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Ex-minister accuses Abiy Ahmed of allowing Eritrea President to "rape" Ethiopia

By East Africa Correspondent , Garowe Online

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia - A former minister in the Ethiopian government now says Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed has lost track by working closely with Eritrea President Isaias Afwerki to ruin Ethiopia from within, something which could trigger differences within the Horn of Africa nations, which have a "difficult" history.

For many years, Eritrea and Ethiopia were embroiled in a tussle over a common border point, something which triggered deadly clashes between Addis Ababa and Asmara. In fact, since 1998, no Eritrean leader nor the Ethiopian team even visited each other until 2018 when Abiy Ahmed took over as Ethiopia's Prime Minister.

Seyoum Mesfin, who is Ethiopia's former Foreign Affairs Minister, told Tigray Mass Media Agency, the official broadcaster for the Tigray region, that Abiy Ahmed was letting Afwerki to "rape" Ethiopia. Abiy Ahmed and Afwerki brokered a peace deal that so the two nations bury their traditional differences.

The peace deal led to Abiy's Nobel Peace Prize recognition in 2019, becoming the first person from the Horn of Africa to ever win the lucrative award. He has been projecting himself as a peace ambassador within the Horn of Africa despite critics accusing him of dictatorship, something he has often denied.

And a furious Mesfin further termed Abiy Ahmed as “former Ethiopian Prime Minister,” asserting that he has ended in the term in office. The Prime Minister has been at loggerheads with leaders from the Tigray region of Ethiopia, who even went on to conduct elections even as NEBE ruled out the possibility of having polls in August.

The region predominantly subscribes to Tigray People's Liberation Front [TPLF] which broke ties with the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Front, which Abiy has also since abandoned for the Prosperity Party. TPLF refused to be part of the new formation, arguing that Ahmed was keen to dismantle existing institutions.

Unlike the TPLF era Ethiopia when Seyoum Mesfin’s party was mocking the idea of a transitional government, he is now calling for a technocrats “transitional government” in Ethiopia. Seyoum justified TPLF resistance to the idea of transitional government before 2018 saying that “there was an elected government during that time. Now there is no elected government.”

Dr. Ahmed was to face an election in August but it was postponed following the surging Coronavirus pandemic. He is likely to face challenges from TPLF and the media magnet Jawar Mohamed, who just like him, comes from the Oromo region, but whose popularity has been on an upward trajectory.

The criticism comes at the time Afwerki is concluding his three-day working tour in Ethiopia following Ahmed's invitation. The two leaders have been touring various projects including the controversial Grand Renaissance Dam, which has put Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt at loggerheads.

Ethiopia has also been facing instability from within with ethnic tensions raising every day. Over 150 people have been killed in ethnic related violence but Abiy Ahmed has been accusing his competitors of fueling the crisis by inciting people against his young administration.

After expressing disdain at the killings in Metekel Zone, Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen recently stated that civilians must be enabled to “defend themselves” against the continued attacks.

He said that “there is no other option” for the locals other than “organizing and arming themselves” to build a strong defense. In a discussion with the Zone’s leadership and the Zone’s Command Post in the Metekel, Benishangul Gumuz, the deputy PM discussed the current situation in the zone and outlined the efforts being made in collaboration with the community to resolve the security issues in the area.