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Peace Builder

22 October 2019

A leader of inclusiveness, a leader of delivery, a leader with a deep attachment  with Ethiopians and a peace builder among neighbourhood nations and beyond.  These are Dr Shiferaw Teklemariam,  Ambassador of Ethiopia in South Africa’s praises for Nobel Peace Prize recipient Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia at a celebration in his honour.

Pictured cutting the celebratory cake are (l-r) Mr Chua Thai Keong, High Commissioner of Singapore, Dr. Martha Tilahun, Honorary Consul of Ethiopia to Namibia,  Mr Bene M’Poko, Dean of the diplomatic corps and Ambassador of the DRC, Dr. Shiferaw Teklemariam, Ambassador of Ethiopia, Mr Mbulelo Bungane, East Africa Chief Director of DIRCO, Ms Nardos Bekele Thomas, UN Resident Coordinator and Mrs Astrid Emilie Helle, Ambassador of Norway

In awarding Prime Minister Abiy the Peace Prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee in a statement said,  “ The Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019 to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea. The prize is also meant to recognise all the stakeholders working for peace and reconciliation in Ethiopia and in the East and Northeast African regions.


Photo: Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia

“In Ethiopia, even if much work remains, Abiy Ahmed has initiated important reforms that give many citizens hope for a better life and a brighter future. He spent his first 100 days as Prime Minister lifting the country’s state of emergency, granting amnesty to thousands of political prisoners, discontinuing media censorship, legalising outlawed opposition groups, dismissing military and civilian leaders who were suspected of corruption, and significantly increasing the influence of women in Ethiopian political and community life. He has also pledged to strengthen democracy by holding free and fair elections.

“In the wake of the peace process with Eritrea, Prime Minister Abiy has engaged in other peace and reconciliation processes in East and Northeast Africa. In September 2018 he and his government contributed actively to the normalisation of diplomatic relations between Eritrea and Djibouti after many years of political hostility. Additionally, Abiy Ahmed has sought to mediate between Kenya and Somalia in their protracted conflict over rights to a disputed marine area. There is now hope for a resolution to this conflict. In Sudan, the military regime and the opposition have returned to the negotiating table. On the 17th of August, they released a joint draft of a new constitution intended to secure a peaceful transition to civil rule in the country. Prime Minister Abiy played a key role in the process that led to the agreement.”

At the celebration at the Embassy of Ethiopia in Pretoria among the many heads of mission, officials, dignitaries and Ethiopia Nationals Ambassador Shiferaw said that in applying Prime Minister Abiy’s philosophy of inclusiveness   he was able to achieve these major successes.  These may be oversimplified when done, but in its absence a great deal of suffering is an imminent finding.  

Both Ambassador Shiferaw, as well as Ambassador Mbulelo Bungane of Dirco mentioned   PM Abiy’s book of Inclusiveness, MEDEMER which was launched on October 19 2019. One million copies were printed. Ambassador Bungane referred to the book when he quoted Nelson Mandela, “It always seems impossible until it is done.”  The book outlines a vision, a road map, a call to action and an appeal to common sense. It articulates how diversity can be reconciled to forge for a better future together.

Mr Bene M’Poko, Dean of the diplomatic corps and Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Congo in his address said that Africa is not associated with peace, but Africa is leading in Peace laureates. Ubuntu, he said, is part of African culture and going back to basics, to inclusiveness, may be Africa’s solution.

Mr Chua Thai Keong, High Commissioner of Singapore, said that PM Abiy is a courageous leader with great vision. He said that PM Abiy brought honour to the Peace Prize just as the Peace Prize brought honour to him. He also said that there can be no development without peace and no peace without development.

The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded by a committee of five persons selected by the Norwegian Storting (parliament). Mrs Astrid Emilie Helle, Ambassador of Norway, said that she is proud that this Committee is from peace-loving Norway, a country from which the first Secretary General of the United Nations hailed. She said that she felt privileged to be in South Africa where the first African Peace laureate was awarded. She congratulated PM Abiy and encouraged him to capitalize on peace, to create an environment where people can live free from poverty and discrimination and live with dignity.

Ms Nardos Bekele Thomas, UN Resident Coordinator and Dr. Martha Tilahun, Honorary Consul of Ethiopia to Namibia also spoke highly of PM Abiy and commended him for his vision and inclusivity.

The United Ethiopian Community Association and Ethiopian Professionals and Academicians Association in Southern Africa also expressed their excitement and support for PM Abiy for his winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

Ambassador Shiferaw said that Ethiopians have never been awarded a Nobel Prize before. “We have to deeply investigate and correct why this great nation had to wait such long time to win a Nobel Prize.  Prime Minister Abiy made such history in his personal capacity that Ethiopians are now motivated to challenge all fields of NOBEL PRIZES for the betterment of the future and beyond.” 




February/March 2020
















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