Abiy Ahmed, who was unanimously endorsed by the Ethiopian House People’s Representatives as Ethiopia’s Prime Minister on Monday, vowed to ensure unity and equality among Ethiopians in socioeconomic and political scenarios.
Ahmed, Chairman of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), said in his first speech as premier before the Ethiopian parliament’s lower house that “now is the moment to look back and make amends with the past, assess our current stance, and look to the future.”
Describing Ethiopia’s current situation as both an opportunity and a threat, Ahmed stressed that “we are in the midst of uncertain times. Although there have been achievements, there are also formidable challenges.”
“We need to address existing inequalities that led to recent unrests,” Ahmed said.
“We will continue to respect the rights of citizens, the right to question, criticize and hold its public servants to accountability.”
Ahmed’s premiership of the East African country came after recurrent unrests and mass anti-government demonstrations in parts of the country, particularly in Ethiopia’s largest Oromia regional state where Ahmed has a strong support.
Ahmed also gave due emphasis to youth and women empowerment and the fight against corruption as his administration’s major targets together with broader investments in education, agriculture and health sectors.
The Ethiopian House People’s Representatives is entirely controlled by the ruling EPRDF and its affiliate parties, which holds all the active 547 seats.
Ahmed, also chairman of Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO), which rules over Oromia, replaced former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
Desalegn resigned following incessant unrest and violent demonstrations that rocked the country since the second half of 2016.
AU commends smooth transition
Meanwhile, the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, has welcomed the smooth power transition in Ethiopia and vowed to work closely with the new Prime Minister in various development sectors.
Ethiopia hosts the headquarters of the AU.
Mahamat, who congratulated Ahmed on his confirmation as the new Prime Minister of the East African country on Monday, welcomed the peaceful and smooth nature of the transition, calling the move as “a demonstration of political maturity.”
The chairperson further commended former premier Desalegn “for his commitment and contribution to the advancement of Ethiopia and the continent as a whole.”
Mahamat further reiterated AU’s full support to the Ethiopian government and people as they strive to achieve greater strides in the interest of their country, the region and the entire continent, according to the statement.
The chairperson also vowed to work closely with Ahmed towards the achievement of the objectives set in Agenda 2063, including the promotion of peace and security and the advancement of continental integration.
Mahamat is “convinced that, under the leadership of the new Prime Minister, Ethiopia will successfully meet the tasks at hand and further consolidate the remarkable socio-economic progress it has made over the past two decades,” according to the statement issued by the AU.
Mahamat also commended Ethiopians for their ability to mitigate recent challenges, saying that “throughout their long and proud history, the Ethiopian people have shown their ability to overcome challenges and unite in the pursuit of the higher interest of their country.”