Ethiopia PM says individuals, entities want to make Gurage people “November Donkey”

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on the weekend accused unnamed individuals and entities of wanting to make Gurage people a “November Donkey”.

“If you ask why is there some problem in Wolkite city, some individuals who claim to represent Gurage people in coordination with other forces want to make Gurage a November Donkey. November Donkey means, a donkey which everybody loads (crop yields) on its back since November is a crop cultivation period,” the PM said. 

The PM made the strange remark during discussions with “Gurage peoples political and societal representatives” in Wolkite city, capital of Gurage zone in Ethiopia’s southern region over the weekend. The remark was broadcast on state media outlets on Sunday evening. 

“There is no reason for Gurage to come out on the streets taking some other person’s agenda. It’s not right for Gurage to take other people’s agenda,” Abiy told the meeting. 

The PM also seemed to address the recent violent security forces crackdown on water shortage protestors in Wolkite, urging for the use of a traditional Gurage justice mechanism to find redress to victims and victims’ families. 

“Regarding the previous mistake since you have blood Kicha (Gurage traditional dispute resolution system) in your system devise a solution for the (mistake) as per this (system),” Abiy said.  

Last month, security forces fired on water shortage protestors in Wolkite city killing up to six people and injuring scores. 

The Ethiopian PM also addressed widespread popular sentiment about “pervasive corruption” in his administration, denying that his government steals any money from the population. 

“I want to tell you with certainty that we don’t steal one birr from our people. Apart from working tirelessly to bring peace, development and unity in Ethiopia we don’t have a place where we steal and store money. We don’t desire it and we won’t need it,” Abiy further said.

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