Touted by the Americans, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been...

Mar 28 , 2020

Touted by the Americans, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been the darling of the West. Never mind that the Middle Eastern emirs are behind his off the budget indulgence in paying for the passionate projects of his immediate surroundings.

It is very hard to say as much about the attitude toward him by many of the leaders in Africa, claims gossip. Some like Yoweri Museveni of Uganda may see him as a young man popping up in the scene but hyperactive above his pay grade, gossip says. Paul Kagame of Rwanda could have a bias against Abiy due to the development model he might have emulated from the late Meles Zenawi, to whom he had the greatest admiration, says gossip.

Abiy's bizarre design in Somalia, in complete contrast to the long-held foreign policy stances of successive leaders in Ethiopia, has obviously pitted him head-on with Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, says gossip. Abiy`s relationship with Somalia`s Mohamed A. Mohamed, aka Farmaajo, is mainly shaped by the latter's affinity with Eritrea's Issayas Afeworqi, according to gossip. It is interesting to note that among all the leaders Prime Minister Abiy had called last week to coordinate a regional response in the Horn of Africa, President Issayas was a notable absence, gossip disclosed.

While Muse Bihi Abdi of Somaliland is known to have anxiety over Abiy's policy toward Somalia in general, Djibouti`s Ismael O. Guelleh remains unforgiving to Ethiopia`s foreign policy infidelity with Eritrea behind his back, claims gossip. Abiy and his close aides in foreign policy circles are trying to court Sudan's rather unconsolidated leaders, including its interim Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, says gossip. Farther north, his effort in cajoling Egypt`s President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, appears to have backfired over sharp disagreements on the GERD, at a curious time when Egypt is entrenching its hold on the leaders of South Sudan, including its President, Salva Kiir, says gossip.

Despite his delicate relationships with these leaders, Ethiopia's Prime Minister is keen in pushing for a kind of regional togetherness that is closer than what the horde of leaders in the region is prepared for, according to gossip. Many of them seem to get along more out of diplomatic courtesy, unable to determine what to make of an idealist on hyper energy but driving solo, claims gossip.

Some of these initiatives, taken unilaterally, do not go down well among the circle of African leaders and their senior diplomats based in Addis Abeba, claims gossip. Abiy`s decision to insert the mantra of “Me`demer” in the banners put across the city during the AU Summit by heads of state - alongside or competing with AU`s core message of silencing guns - was a subject of ire but contained within the corridors of African diplomats, gossip recalled.

To the indignation of this circle, Ethiopia`s Prime Minister has taken upon himself the role of a spokesperson and a point man for the African continent, even though the AU has an elected chairman in the person of South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa, gossip claims. His success in persuading China's billionaire, Jack Ma of Alibaba Group, to send desperately needed medical supplies to protect lives from the Coronavirus could have been appreciated across the continent, says gossip.

However, his decision to write an official letter to the G20 leaders on the continent`s behalf without first delegated by the AU summit was considered nothing but an act of gall, claims gossip. He asked for the generous support of 150 billion dollars to ward off the virus in the continent, an amount 50 billion dollars more than what Vera Songwe of UNECA suggested earlier, gossip disclosed. The world is certainly moving to a recession not seen since the Second World War; the global economy is to lose 2.7 trillion dollars. No less than 80 countries have their leaders made the same plea to the IMF for fiscal support. Abiy`s lone voice urging the world to not forget Africa at its own peril appears to remain a distant and faint cry, claims gossip.

PUBLISHED ON Mar 28,2020 [ VOL 20 , NO 1039]

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