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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines

A quiet revolution

Genuine change is coming to Ethiopia—from a surprising source

The view from Addis Ababa: Tom Gardner

To drive through Ethiopia’s southwestern Oromia region is to journey through the heart of “Abiyland.” In Jimma, a provincial capital, the face of Abiy Ahmed is everywhere, from billboards to buses to hotel lobbies. Ethiopia’s charismatic new prime minister grew up only a short drive away. “Abiy is popular throughout the country”, says Birhanu Bekele, a local academic. “But he is especially popular with these people.”

Abiy took office in April, following months of factional battling within the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the ethnically-based coalition which has governed uninterrupted since 1991. In succeeding Hailemariam Desalegn, who resigned in February following nearly three years of persistent anti-government protests, his appointment marked the first peaceful transfer of power between two living leaders in Ethiopian history. Abiy is also the first Ethiopian leader to identify as Oromo, the country’s largest and lately most disaffected ethnic group. It was a quiet revolution.

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In Prospect’s August issue: Zoe Williams argues that the first thing we need to do if we are to remain in the EU is to tackle the reasons why so many wanted out—namely pay and conditions at home and the impact of unfettered capitalism. Prospect’s Alex Dean and Tom Clark interviewed former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg who says the liberal centre should keep the faith—there is another way to work closely with Europe, but the immigration question is central to finding that solution. Meanwhile, a group of writers including Wolfgang Münchau, Shashank Joshi and Owen Hatherley explain some of the pitfalls, prizes and things you hadn’t thought about when it comes to the UK’s relationship with the EU. Elsewhere in the issue: Former UK diplomat Tom Fletcher profiles the out-going UN human rights chief who is causing a stir by saying the things nobody else would dare. Steve Bloomfield asks what happened to Seymour Hersh—how did the legendary journalist come to echo the thoughts and ideas of Bashar al-Assad; and Phil Ball examines the crisis of male infertility asking: where has all the sperm gone?