When accepting his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Abiy Ahmed, who is Ethiopia’s prime minister, confirmed that today, social media is used to build division and hate. It is one thing that has undermined the delicate political transition in Ethiopia. Ethiopia’s PM speech in the Nobel peace ceremony had the following details.
The Prime Minister was being awarded for spearheading end of the long wars between Ethiopia and his neighboring country Eritrea. He revealed that digital platforms are being used to sabotage an inclusive political environment in his country. This is the wrong direction that does not support economic growth and prosperity.
Reasons for Abiy’s awards
Mr. Abiy Ahmed received the award for successfully managing to broker the end of the border dispute with Eritrea. Besides that, he was awarded for managing to bring in a new era of the good trade relationship. The committee acknowledged the political and economic changes Abiy Ahmed brought in his country since he took overpower.
When speaking before his family members, top dignitaries, and royals, Mr. Abiy, however, did not reveal which social media platforms were used to bring disunity or the people who were using them to sow discord.
Jawar Mohammed, a fierce Mr. Abiy critic, does have a substantial social media presence and is in control of media networks, which he was using to organize opposition. International Telecommunication Union research findings reveal up to 20% of Ethiopia’s 109 million populations were using the internet back in 2018.
Mr. Abiy revealed how division and hate evangelists were bringing havoc in society. They did this through the use of social media. He stated how people were preaching revenge gospel and airwaves retribution.
The PM’s rise to power
After several years of anti-government protests, Mr. Abiy managed to rise to power back in April 2018. This was after his predecessor Hailemariam Desalegn resigned. Marginalized ethnic group members started growing against the ruling party at the start of 2015 as they demanded land reforms. Besides, bringing to an end, human rights abuses and support for full participation in politics was their grievances. However, the government responded by shooting at the people who were protesting and went further to impose a state of emergency, completely cutting off internet connection.
Ethiopians living abroad used social media to help in spreading the news about the crackdown during the blackout period. This pushed the ruling party to pick Mr. Abiy, who was then a political insider with a mixed ethnic and religious background, to lead the nation.
The progress he has made
So far, Mr. Abiy has managed to make peaceful regional integration and coexistence the main priority in his administration. Ethiopia has managed to announce plans of loosening the monopoly of the state in various sectors like telecommunication and aviation. On top of that, he has managed to liberalize the central economy.
Mr. Abiy has also managed to release opposition groups and political prisoners who were said to be terrorists. He has promised to repeal and revise all the country’s repressive laws.
The efforts to open up his country did embolden forces that could undermine not just the nations’ rule but also its stability on a long term basis. Several people have been killed as more than three million people remain displaced internally due to the disputes related to ethnicity and border relations. Ethiopia’s PM speech in the Nobel peace ceremony addressed all the above issues.