Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s Poor Decisions and Rise in Hate Crimes
Located in the northeastern part of Africa, Ethiopia is home to over 102 million people and shares borders with Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, Kenya, and Djibouti. It is considered to be the first region from which humans began discovering the middle east and other locations. After the resignation of Hailemariam Desalegn, Abiy Ahmed was elected Prime Minister and has been in office since April 2018. At age 42 Ahmed is the first Omoro to lead Ethiopia. Being raised through a prolonged civil war, Abiy Ahmed went through the ranks of the Ethiopian military and became a politician which resulted in becoming the Prime Minister of Ethiopia; once in complete power, he freed thousands of convicted criminals, leading to brutal hate crimes–facing opposition from his own people–he remains in full control of Ethiopia.
Being raised through war and poverty, Ahmed had to live a childhood that most people would not imagine possible. He is from a small village called Bashasha located in the southwestern part of Ethiopia. On August 15, 1976, just two years after the Ethiopian Monarchy was overthrown by the Derg military regime, Ahmed was born. His father Ahmed Ali, is an Oromo Muslim, and is an admired representative of the Beshasha community. “Most young men from Beshasha aspire to open a business in the nearby town of Agaro and become the next rich and successful coffee trader” (Aga). Ahmed was different. He wanted to be much more than a coffee trader.
Even though he grew up in a small village, Ahmed worked hard in school and enjoyed learning new things from people older than him. He believed that he could learn many things just from his surroundings. Ahmed’s sister once stated, “Abiy was a role model to his friends and was always encouraging them to take studying and learning seriously” (Aga). Ahmed took education seriously and took pride in the knowledge he obtained.
In the 6th grade he left to continue his education in the nearby town of Agaro. “Abiy Ahmed’s teenage years were filled with turmoil as the country was at war and the majority of people were discontented and looking for a way out” (Aga). After the death of his brother, Ahmed was shook and reevaluated the life he was living. His childhood was hard fought, and did not come easy to a small village boy from Bashasha.
From joining the Ethiopian military, to becoming a politician, Ahmed’s journey to become Prime Minister was not an easy task. Ahmed joined the OPDO or the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization in 1991. In the ODPO “he was put in charge of an intelligence unit that’s mission was to observe, analyze, detect, and report positions of the Eritrean Military” (Aga). He decided to leave the Ethiopian Defense Forces and pursue a career in politics. Ahmed joined the Ethiopian House of Representatives in 2010, and focused on the technology. While in the House of Representatives, he also led Oromia Urban Development and Planning Office.
Previous Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn resigned in February 2018, and “brought forth a fervently contested leadership election for the first time in Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front history” (Aga). Ahmed decided to run as the chairman of OPDO. “Ahmed’s main competitor was Demeke Mekonnen, but dropped out only a few hours before the election” (Aga). On March 27, 2018, Ahmed was elected Prime Minister and was sworn in six days later. The Prime Minister position was not easily achievable but Ahmed rose through the Ethiopian military and government to earn this accomplishment.
Since being elected, Ahmed has freed thousands of convicted criminals, which has led to brutal hate crimes and riots throughout Ethiopia. Most of the criminals had been charged with incitement to violence. “Ethiopia has failed to protect its citizens and escalating violence has internally displaced nearly a million people in the last 6 months” (Root). Being internally displaced means to be forced out of his or her home but remain in his or her country’s borders. Maasho states “Ethiopia had more internally displaced people than any other country in the first half of 2018.”
Most outsiders have no idea that this is an occurring problem because “press freedom in Ethiopia is severely restricted, and is dominated by state-owned broadcasters and government-oriented newspapers” (Ethiopia). This is an advantage for Ahmed and the country of Ethiopia because they can control what is released to the public. The worst crimes imaginable can go under the radar because of press freedom being restricted. Brutal hate crimes committed by thousands of freed criminals are going unnoticed and has caused millions of people to be internally displaced, left without a way of life.
Having only led his country for six months, Ahmed is already facing opposition from Ethiopian citizens for not fulfilling their needs. Upon being elected “he was seen by many as outspoken and competent, with a participatory leadership style” (Abiy Ahmed: Ethiopia’s Prime Minister). Millions of people have counted on Ahmed to rebuild their country but with his ridiculous reforms, has failed to do so. “The Tigrayan People’s’ Liberation Front, which used to dominate the ruling coalition, has criticised some of the reforms he has introduced and said there had not been enough consultation” (Abiy Ahmed: Ethiopia’s Prime Minister).
Ahmed likes to change the way things are done before having discussions about them with other political leaders. Having this type of personality has angered the Ethiopian population and in June, 2018 “Abiy Ahmed was targeted in an attack, with two people killed in an explosion at a rally held to show support for him” (Abiy Ahmed: Ethiopia’s Prime Minister). From the outside Ahmed looks like a great person, and an even better leader. From the viewpoint of an Ethiopian citizen, he is someone who makes decisions before thinking about the consequences for his people and country. After growing up through war and poverty, Abiy Ahmed joined the military and was a politician for Ethiopia. Once elected Prime Minister, he freed thousands of criminals leading to hate crimes. He remains in full control despite being faced with opposition from his own people.
Ahmed was not born with advantages, and had to work hard to achieve what he has become. Ahmed realized early that education was important and gained knowledge from anyone he could. After serving in the military and having a seat in the House of Representatives, Ahmed ran for Prime Minister and won the election. Once in power, he made many reforms that angered the people of Ethiopia but he still remains in full control.
Due to the fact that freedom of press is illegal in Ethiopia, it is hard to find information about the crimes that take place in this country. The government does not want any information being released to the public about the crimes that occur. Ethiopian crime is worth studying because it can show how the people of Ethiopia have no freedom, and how the quality of life is slowly decreasing. With the number of internally displaced people in Ethiopia, it is easy to help. There are numerous websites where you can donate money to help children that are struggling to live their everyday lives.