During his very first press conference since taking office last May, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PHD) has addressed a variety of issues, including the reform process and challenges between the parties in EPRDF, the recent conflicts in Jigjiga and the advancement of the nation's megaprojects including the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
During his two and a half-hour stay with members of the local and international press in his office, Abiy took an unusually serious tone in explaining the recent disaster in Jigjiga, Ethio Somali Regional State, and claimed that the intervention of his government was accelerated by serious human rights violations such as keeping inmates in addition to caged wild animals as an interrogation tactic that inflicts the most severe psychological damage.
The Prime Minister also stated in this context that, despite knowledge of such violations of human rights, the federal forces intervened in the most reserved and careful way to not raise further conflict in the regional state and the entire region.
"The selected murder of Djiboutian in Dire Dawa town was an orchestrated attack to bring the entire region and neighboring countries into conflict," he told journalists; and revealed that these conflicts were part of the larger plot to bring the region into conflict.
"The fate of the former leader of Ethio Somali Region is something that will be handled by law enforcement agencies," Abiy said, adding that many of the ongoing investigations regarding important cases such as the bombing of June 23 and the assassination of Sigmegnew Bekele (Eng.) Still progressing and that fact must be established before the public is informed of the findings of the investigation.
On the other hand, Abiy has also expelled speculations about TPLF, one of the four members of EPRDF, regarding cooking resistance to the reform process that he and the so-called Team Lemma is bringing. According to the Prime Minister, blaming TPLF for resisting the reform is objectionable, because the top leaders of the party, the region and the people strongly support the reform process. He further said that some who have been removed from the government office by retirement are those who oppose the reform and the renewal process; and "these people are not limited to just one party, but are present in all four parties".
Regarding the rhetoric about tacit ideological changes in the front and the leadership including him, Abiy claimed that there are no known and unknown ideological shifts in the party, but the propaganda of people resistant to reforms and changes.
The prime minister also corrected some statements that the last weeks would have said. One is the issue of GERD; Abiy noted that he visited GERD two months ago to review the process that had been carried out so far and found that electromechanical works contracted to the Metals and Engineering Corporation (MetEC) are not part of the project.
"Salini completes his part of the project on time and now demands huge payments because the project stays behind at the Metec side," Abiy told the media. "Thinking big is one thing, but achieving it is another," Abiy argued. "We have handed a complicated water vapor project to people who have not seen a dam in their lives and if we stay in that direction, the project may never see the light of day," he added.