ESFNA rejects PM Abiy’s address request
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) will not be addressing the gathering of thousands at the North American Soccer Federation to be held in Dallas, Texas this July after all. The Federation made its decision “after days of deliberation”. This was made despite having the Federation appeal to its members through social media and getting an overwhelming support (65 percent) for the right of the PM to address the gathering.
“The ESFNA Board of Directors has voted not to accept the Prime Minister’s desire to address Ethiopians in North America during the Dallas tournament in July, but request it to be at a future tournament,” ESFNA said in a statement.
The unusual request by the Prime Minister was sent through the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington DC. ESFNA blamed the short time frame it had to arrange a visit by such a powerful figure, the size of the venue and on a lack of liability insurance.
Meanwhile, the Federation self-congratulated itself on its contribution to the community and seemed to be optimistic with a future prospect to allow him to attend its signature event.
“This is the first time an Ethiopian head of state has ever requested to attend any ESFNA’s annual tournament,” it said. “It is a testament to ESFNA’s contribution to the North American Ethiopian community, and the North American community at large. We encourage everyone, including Prime Minister Abiy, to continue to engage with the Ethiopian community through peaceful dialogue so that current and future generations of Ethiopians will continue to come together.”
The Prime Minister has been reaching out to the diaspora community and in his inauguration speech from parliament invited to return and contribute to their nation. Since then, he has been getting favorable reviews with a promise to open the political space to the opposition and with the release of a slew of political prisoners, most recently with Andargachew Tsige.
The United States has the largest concentration of Ethiopian immigrants in the world.