Ethiopia: Abiy's First Year in the Eyes of Political Parties

PM Abiy Ahmed and Eritrea's President Isaias Afwerki (screenshot).

Addis Ababa — Today is exactly one-year since Abiy Ahmed took office as the Prime Minister of Ethiopia.

He was appointed as the country's new Prime Minister following the in-depth inter-party renewal that led to sweeping reform across the country.

His appointment came after the former Premier Hailemairm Desalegn has resigned in lieu of paving the way the nationwide reform.

In just a few months after he assumed power, Premier Abiy has lifted the state of emergency, set free numerous prisoners, allowed dissidents to return home and restore various Television channels and websites that once banned.

Above all, Abiy announced that his government has fully accepted the Algiers Agreement ending a two decade border stand-off with Eritrea, in the process normalizing relations with the long-time arch foe.

His diplomatic moves has reshaped the regional relations on the Horn of Africa more than ever through fostering regional integration among neighboring countries.

On his inaugural speech, Abiy has pledged his preparation to sustain economic development, peace and stability in Ethiopia.

Ensuring inclusive participation and benefit of women and the youth in the socio-economic and political feature of the country, starting peaceful dialogue with neighboring Eritrea and political were among the main agendas that he pledged a year ago.

Following his vow, many has returned home from abroad after years of in exile hoping to contribute their part for the revitalization of the country.

Sidama National Democratic Party and Hibre Hizib are among the parties that returned home aspiring to contribute for the development of the nation.

Speaking to ENA, Head of Organizational Affairs for Sidam National Democratic Party, Kasa Ayele said the ongoing comprehensive reform under the leadership of Prime Minister Abiy, has brought remarkable changes within a year.

According to him the change has succeeded because of the pressure from the public and the willingness from the government to host different perspectives.

"We were returned to our country with a hope and expectation that the government would prepare dialogues and discussions with political parties including us, and now we found that we are able to struggle freely as the democratic environment is now widen," he said.

Furthermore, his party now motivated to carry on its peaceful struggle for the benefit of the society as now the National Electoral Board (NBE) gives an approval as a legal political party in the country, he said.

The Chairman said, "We are now on the process of restructuring our political organization from the bottom to the top and we are interested to cooperate with the government and other political parties for the benefit of our people."

Hibre Hizib Party Deputy Chairperson, Askale Haile, said that her party returned home from exile after Prime Minister Abiy has invited political parties to create a culture of nonviolent dialogue.

She stated that "so far the change has encouraging progress, especially in opening the stage for expression of different thoughts and being inclusive and participatory by the whole society."

Noting that sustaining the reform is the responsibility of the whole people, Askale said and adding "we all have the responsibility to maintain the change".

The country is marking the day in honor of Prime Minister Abiy's first year anniversary through several events such as photo exhibition, dialogue and discussions.

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