The new Ethiopian prime minister, in a pacifying and unifying move on Friday, arrived at Mekele city, the capital of the Tigray regional state in northern Ethiopia, to a rapturous welcome.
Addressing the crowd assembled at the Martyrs’ Village, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali, who hails from Oromia, spoke in the Tigrigna language to a cheering gathering.
“The people of Tigray, together with people in other regions, fought for the prevalence of democracy in Ethiopia,” he said.
He said the Tigray region was the epicenter of Ethiopia’s ancient civilization, philosophy, art, music, and religion. “It is impossible to think of Ethiopia without Tigray, which, together with the rest of Ethiopian peoples, defended the maintained unity of Ethiopia.”
Ali noted that the Tigray people had spearheaded the armed struggle against the former Dergue regime, making huge sacrifices that resulted in establishing a constitutional order in the country.
“Creating jobs, deepening good governance, making a united effort to make poverty a history, are top priorities,” he said. “The burning issues of the time is peace and development.”
Prime Minister Ali came to the helm, replacing the former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who resigned in February this year.
After assuming office, the new prime minister visited the Ambo town, the epicenter of the Oromo anti-government protests, the Somali region, which saw clashes between the ethnic Oromo and Somalis, resulting in massive displacements and hundreds of deaths, and his latest visit was to the Tigray State.
The Tigray State is the home of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which has been regarded by many as the mover and shaker of the four-party ruling coalition Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).
It is widely hoped that the new prime minister, who hails from Oromia, would straighten out the skewed power structure by rendering the government, the army, and the intelligence more inclusive and healthier.