Ethiopia celebrated today National Defense Day at Abebe Bikila stadium in Adama (Nazareth), about 100 kilometers east of the capital Addis Ababa. It is celebrated annually, and this is the 7th National Defense Day celebration.
This year, it is celebrated with the motto “we will maintain our loyalty to the people and the constitution, ensure continuity of national continuity,” which underscores that this year’s National Defense Day is the first one since what most observers, in the country or abroad, describe “reformist government of Abiy Ahmed” took over power in April 2018.
The National Defense Force itself has been undertaking numerous reform measures along the line of striking balance in terms of diversity of commanders in different division, and to enhance capability and efficiency within the force.
As well, the Defense Force is working on a project to re-establish a navy force although Ethiopia has become a landlocked country about 28 years ago following the secession of Eritrea from Ethiopia.
National Defense Day has been celebrated for the past four days and today is the culmination of the celebration, according to a report by EBC.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, senior Federal government officials including Defense Minister -Aisha Mohammed, army chief of staff Seare Mekonen and his Deputy Berhanu Jula as well as president of Oromo region of Ethiopia, Lemma Megersa have attended the celebration at Adama Stadium.
Lemma Megersa, Oromo regional state president, made a speech in which he hailed the role of the Defense Force in Defending Ethiopia and for its peace keeping role in the neighborhood and other African countries.
Lemma also noted that individuals have been committing illegal actions in the name of the Defense force during the height of popular protest in the country – seemingly referring to killings in different parts of the country to reverse popular protest.
Abiy Ahmed, Commander in Chief of the army, said “The Defense Force is a pride for friends and a threat for enemy.” He also highlighted reform measures being taken to modernize the army with technology.