14 June 2018

Ethiopia: A Man of the People

It is indeed a sad story, a story that is so painful that no one dares to tolerate it. 13 years ago, an Ethiopian child went to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment, to treat the light pain he felt around his nose. Unfortunately, the medical errors at the hospital he was being treated in put him in a prolonged comma. His name is Mohammed Abdulaziz.

The seriousness of his situation has put his mother, Halima Muzemile in a very bizarre and hopeless situation. But still, she was hopeful that one day he would wake up and call her 'mom.' However, during his prolonged stay in the hospital, he has always been in a comma.

In his visit to Saudi Arabia shortly after becoming Prime Minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed paid a visit to the hospital and witnessed the situation of the unfortunate Ethiopian child. He has also personally consoled Halima.

"No one support me for the past 13 years," The mother said and requested the Premier to facilitate means for her and her son to come back to Ethiopia. And Abiy assured that his government would stand by her side in whatever she needs.

The premier made a deal with Saudi officials for the payment of compensation to what happened to Mohammed Abdulaziz as decided by a court. Later on, Halima and her son then returned to Ethiopia after 13 years as the Saudi government agreed to pay compensation fee and cover all other medical expenses for Mohammed's treatment at home.

Then again, based on the agreement made with Saudi officials, over 1000 Ethiopian prisoners in Saudi were also released from jail. Unprecedented in the country's history in the past, the Premier has also done the same thing during his visits in Kenya and Sudan also. It seems, he has made it his habit that wherever he go, he seems to make deals to resolve the burning issues of citizens' irrespective of their number. Just this week, while he was visiting Egypt, he has negotiated the release of 32 Ethiopians and took them home with him boarding same airplane.

"We feel that we are born today," one of the Ethiopian prisoners who was released from Egyptian prison said.

"In the middle of the time, they ordered us to go out of the prison and we did not know where we are going, but we assume that they were transferring us to other prison house. When we arrived to the Egypt airport they said, 'your government is ready to take you home. We are very much happy when we heard this"

"We thank the Ethiopian government; what it has done is what a mother do to her child." said another young man adding that "We thank the government for the assistance given to us."

Acknowledging the effort of the government, released prisoners expressed their readiness to engage in income generating activities at home to improve their livelihood than ever before. "We can do many things in our country and change our lives. There are many reasons for migration, but we have the capacity to change our lives in the country."

Returnees are expected to share their experiences to others who are ready to go abroad legally or illegally. But, what the Premier has done is praiseworthy.

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