After a famous musician in Ethiopia was killed, about 1
Nearly three months later, the tourist getaways about 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of the capital Addis Ababa are still closed. Only five of its 33 employees were let go, and the smell of burnt furniture permeated the rest of its building.
The hotel’s manager, Tibiyo Ilmeyu Bedaso, said: “This is really stupid.” “The government has not taken any action to help us. People here don’t know how to plan for the future. “
After June 29, the black wind attack was part of the protest wave Singer Hachalu Hundesa was assassinated and long-simmering ethnic tensions broke out in East African countries. In the past three weeks, new violence broke out in western Ethiopia. Less than a year after Prime Minister Abi Ahmed received the Nobel Peace Prize, the upheaval has aggravated a series of setbacks.
The pandemic threatens to reverse years of stable economic growth, and Abiy’s decision to postpone the elections held in August until a date yet to be determined was ostensibly to curb the spread of the virus, which triggered people’s commitment to his democracy. question.
Regional leaders are also increasingly fierce in demanding greater autonomy. Desert locust swarms are undermining regional food security. Egypt and Sudan are dissatisfied with Ethiopia’s plan to build a large reservoir on the Blue Nile that threatens its water supply. .
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Abiy won the Nobel Prize for ending the protracted conflict with neighboring Eritrea, but even the peace agreement is doubtful because Eritrea stated that the expected economic benefits have not been realized, and Ethiopian troops continue to be stationed on its territory.
Merera Gudina, chairman of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress, said: “Abiy has pushed the country’s politics into the abyss.”
Racial tensions are arguably the deepest challenge facing the prime minister, and it threatens to undermine the stability on which Ethiopia’s recent economic success is based.
The musician Hachalu is an Olomo, the country’s largest ethnic group, and his songs were popular during anti-government protests from 2015 to 2018. Although the motive for his killing is unknown, the ensuing violence resulted in the death of 200 people and the town became a battlefield before the security forces arrived in the Oromia area.
These demonstrations have weakened, but in the western region of Benisangule-Gumuz, inter-ethnic fighting has broken out and at least 140 people have died since the beginning of this month. The army says more than 25,000 people have fled their homes.
Merila said Abi “can’t lead a country of 110 million people with just one person.
Addis Ababa demonstrated the key to maintaining stability. In recent years, many new hotels, conference centers, factories and high-rise apartments have emerged, and the light rail network connects the city center with the industrialized areas in the south. The soon-to-be-completed skyscraper will become the headquarters of the Ethiopian Commercial Bank and will be developed in the north of the city, providing restaurants, boutique hotels and observation decks.
However, investors whose business is booming under the leadership of Abiy are becoming reckless.
“Peace and security are one of the important factors for successful business,” said Bethlehem Tilahun Alem, managing director of soleRebels, which uses recycled materials to make shoes. “We are undergoing change and we will have to patiently see the results. This is a very difficult time for everyone.”
Samrawit Fikru, CEO of taxi service app RIDE, praised the Abiy government for helping to reduce data costs and improve the regulatory environment. Nevertheless, the government’s decision to shut down the internet for 22 days during the July turmoil still severely affected her company’s revenue and paralyzed more than 22,000 drivers in the city.
She said: “Of course we need peace in our country.” “But at the same time, shutting down the Internet has brought problems, especially in the technical field.”
Despite the drastic changes, the International Monetary Fund predicts that this year’s economic growth will be 3.2%. Although Ethiopia has fallen from an average of nearly 9% in the past decade, it is still one of the few countries that is still expanding.
Ethiopia, the oldest nation-state in Africa, has its own calender, has its own writing habits, and claims to be the hometown of coffee. The country has more than 80 races and has always been a melting pot.
In 2018, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn failed to step down because the organization failed to prevent the majority of Oromo and members of the Amharic community from protesting against a small number of Tiglayans since the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front in 1991 Since the end of the country’s dictatorship, the protest has been dominant. The Oromo, who had resurrected from the poverty of the small town, was appointed as his successor to quell this discord.
A surprising choice, Abiy experienced profound changes in his first few months in office, including the release of political prisoners, the ban on opposition and rebel groups, and a peace agreement with Eritrea. He also allocated half of the cabinet positions to women, eliminated allegedly corrupt officials, and began to open the island economy and seek international investment.
Michael Waldmariam, associate professor of international relations at Boston University, said that for some people, the pace of change was too great, and the tensions controlled by the previous government “have now broken out.” “Now, the reality of nation building and solving the historical challenges of Ethiopia has been exposed. Abi, who is as popular as him, will never be able to fulfill all his ambitions and promises.”
In last year’s Nobel Prize speech, Abiy set out his vision of building a democratic and prosperous society that flourishes in tolerance and understanding.
But harmony is elusive. Tensions in the Tigray area have recently increased, ethnic conflicts broke out in the Amhara area, and the attacks and kidnappings launched by militia groups in parts of Oromia show no signs of relaxation.
There is no sign that Abiy’s control of power is being threatened. Under the leadership of the new Welfare Party, he consolidated his support base, received support from the security forces, and exercised considerable control over the local media. Abiy’s spokeswoman, Benene Seyoum, downplayed the severity of the violence and said the country is still open to business.
In his speech to the United Nations this week, Abi said: “We have no illusions that this will be a smooth journey.” “We remain committed to the goal of democratization and will continue our reforms with all necessary political commitments. Work hard.”
Abel Abate Demissie, a London colleague at Chatham House in London, said that due to other challenges that Ethiopia faces, Ethiopia cannot withstand the ongoing political turmoil, so the Abi government still More needs to be done to promote reconciliation.
He said on the phone from Addis Ababa: “If the current quarrel is not reduced as quickly as possible, it will lead to a serious political and security quagmire.”
—With the assistance of Jeremy Diamond and Gina Turner