World, Africa

Ethiopian leader promises inclusive national dialogue

African leaders, AU Commission chief, dignitaries attend Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s inaugural ceremony

Addis Getachew and Seleshi Tessema   | 04.10.2021
Ethiopian leader promises inclusive national dialogue Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali swears in for a new five-year term during the joint session of the House of People’s Representatives and House of the Federation in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on October 04, 2021. ( Minasse Wondimu Hailu - Anadolu Agency )

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said his government “will soon launch” an all-inclusive national dialogue towards healing and reconciliation.

During his largely attended swearing-in ceremony Monday, Abiy said: “This is not a dialogue of political elites alone but will be encompassing all sections of society.”

The 45-year-old Nobel laureate took the oath of office for a five-year term during the joint session of the House of People’s Representatives and House of the Federation Monday morning.

Abiy’s Prosperity Party scored a landslide win in the June 21 parliamentary and regional councils’ elections.

In attendance from Africa were Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Somali President Muhammed Abdullah Muhammed, Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh, South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Myardit, Senegal’s President Macky Sall, and Nigerian President Muhammed Buhari as well as African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat.

The premier condemned the Tigray rebels for causing the current armed conflict, which resulted in huge loss of lives and resources. Previously, his spokeswoman Billene Seyoum told journalists that four opposition parties from Tigray will be included in the national dialogue together with more than 50 parties across the nation.

Uganda sees ethnic politics as problem

“I have been observing and participating in politics for the past 60 years,” Museveni said. “We have some observations. One of the problems of Uganda has been identity politics that has caused a lot of problems. We addressed the issue, and moved from politics of identity to politics of interest.”

He said his advice for Ethiopians is to pursue politics of interest rather than politics of identity.

He was referring to, what many said, the linguistic-based ethnic politics that has been put in place 30 years ago by the now-defunct Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, a four-party coalition led by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

The ethnic divisions, coupled with many other ills that brewed up over the past decades including high profile corruption, led to deep grievances among the people in the Horn of Africa nation.

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Djiboutian President Guelleh said: “Ethiopians went through defining moments in their history, but emerged stronger. I am confident that Ethiopia will remain stronger and reconcile with all its children.”

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, many believe, shoulders the challenging task of bringing Ethiopia back to unity and peace.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta expressed confidence that Ethiopia will overcome its current challenges, adding: “We express our support and solidarity with Ethiopia as you bring this nation together.”

The inaugural ceremony also saw a military parade and cultural shows.

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