President Uhuru Kenyatta has sent a congratulatory message to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia for being awarded the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.
The Ethiopian leader was Friday announced as the winner of the global prize for his efforts towards the achievement of peace and international cooperation, and for his leading role in the resolution of the longstanding border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.
In his congratulatory message, President Kenyatta said Prime Minister Ahmed deserves the international recognition noting that the Ethiopian leader is outstanding in his pursuit for peace, reconciliation and stability in Ethiopia, the Horn of Africa region and the entire continent.
“I am delighted for my brother Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the People of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Award. Prime Minister Ahmed fully deserves the recognition.
“Prime Minister Ahmed stands out as a relentless champion for peace, stability and prosperity of his country, our region and the entire African continent,” President Kenyatta noted.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed becomes the 24th African to win the prestigious award and joins a growing Nobel Laureates roll of honour that includes Kenya’s Wangari Maathai (2004), Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee (2011), Egypt’s Mohamed ElBaradei (2005) and former UN Secretary General, the late Koffi Annan who won it in 2001 among others.
Dr Dennis Mukwege of the Democratic Republic of Congo won the Nobel Peace Prize last year for his efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.
Abiy was awarded the prize for his efforts to “achieve peace and international cooperation”. Ethiopia reached a peace deal with Eritrea last year, ending a 20-year military stalemate following their 1998-2000 border war.
He was named as the winner of the 100th Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo. The prize will be awarded in Oslo in December.
A total of 301 candidates had been nominated for the prestigious award, including 223 individuals and 78 organizations.
There had been great speculation over who would win the prize. Since he became prime minister in April 2018, Abiy has introduced massive liberalizing reforms to Ethiopia, which used to be a tightly controlled country.
He has freed thousands of opposition activists from jail and allowed exiled dissidents to return home.
However, his reforms have also lifted the lid on Ethiopia’s ethnic tensions and the resulting violence has forced some 2.5 million people from their homes.