace within the country’s conflicting regions and around the East African region in general.
Indeed, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed deserves some credits, don’t you agree?
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