In his first Q&A with local and foreign medias PM Abiy Ahmed addressed several topics ranging from economy, political stability, fake news and his well being. Over hundred local journalists representing several local medias attended the press conference including the likes of diaspora media ESAT and OMN who were recently allowed to operate in Ethiopia.
Despite high anticipation from netizens the press conference was not televised live or streamed. As a result the public had to wait until the media’s rerun the press conference after two hours.
In his response with regards to question raised about death of Engineer Simegnew, the PM emphasized in the need to wait patiently for police investigation report taking into consideration the limitation of forensic technology in the country. Apart from that the PM told the press that the last time he met with the engineer was 2 months ago during a site visit to the dam. After his return from the US the PM mentioned that he had a phone conversation with Simegnew families and wasn’t able to meet them in person due to his workload related to instability in eastern Ethiopia.
In a related note the PM blamed METEC for their incompetency and failure in delivering their part. His speech clearly mocked METEC as a company who have been awarded GERD dam project without seeing one before in their entire life. He hopes the project will succeed by subcontracting the part METEC was lagging behind.
In a question that relates to TPLF resistance to his reform the PM responded by highlighting that each party within EPRDF has its own small pocket of resistance and it is to be expected. He believes the reform work from the top has just started and will take time to transform the lower level system. He was also affirmed that his party will not postpone 2020 election despite rumors. In his statement PM Abiy stated that he will considers himself only as a leader of Ethiopia if he manages to win the upcoming election.
The PM admitted the delayed response in handling the Jigjiga situation which has costed the lives of several innocents. However, he highlighted on the complexity of the situation and that it needed a careful approach. The PM referred the region as the worst part of Ethiopia when it comes to human right abuses where the former administration intimidate dissidents by jailing along with hyenas and lions. According to the PM had it not been for the full understanding of the Djibouti President the chaos could have spilled over neighboring country causing regional crisis. As to the fate of former Somali region president Abdi Illey the PM responded the justice system will handle the case.
Among the key highlights of his address was his response to the economy in which for the first time he stated to media that World Bank will be injecting 1 billion USD in direct deposit to assist the economy.
The PM relates World Bank support as a proof that the country is heading in the right reform direction and that is welcomed by several donors who cut ties with the country due to political instability.
While answering the possibility of having Oromiffa as a federal working language, the PM mentioned the trend of having more than one working language is not new to the rest of the world even mentioning neighboring countries like Eritrea and Kenya. As a result he said he sees no problem in having multiple working languages and even encourages Ethiopians to learn more than one language to strengthen ties between the people of Ethiopia.
PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed concluded his two hours press conference by responding to the rumors that were circulating about his well being after his return from the US. In his response he affirmed that he has never felt healthier than ever and always rely on Ethiopian mothers prayers than hospital.