Ethiopia's Abiy Ahmed won the Nobel Peace Prize with a 'bridge of love' and an unorthodox approach

Abiy Ahmed has ridden roughshod over establishment figures to change Ethiopia
Abiy Ahmed has ridden roughshod over establishment figures to change Ethiopia Credit: MICHAEL TEWELDE/AFP via Getty Images

The Nobel Committee’s decision to award its Peace Prize to Abiy Ahmed, the prime minister of Ethiopia,三级成人视频 marks a return to tradition.

Mr Abiy is a peacemaker of the old school. For starters, he has actually signed a peace deal, agreeing a treaty last year to end Ethiopia’s long-running border conflict with its neighbour Eritrea.

The war was a vicious one. Tens of thousands were killed, mostly in trench warfare, during the active phase of hostilities from 1998 to 2000. 

三级成人视频Although the war subsequently evolved into a frozen conflict, fighting along the border flared up periodically and the animosity between the two states spread instability across the Horn of Africa.

三级成人视频The peace treaty, signed in Saudi Arabia in September last year, was almost entirely down to Mr Abiy’s efforts. Promising to “build a bridge of love” across the border, he flew to Asmara, the Eritrean capital, offering reconciliation and partnership.

Isaias Afwerki, the Eritrean dictator, had no choice but to respond. Diplomatic relations were restored. Flights and phone connections between the two countries resumed. The border was re-opened, allowing families to be reunited for the first time in two decades.

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki was welcomed by Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed when he visited the country in July 2018 Credit: AP Photo Mulugeta Ayene, File

Eritrea was not alone in feeling Mr Abiy’s magic touch. In the 18 months since he came to office last year, he has transformed his own country, not long ago one of the most repressive in Africa.

He lifted a ban on opposition parties, freed thousands of political prisoners and put officials accused of torture on trial. 

三级成人视频He also dismantled a brutal regime in Ethiopia’s Somali region, putting former detainees in power while the governor who tormented them was detained and charged. Regional rebels swiftly laid down their weapons in response.

三级成人视频To achieve all this, though he probably would not like the comparison, Mr Abiy had to behave like an Ethiopian Donald Trump. In order to maintain momentum and stop the bureaucracy bogging him down, he rode roughshod over the old guard and by-passed ministries.

Officials rarely knew what the prime minister would do next. Even his foreign ministry reportedly did not know Mr Abiy was in Eritrea until officials read about in on social media. In effect, the prime minister was draining the establishment swamp.

Yet it could all misfire. Mr Abiy has earned himself plenty of enemies. He has already escaped an assassination attempt. By loosening the grasp of the state, he has effectively allowed ethnic violence to surge in parts of the country.

Earlier this month, 20 people were killed in the north during clashes between special forces and an ethnic militia. Such episodes have become common and some fret that Ethiopia could even disintegrate.

P三级成人视频eace with Eritrea might not hold either. Mr Isaias needs confrontation with Ethiopia to justify his repressive policies, in particular conscription. Without warning or explanation, the Eritrean president has again closed the border, probably because tens of thousands of his own people fled across it.

It comes as no surprise, therefore, that the Nobel Committee did not nominate Mr Isaias to share Friday’s peace prize.

三级成人视频And in naming Mr Abiy instead, the committee may believe it has shored up his increasingly vulnerable domestic position. Old regime diehards are itching to oust the prime minister. The international opprobrium they would face by forcibly overthrowing a Nobel peace laureate might just prompt them to think twice.