In this introductory section, the blueprint of the study such as background of the study, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research questions, scope, significance, and limitation of the study will be discussed.
1.1. Background of the Study
Ethiopia was in an unremitting chaos and unstoppable ethnic conflicts. Because of the mob protest, many of the protesters lost their lives, injured and arrested by different criminal cases largely from the people of Oromia, Amhara and Konso society from Southern Nation Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia Region; since 2014 but not limited only in the above regions. However, Allo (2017) argued that public protests dated back since 2011 by Muslim protestors. “Protests by members of Ethiopia’s Muslim community began in December of 2011, when representatives of the Muslim community from across the country gathered in Addis Ababa to protest the government’s interference in their religious affairs, laying the basis for a nationwide movement” (Allo, 2017, P.37).
Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (2017), hereafter (ACLED) reported, Addis Ababa University Students, who are from the Oromo ethnic group demonstrated by opposing the Addis Ababa Master Plan intended to expand Addis Ababa, the capital, in June 2014. This type of remonstrations transformed to secondary school students, farmers and the entire population of the Oromo and expanded to the other regions stated above. “Looking beyond Oromia, simultaneous protests in Amhara significantly escalated the threat against the ERPDF’s brutal one-party rule. When Amhara protestors took to the streets to express their own grievances, the geographic scope and intensity of the protest suddenly expanded and deepened” (Allo, 2017 p. 41). As a result, democratic rights were violated and the constitutions faced an opposition.
The government has tried many efforts in finding solutions for public unrests and constitutional violations. ACLEd reported that “The government ultimately declared an unprecedented state of emergency on 8 October 2016, imposing tight restrictions that have since successfully curbed the protests” (ACLED, 2017, p.1).
The state of emergency postponed for four additional months and lifted up. However, within a short period of time grievances started again. The second state of emergency avowed as a result on instability from different corners. Despite the fact the country continued more than a year under the state of emergency, the protest was unstoppable because of the government’s limited response to calls for deep structural reforms by protesters show its lack of interest in solving protesters’ grievances or addressing the democratic deficit in the county (Africa Confidential, 20 January 2017).
When the problem reaches its climax and covers all over the country ethic disputes between regions of country from the north to south, east to west, the public including university students were in catalyzing the reformation. EPRDF has also made a deep-rooted reform frequently but no more change have seen (the legislative committee report of EPRDF in December, 2017). The 2017 public protest of Kero (youth in Oromiffa) of Oromia and the Fano of Amhara (youth in Amharic) continued their struggle and the government of Ethiopia and the ruling party obliged to change the Prime Minister. The former Prime Mister Haiemariam Dessalegn resigns from power voluntarily to be one of the solution finders for the country to the other “charismatic leaders” different local media reported ( Fana, EBC, AMMA, Addis TV and OBN…).
Then Dr. Abiy Ahimed (PhD) becomes the leader of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia since 2nd April 2018 and the chairperson of EPRDF, who is the first Oromo leader since 1991 (BBC, reported). After taking oath, the newly elected prime minister made an inauguration speech. From the observation of the researcher, Ethiopian political landscape is going to the way of Peaceful; the peoples are on the move of unity, love, and democracy relatively. Abiy Ahimed (PhD) seems getting public support as the engineer of the Ethiopia’s renaissance and the sustainability of his party, Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). He is from the ruling party (EPRDF), part of HPR, the chair of Oromia people’s democratic organization (OPDO).
Still there was a shift of power from Hailemariam to Abiy but the country was under state of emergency. Abiy made his first in augural speech on Monday 2nd April 2018, a few days later he has started discussions with the peoples of all regions, and he have made diplomatic relationships with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Djibouti, Somalia and Eritrea for the sake of mutual benefit and strong diplomatic relations. As a result, the people of the country have been giving him support to the newly elected leader without any visible economic or political change.
Reasonably, the change might be a result of his rhetorical communication ability to persuade the audience. That is why the people who was opposing dramatically made supportive demonstrations. The public rally held at Mesquel Square, to the cities and towns of regions of the country and to different corners of the world by Ethiopian diaspora, including America could give some insight. Based on this fact the researcher has initiated to conduct a study on the approaches and strategies how the prime mister political persuade the people. Rhetorical speech has an importance to influence the audience ‘to do things in a way he wanted to be done’ (Chissano, 2016).
1.2. Statement of Research Problem
Like other type of communication, the central theme of political communication emphasizes the creation of mutual understanding between the politicians and the public through teaching, informing and urging for further action as different scholars agreed, the impact might be positive or negative.
Graber (2005) defined political communication as the ‘transmission of message from sender to receiver through channels of communication with the objective of political goal’. According to Graber (1993), the message that conveyed to the audience changes the attitude of individuals, groups, and society in general. Public speaking is the one that politicians do to get to be heard and listened by the people in democratic system of government. Ceasa, Thurow, Tulis, and Bessette (1981) note that leaders use public speeches to “govern the nation” (p.159) through discourse strategies, which are employed to gain people’s hearts and minds.
The meaning of politics varied up on contexts and purposes. As Chilton (2004) define, “politics is viewed as a struggle for power, between those who seek to assert and maintain their power and those who seek to resist it. … conspicuously based on struggles for power; whether democracies are essentially so constituted is disputable. On the other hand, politics is viewed as cooperation, as the practices and institutions that a society has for resolving clashes of interest over money, influence, liberty, and the like” (p. 3).
Politics is also the art of government in which the drive of political communication is persuasion (Demirdö?en, 2010). In the meantime, equally conflict and disagreements are available in human life, politics will exist. Miller defines politics as “a process whereby a group of people, whose opinions or interests are initially divergent, reach collective decisions which are generally accepted as binding on the group and enforced as common policy” (Miller, 1991 p. 390 cited in Demirdö?en, 2010). Thus, above-mentioned definitions of politics by different scholars have a common ground that political process typically involves elements of persuasion in order to maintain power of future goal.
Coming to the Ethiopian politics, it was to the contrary, referring the past two years. The people and the governing body were in antagonistic relationship. As mentioned in the background of this study, conflicts between people with people and the government was a visible phenomenon, every person could be a witness internally and internationally.
To resolve these continuous instabilities, the government has made positional arrangements from prime minister to the lower level administrative system. This change did not result effective, continuous and progressive changes and until Prime Minister Abiy Ahimed (PhD) comes to power in 2 April 2018, the ruling party (EPRDF) was in a crisis. The newly assigned prime minister started his job predominantly to wave the people towards unity, peace, and stability with a metaphor ‘Medemer’ literary mean teaming up through public discussions, with his rhetoric speeches to change the image of the public against the deformed political appearance of the ruling party.
His speeches got a live coverage by the national and regional television stations and continuous publications on newspapers that he has made in different cities and towns of the state. Furthermore, different online media channels uploaded the speeches, which help the speaker to be addressed the entire world. Consequently, not only the participants on his speech, the total population of Ethiopia could view and be influenced positively or negatively.
The public rally held at Mesqel Square on 23 June 2018 could be an indication of the people’s attitude towards the ruling party as enemy has changed, and are saying WOW (WAKUM, 2018)
By conducting an observational pilot study, the researcher initiated to evaluate the communication strategy of Dr. Abiy by using rhetorical communication methods. It is a well-known fact that there are plenty of rhetorical speech studies in the world and few in Ethiopia but as much as the researcher knowledge, no research has been conducted on communication rhetoric of Dr .Abiy AHIMED.
Getachew (2014) has conducted a research on “The Rhetoric of Community Participation: Ngos’ Discourses and Deliberative practices with Communities in Ethiopia and …. Has conducted by using rhetorical theory but it is different from the prime minister”. Ludi, et al (2013) conducted a research on the title “Rhetoric vs. realities: An assessment of rainwater management planning and implementation modalities in Oromia and Amhara regions, Ethiopia”. Both of the previously mentioned researches hardly related with the current study. Therefore, the research will contribute a body of knowledge on the area of rhetoric skills to affect others in Ethiopia.
1.3. Objective of the Research
The study has the following general and specific objectives.
1.3.1. General Objective
The objective of this study is to analyze the rhetoric of Ethiopia’s Prime Minster Dr. Abiy Ahimed (PhD) public speeches held on the House of Peoples Representative and different locations of the country.
1.3.2. Specific Objectives
The researcher aims to
• Find out the construction and use of rhetorical cannons on the Prime Minister speech;
• Assess the extent of rhetorical proofs used in the Prime Minister speech;
• Determine the major ideologies and worldview of the prime minister.
1.4. Research Questions
This study aims to answer the following research questions.
• How did the Prime Minister use and develop rhetoric cannon in his speeches?
• To what extent did the Prime Minister use rhetorical components in his speeches?
• What is the ideologies and worldview of the Prime Minister?
1.5. Scope of the Study
The research scope delimited to three of the speeches. Inaguaral speech of the newly assigned prime minister speech after his oath, the speech held at Hawassa stadium of his first meeting with the southern nation, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia region and the Ethio-Eritria peace deal are the scope of the sample. The reason about the selection is that the inaguaral speech is the most important, the Hawassa stadium speech was unique in comparison with the other regions speech, and the Ethio-Eritirea peace deal selected from its importance in strengthening the two countries perspective. Additionally, the researcher focuses on only the message construction and delivery strategies, and the ideologies expressed in his speech. No other linguistic features of the speech have assessed.
1.6. Significance of the Study
The research has different significances. Primarily because it focuses on the rhetoric of Dr. Abiy Ahimed, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, and no research has conducted on his rhetoric and limited availability of rhetorical studies in Ethiopia; it could contribute by filling knowledge gaps. Additionally it will have significance, as a stepping-stone for researchers who has a desire to conduct studies both on Dr. Abiy and rhetoric studies.
1.7. Limitation of the Study
The study is limited only in three of his addresses. This is due to the inaccessibility of fully recorded videos and audios for analysis. It was very help full if other speeches of the prime minister were analyzed and trend analysis has made by using other critical rhetoric methods. However, through cross checking of both printed version of the speech from Addis Zemen Newspaper and the record of the Ethiopia Television live transmission of inaguaral ceremonythe researcher will alleviate the problem.
The study aims at evaluating the rhetorical cannon use and proofs in the Ethiopian Prime minister Dr. ABIY AHIMED after coming to power. This chapter encompasses the methodology used, the methods and data collection instruments of the research, the sample and sample population, ethical considerations and the analysis and presentation of data sections.
3.1. Research Methodology
To answer the questions mentioned in chapter one the speeches of the Prime Minister Dr. ABIY AHIMED will be collected and analyzed. The analysis will be done by using the neo-classical theory of rhetoric and generic critical rhetoric theory. I.e. used to evaluate the cannons and proofs used and its purpose, and the critical theory of ideology and generic rhetoric will be used as a theoretical frame works. It is a kind of qualitative study aims to analyze contents that broadcasted through mass media (print and Electronics). Qualitative research helps to understand the world and construct meanings based on the social- cultural setting/situations. This type of researches is hardly used for generalization, rather it contributes for knowledge.
3.2. Population of the study
Dr. ABIY AHIMED has made many addresses including from his prime minister office to the grass root levels of a country and in different parts of the world. The speeches incorporates from his first inaguaral ceremony to the last 100 days are the total population of the study. This is because the researcher believed that this season was marked by controversial and it is enough to answer the questions raised on this study. Other speeches are made after the audience reaction to his persuasive.
3.3. Sample Size
The samples of this study are speeches addressed by Dr. ABIY AHIMED of Ethiopian prime minster that covers starting from his first day inaugural speech to last 100 days. After 100 days many things are changing and he has already started implementing what he was promising, meant that the audience might not be persuaded not only by his speeches but also his acts. Moreover, act by itself has its own artifact that could be assessed as another study. Hence, the researcher does not want to go through this one; anybody who has interest could conduct it. As a result, from the speeches within 100 days three of speeches will be selected and analyzed.
According to Kotari (2004) the are two types of sample design based on sample selection element and representational bias. Additionally in any research, there are two sampling techniques; random and nonrandom. According to Kumr (2011), random sampling are done to minimize the researcher’s bias and leads to generalization of a given phenomenon, whereas qualitative sampling techniques are made to minimize cost and helps people to understand the world in an interpretative manner for knowledge development, meaning construction and understanding of multiple reality. Finally the samples are selected in non-random manner by through purposive sampling technique.
“Rhetorical analysis focuses on how messages are delivered, and with what (intended or actual) effects. Researchers who take this approach rely on the identification of structural elements, tropes, styles of argumentation, speech acts, and the like; Kathleen Hall Jamieson’s book Packaging the Presidency ( 1984) is an example of such an analysis. Efforts to study negotiations (Harris, 1996 ) , what works and what doesn’t, might be described as rhetorical analyses as well” (Krippendorff, 2004. p, 16).