Global acclaim for the peace he forged with Eritrea should buoy a leader facing the persecution of ethnic minorities at home
The Nobel prize awarded last week to Ethiopia’s prime minister, Dr Abiy Ahmed, honoured his achievements as a peacemaker. Most widely recognised was his success in thawing relations with Eritrea, the breakaway republic with which Ethiopia had remained on a war footing since the country gained independence in 1993.
No less significant, however, was his management of the internal conflict between the Ethiopian government and protesters in Oromia, the region surrounding Addis Ababa, the capital. Rather than attempting to shut down the protests by force, Abiy acknowledged their grievances, and opened up political space. He freed political prisoners jailed by previous administrations, and restored the legitimacy of parties formerly branded as terrorist organisations.