Ethiopia’s Social Media Users Express High Hopes As Abiy Ahmed’s Imminent Prime Minister Ceremony Approaches
Announcement of Abiy Ahmed's (PhD) appointment Tuesday night as chairman of Ethiopia's ruling party had a great impact on the Ethiopian Social Media Landscape
In the past two days, Ethiopians and the world are witnessing an extraordinarily jubilant storm of social media activity following a major ruling party appointment. Ever since Ethiopia’s prime minister offered his resignation people have been in a state of anticipation as one party meeting followed another.
If social media reactions were counted as ballot box votes few would contest the unprecedented popular support expressed for Abiy Ahmed’s appointment as chairman of the EPRDF on Tuesday night. As soon as Fana Broadcasting and Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation announced his landslide victory Ethiopia’s social media climate changed drastically. A cursory glance at the comment sections of political and in many cases even regular posts before Tuesday would reveal dissatisfaction and sometimes bitter vitriol.
Yet, literally, overnight this changed not only towards a flood of jubilatory congratulatory remarks towards the new permanent head of state of Ethiopia, Dr. Abiy Ahmed but also people confidently making suggestions and recommendations.
One individual even posted his personal phone number after listing a series of decisive action items for the young chairman of the ruling coalition, EPRDF. What were vitriol-filled comments associated with the unprecedented protests in Ethiopia that began over two years ago, suddenly overnight revealed glimmers of hopefulness and signs of high expectations
The EBC announcement which came close to midnight on Tuesday amassed thousands of views by the morning. Close observers of Ethiopian agree that the country is at a crossroads. One of the symptoms of this was dissatisfaction and sometimes outrage voiced in thousands of comments on government and government-affiliated facebook pages. This problem disappeared, at least, as far as the posts below are concerned.
Well-wishers followed one another in quick procession. As of this writing (March 29, 2018), the breaking news post that generated the comments below has been shared 5,839 times from the EBC page and likes and comments have reached 6.5 thousand. This is an astounding number and the nature of the comments included part of an event of historical proportions.
The landslide victory by 108 votes was announced by EBC close to midnight on Tuesday, March 27, 2018
The overall effect of the EPRDF meeting result is visible in the Google Trends. This analysis shows Interest over time. 100 indicates the peak popularity of the search term in this case “Abiy Ahmed”
Interestingly, many of the pundits who predicted the outcome of the race were very wrong. A large number expected Demeke Mekonnen’s victory, but he didn’t even participate in the race.
All in all, it seems that Ethiopia is developing a new breed of politician. This evolution is most evident in what is in recent months been designated as Team Lemma. This group is named after Lemma Mergessa, who is widely regarded as the selfless leader in the background, who wisely set up Abiy Ahmed (PH.D.) for victory.
As the country awaits Abiy Ahmed’s imminent swearing-in ceremony on Monday large swaths of the population are eager to enjoy his oratory in his first speech as the head of state of Ethiopia.
Be as it is, there are many especially on Twitter who deliver their congratulations with reservations.
Major voices in Ethiopian politics express a nuanced analysis which culminates in doubts about the amount of power this new Prime Minister will be able to wield while in office.
“He will have to conduct deep structural reforms,” reads one tweet, adding the popular #abiyahmed hashtag. The feelings of some, who are less optimistic, are captured in one tweet which reads “expectations placed on this guy are too high and I am afraid that folks are bound to be disappointed.”
Numerous tweet posts indicate a need for immediate steps and some are wary of Abiy Ahmed’s efficacy in this regard.
World News Outlets Report on Abiy Ahmed’s Appointment
Twitter’s Top Story under the #ethiopia hashtag as of Friday, March 30 2018
In the excitement, many biographical facts about the new imminent Prime Minister of Ethiopia are getting mangled. For instance, many claims that he is the first ethnic Oromo to lead Ethiopia. Others, seem to think he is a Moslem. In actual fact, even a cursory glance at Ethiopian history will show that numerous leaders of Ethiopia had Oromo ethnicity. In addition, Abiy Ahmed is widely believed to be a Protestant.
Below is one clarification of this matter, reposted by a popular Addis Ababa journalist. This post is from March 29, 2018, two days after the announcement.
Related: Tesfaye Dinka (Wikipedia)
Reputable news sources are rallying to bring credible information to the forefront. For instance, Africa News has published a story, “Ethiopia’s new PM Abiy Ahmed takes office on April 2” which you can find here.
On March 28th, Amnesty International released an article “Incoming Ethiopian prime minister must address deep-rooted human rights crisis” which is an interesting read.
Notably on March 28th, the New York Times released an article “Ethiopia Seeks Calm with a New Leader”
Most world outlets laud Abiy Ahmed’s military and academic credentials, his long experience in public service and oratorical skills. A recent BBC news sites Kibour Gena, a prominent Ethiopia as saying, “There are priority assignments forwarded by the party that await the new PM, and at the top of his list of priorities will be the state of emergency and bringing peace.”
Stay tuned to Diretube for developments on this and other stories.