President Mulatu Teshome, the head of Africa’s fastest-growing economy, visited the Ethiopian military today in a show of support for a revamped command structure as thousands of military personnel and hundreds of Olympians marched in support.
Soldiers accompanied President Mulatu Teshome on a tour of the People’s Defense Forces Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, Ethiopian state-owned Media Network reported.
The leader of Africa’s fastest-growing economy, however, didn’t just come for photo opportunities with soldiers. Reuters reported that Teshome wanted to see the new officers in action, and his visits are designed to bolster Ethiopia’s military institutions.
The president, who has declared Ethiopia on the brink of economic and military greatness, agreed to purchase the Russian jet that will replace the nation’s jet fleet. He also authorized another 100 jet fighters, many of which could be made in Russia.
The jet, called the MiG-29M5, is a highly prized technical asset, and it will upgrade a fleet that is obsolete in a number of key areas, such as air-to-air missiles, damage protection, electronics and radar.
As the presidency changed hands, President Mulatu Teshome expanded his presence to the People’s Defense Forces Headquarters, where the state-owned Ethiopia Broadcasting Corporation broadcast the president’s first TV interview of the day.
On social media, Ethiopian athletes attended the official opening of the Military Sports Festival to display their newly adopted patriotism. Photographs of the Ethiopian athletes draped in their country’s flag circulated in the social media.
Ethiopia has been a regular winner at the African and Asian Games for gymnastics, weightlifting and track & field events. But Beijing was the first time that Ethiopian athletes competed in military competition.
Hundreds of athletes from ten African countries and numerous U.S. Olympians filled an athletic field in Ethiopia’s capital in September for a two-day military games that combined athletics with military training to mark the Ethiopia’s ascent to success on the global stage.
The opening day of the games included Kenyan athletes, who are also among the continent’s best, marching in support of their home nation, whose soldiers also marched.
The 2016 Olympic 400-meter champion Hellen Obiri and six other Kenyans wore uniforms of the African People’s Liberation Army, while the standard-bearers who crossed the finishing line were Ethiopian athletes.
They were meant to inspire admiration in football fan and white collar man. According to the Russian newspaper, Kommersant, more than 50 Ugandan footballers played together during the games, which involved the kicking of an iron ball across a busy industrial part of town for training purposes.
The minister of sport said the country’s athletes were treated as equals.
“The fact that we have countries of different ethnicities marching with their military uniforms, it says a lot for Ethiopia. It strengthens our nation and the African nation, as all these athletes know the difference between an African and a Turk,” said Otieno.
Athletes from other countries appeared to not to be offended by the military relationship.
Olympic silver medalist, South African Koliswa ‘Moses’ Matoka told a local radio station that the countries had aligned their interests in the games.
“We needed to come here and unite ourselves as a continent because we are all brothers, but we should also let others know that our training grounds are the same and we share the same kind of gun, so don’t judge us on our guns,” said Matoka.
Olympic black diamond champions put on each uniform marked with a green, which has no official meaning, the only means of identifying them as soldiers.
The annual African Games for sport stars and politicians, attended by half a dozen African heads of state, is hosted by Ethiopia annually.
President Barack Obama and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter also spoke in support of the players and athletes in 2015. President Obama described the games as a way to send an empowering message to young Africans.
The photo from the website “The Weekly Standard” shows the image of President Bush in which the former president is wearing a military uniform. The blue shirt features details of the U.S. Navy ships as a framing for him to pose with. This means, judging by its use of navy blue, that the image of President Bush in Ethiopia appears to be what a blue collar worker used to have in his or her uniforms. – AJ