Have you heard Ethiopia’s New Language?

Right from the moment Abiy Ahmed was nominated the country’s Prime Minister in April 2018, it was a telltale sign of Ethiopia’s New language and a morphing Ethiopia. Coming from the largest Ethnic group; Oromo that was hunted down by previous regimes, having a Muslim father and Christian mother has made him some sort of bridge to the country’ conflicting peoples.

Ethiopia's New Language
Ethiopia’s promising Prime Minister; Abiy Ahmed

There seems to be so many positive changes pertaining to peace, reconciliation and women empowerment in this heavily patriarchal society ever since the Prime Minister came to power in the country having a population of 107 million people.

Signs of Ethiopia’s New Language and of the Morph

This guardian angel as some call him has done away with the decades long enmity between the country and neighbouring Eritrea, seeing the first airline flight land in Eritrea with dozens shedding tears of joy after being able to see family they thought they would never see.

The alleged bringing to book of senior officials, even in the army for cases of corruption and last but not least, the appointment of women into major positions of power in the last couple of months has seen the international scene fix their eyes on an African country for something great.

Senior Positions offered to women in Ethiopia this year alone

The first shocker to this patriarchal society came when the Prime Minister appointed Ms. Sahle Work to the post of Presidency, which though is a ceremonial position, it was a major step into the right direction for Ethiopia, in addition to the 20 ministerial posts being given to women thus joining Rwanda to have equal representation of women to men in parliament.

The latest development is that the Prime Minister of Ethiopia has appointed human rights lawyer Meaza Ashenafi who inspire a 2014 Angelina Jolie film, as the Ethiopia’s senior Judge.

Although not a woman, Feyisa Lilesa a famous marathon runner who made headlines for making an anti government gesture in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics has finally returned home from exile in the USA.

A glimpse into the past

Apart from women being marginalized in Ethiopia, it should be noted that it was alleged that over 5000 people belonging to the Oromo Ethnic group were arrested from the year 2011 upwards with alleged abuses like rape, torture and murders by the then government. These were subjected to such horrible circumstances after being thought to have political intentions or sympathy for the opposition Oromo Liberation Front, thus forcing many into exile as reported by Amnesty International.

Speaking of languages

With the positive changes taking place in the Horn of Africa, one should note that Ethiopia is a diverse community and therefore rich with languages. It is estimated that the country has 88 languages, five of these said to be extinct and they include;

  • Amharic which is the country’s official and national language
  • Oromo
  • Tigrinya
  • English
  • French
  • Sidamo
  • Gurage

The international bodies especially those to do with Human Rights like the direction Ethiopia is taking for purposes of welfare, peace and stability therefore, being a good model for those African countries struggling with gender inequalities, civil wars and corruption.

By Angela Kyolaba