Is Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed the King Solomon of the Horn and Igad?
A positive change is happening in Africa and, specifically, in the Horn region, where the youthful Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has within a few months made what looked like a big mountain to climb all of a sudden become an anthill.
The thawing of ice in a thorny relationship that had become such a big obstacle between his nation and Eritrea, and which nobody gave an iota of a chance to end, has been accomplished.
Ahmed and Eritrea’s President Isaias Afeworki, who many in this region equate with the North Korea’s tough guys, have agreed on many things — including access by the landlocked Ethiopia to Eritrea’s port and harbour.
The two nations, which share nearly everything, including culture, have almost become one again if the signed deal will live.
There are times the character of a leader helps to change things.
The secessionist Eritrea has almost been a pariah due to Aferworki’s obstinacy. But, looked at critically, the predecessors of Ahmed never put in much effort to mend fences and the whole world thought the reclusive Aferworki wanted to maintain the status quo forever.
Ahmed’s is the leadership that Africa needs. He has been in power for a short time but the enthusiasm that he has shown in ending conflicts in the Igad region, starting with President Salva Kiir and Dr Riek Machar of South Sudan meeting in Addis Ababa, and now this feat, portrays a leader with the wisdom of the biblical King Solomon.
DAVID M. KIGO, Nairobi