Lessons of history catch up with Ethiopia’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed

Lessons of history catch up with Ethiopia’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed

A failed coup in Ethiopia has exposed the tensions that may yet hinder attempts to turn one of Africa’s most populous states from one-party autocracy to liberal democracy. Jane Flanagan reports

Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia’s prime minister, with Jean Claude Juncker, the European Commission president, this year. Africa’s youngest leader enjoys support at home and abroad but there are concerns he is moving too fast EMMANUEL DUNAND/GETTY IMAGES

(thetimes.co.uk)—The Ethiopian prime minister’s military fatigues spoke far louder than his calm, televised plea for national unity after a bloody coup attempt that left some of his key allies dead.

Abiy Ahmed who, at 42 years old, is Africa’s youngest leader, has broken the continent’s mould of ageing, overbearing strongmen in his high-stakes attempt to transform Ethiopia from de facto one-party autocracy to modern liberal democracy.

The gun attack on regional government offices last week in which senior officials were killed served as a reminder of the frailty of his ambitions. It also prompted the former army intelligence officer to adopt the traditional military camouflage persona to address the nation on state television.

The bloodshed in the twitchy northern state of Amhara was led by…