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UNITED KINGDOM IC PUBLICATIONS, 7 Coldbath Square, London EC1R 4LQ. TEL: +44 20 7841 3210 FAX: +44 20 7713 7898 EMAIL: editorial@icpublications.com www.newafricanmagazine.com FRANCE IC PUBLICATIONS 609 BAT A 77 RUE BAYEN 75017 Paris TEL: +33 1 44 30 81 00 EMAIL: info@icpublications.com www.icpublications.com

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4 new african july 2019

Sudan shaping Africa’s future Your recent coverage of the events in Sudan ( N e w A fr i c a n, May and June 2019) has been excellent and deeply thought-provoking. Thank you from the Sudanese community in the UK.

Only Nesrine Malik, writing for the The Guardian (UK), has given the same weight to the historic events that will shape the future of the African continent for the foreseeable future.

Hassan Al Rahim Manchester, UK

Abiy ignoring domestic issues I recently read Joseph Hammond’s analysis of the peace-making initiatives undertaken by the new Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed ( N e w A fr i c a n, May 2019). The writer has recognised Dr Abiy’s diplomatic initiatives of peace building as a huge step forward to tackling the challenges of the Horn of Africa with regards to political instability and protracted c o n fl i c t s .

Even though I appreciate the Prime Minister’s commitment to facilitating peace in the Horn of Africa in general and in restoring the relationship of Ethiopia and Eritrea back to normality in particular, I still have some reservations about his approach.

To begin with, his approach is predominantly outward-looking rather than inward-looking, as if his diplomatic tours can tackle all of his domestic challenges.

I would like to point out that most of the domestic challenges are directly or indirectly related to Ethiopia’s divisive policies which emanate from the constitution, that cements ethnic-based federalism.

Abiy’s reputation as a unifying figure stems from his persuasive speeches in which he emphasises unity rather than difference, unlike his two predecessors.

But in a country having close to 3m internally displaced people, his speeches have become mere rhetorical and on many occasions,

lack consistency. He preaches democracy and unity, yet practises divisive, Machiavellian politics by excluding non-Oromo citizens.

He is exerting every strategy to realise the hegemony of Oromo elites in power. Consequently, the support from non-Oromos in particular is deteriorating and his popularity is fading away day by day.

I am disappointed with the shallow analysis of the writer of the article. First of all, he fails to disclose where, when and how those displacements happened. The writer could have done a better job by at least adding more reliable sources to uncover the government’s selective action of supporting a particular ethnic group.

During his recent trips to Ethiopia, the author says he frequently found ‘Free Mohammed’ posters – referring to the businessman Al Amoudi, who had been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia before being freed following Abiy’s intervention – plastered on buildings and the backs of cars. He concludes that this was “attesting to the large number of supporters Al Amoudi has amongst the Oromo of Ethiopia in particular.”

It is not clear how he was able to identify the ethnic identity of the locals just by looking at them. What is the motive of the writer in doing so? Instead of referring to him as an Ethiopian-Saudi billionaire, why does he give him an ethnic identity by inference? Ethiopians have never heard Mohammed referring to himself as belonging to this or that ethnic background.

Yared Sam, Malmo, Sweden

We welcome Reader’s Comments on issues raised by the magazine. Please send your letter or email to the Editor, Anver Versi; anwarversi@gmail.com

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