Abiy takes oath to steer Ethiopia for five more years

Abiy takes oath to steer Ethiopia for five more years
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (photo credit: courtesy)

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been sworn in for a second five-year term to lead a country reeling from a nearly year-long war.

The 45-year-old Ethiopian leader took an oath of office during a joint session of the House of People’s Representatives and House of the Federation on Monday, handing him the green light to serve an extra five-year term.

The inaugural ceremony attracted the attendance by African leaders namely: Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, Senegalese President Macky Sall, and besieged Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo

President Salva Kiir also attended the event alongside a contingent of leaders attached to the diplomatic cadres.  Part of the delegation that accompanied the President included the Minister of Presidential Affairs Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Mayiik Ayii Deng.

The Office of the President posted on its Facebook page yesterday morning revealing the trip.

‘‘The President of the Republic of South Sudan, His Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit, arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this morning (4th October 2021), to participate in the inaugural ceremony of the new Ethiopian Government under the leadership of H.E. Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed, scheduled to take place today,’’ it stated on a Facebook post.

‘‘Among those accompanying H.E President Salva Kiir Mayardit are; the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Hon Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin; Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hon Mayiik Ayii Deng, Governor of Jonglei State, Hon Denay Jock Chagor and other key government officials,’’ it added.

The election

Mr. Abiy’s Prosperity Party was declared the winner of parliamentary elections earlier in a June 21 vote that was criticized and at times boycotted by opposition parties. But the ballot has been described by some external electoral observers as better run than those in the past.

The prime minister, the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner for restoring ties with neighboring Eritrea and for pursuing sweeping political reforms, now faces major challenges as the war in the Tigray region spreads into other parts of the country, deadly ethnic violence continues and watchdogs warn that repressive government practices are on the return.

The 11-month war is weakening Ethiopia’s economy, one of Africa’s fastest-growing, and threatening to isolate Mr. Abiy, once seen as a regional peacemaker.

Ethiopia’s government last week faced condemnation from the United Nations, the US, and several European nations after it expelled seven UN officials it accused of supporting the Tigray forces who have been battling Ethiopian and allied forces.

The government is under growing pressure as people begin to starve to death in Tigray under what the UN has called a “de facto humanitarian blockade”. Last week the UN humanitarian chief told the Associated Press that the situation in Ethiopia was a “stain on our conscience”.

The US has threatened further sanctions if humanitarian access to Tigray is not granted soon and the warring sides do not take steps towards peace.

[Additional reportage by The National News]