Ethiopian Prime Minister vows to hold credible election


Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Tuesday promised to hold credible multiparty elections, ensure peace and complete the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), despite Egyptian objections. 

Defending his reformist agenda, the Nobel Laureate Ahmed, 43, said that his administration has enacted a credible electoral legislation and set up an independent institution, capable to conduct free and fair elections.

Earlier, several MPs expressed concern at the government’s ability to ensure peace, rule of law and hold peaceful and competitive national poll.

Responding to questions, Ahmed said that holding free and fair elections, scheduled next year, was the highest priority of his administration.

“Yes, there are problems and challenges related to peace and rule of law. However, a legitimate government can only come through the process of national poll, “he said.

He said people were looking at participating in elections without violence. He asked political parties to ensure the exercise is conducted in peaceful means.

“On our part, as a government, we will curtail the activities of trigger- crazy old- fashioned politicians who instigate and profit from violent conflicts. We have been building efficient institutions of peace, and independent law enforcement agencies tasked to ensure peace and rule of law,’’ he said.

Ahmed also said that his government has generated a home-grown economic transformation, aimed at enhancing people-centered economic growth.

‘’We are planning to bring about macroeconomic imbalance, sectoral and structural reform and contain and reverse the sky-rocketing inflation,’’ he noted, expecting the economy to perform better in coming years.

On the $4.8 billion hydro dam under construction since 2011, and a source of discord with Egypt, Ahmed said his country will go ahead with the dam. He, however, sought to assure

Egypt and Sudan, that their interests would not be harmed.

‘’We will continue construction regardless of the unfounded fear and the military threat from our Egyptian brothers. We will listen to the Egyptians and I will meet President El-Sisi in the coming days at the Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi,” he said.

‘’We are capable of self-defense, but war is not a solution,’’ he added.

Egypt recently demanded a neutral arbitrator to solve the dispute, over wide-ranging issues related to the dam. Ethiopia, however, rejected the idea.

A trilateral technical committee of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia also failed to reach to any agreement. Ethiopia blamed Egypt for its failure, for putting up new demands.
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