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The Debate – Which way for Ethiopia? Abiy cracks down on regional revolts ahead of elections

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Can the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia keep it together? Change has become increasingly bloody it seems since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi, a Tigrean whose home region is now in open revolt against the central government. There, conventional fighting is morphing into guerrilla warfare with reprisals against civilians fuelling a vicious circle. Elsewhere, regional and ethnic tensions are also on the rise.

In the middle of it all, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is on the campaign trail ahead of June general elections. The poll, originally scheduled for last August, was delayed due to Covid-19. We ask about the viability of the vote in conflict areas and whether the elections will bolster or further undermine the legitimacy of a leader who won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for burying the hatchet with neighbouring Eritrea but who’s since struggled to live up to his billing as a reformer and a reconciler. 

Produced by Charles Wente, Juliette Laurain and Imen Mellaz.

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