Church and State in Abiy Ahmed’s Ethiopia: a week of visits to and from the Palace
Abiy Ahmed’s swearing-in ceremony was on October 4 following the June Federal election. The election didn’t include the election of MPs from three out of the nine federal regions. The nomination and approval of the over 20 Federal Cabinet Ministers was thus done in the absence of representatives from three regions and constituencies from the six regions where elections were not held in June.
Unprecedented in recent history was the big fanfare that included an open-air celebration of Abiy Ahmed’s swearing-in at the largest square of the country, Meskel Square with a lot of parades and choreographed shows. In the weeks and months before October 4, delegations led by the Abiy Ahmed himself and his senior officials went to capital cities in African countries to invite their leaders to attend the swearing-in ceremony. Some did.
A notable figure to miss the parliament session and the open-air celebration was His Holiness (HH) Mathias I, Patriarch of Ethiopia, Head of Archbishops, Archbishop of Axum, and Etchege of the See of Teklehaymanot.
The head of the Church with more than 40 million followers has been sidelined by Abiy Ahmed for fear of his speaking up about #TigrayGenocide and his calling for negotiations. When he got a chance, he did speak up about the genocide, albeit in a video message recorded by a visitor, not through his own church media and any mainstream media. His access to church and state media has been severely limited by a committee spearheaded by Abiy Ahmed’s close ally Daniel Kibret a prominent figure both in the palace and the church.
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