BAHIR DAR UNIVERSITY
DEPARTMENT OF JOURNALISM AND COMMUNICATIONS
MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS STUDIES PROGRAM (MA)
THE RHETORIC OF ETHIOPIAN PRIME MINSTER ABIY AHIMED (PhD)
MA Thesis Proposal, Submitted to Department of Journalism and Communications, Media and Communications Studies Program
Jemal Muhamed (PhD)
Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia
CHAPTER ONE 1
1. INTRODUCTION 1
1.1. Background of the Study 1
1.2. Statement of Research Problem 3
1.3. Objective of the Research 6
1.3.1. General Objective 6
1.3.2. Specific Objectives 6
1.4. Research Questions 6
1.5. Scope of the Study 6
1.6. Significance of the Study 7
1.7. Limitation of the Study 7
1.8. Organization of the Study 7
CHAPTER THREE 8
3. RESEARCH DESIGN 8
3.1. Research Methodology 8
3.2. Population of the study 9
3.3. Sample Size 9
3.4. Sampling Design 9
3.5. Data Presentation and Analysis 10
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 has been 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. There were oppositions before 2014; Allo (2017) stated 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” ( p.37).
Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (2017), hereafter (ACLED) reported that Addis Ababa University Students, who were from the Oromo ethnic group made a demonstration by opposing the Addis Ababa Master Plan, intended to expand the capital in June 2014. This type of objections 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 EPDRF’s brutal one-party rule. When Amhara protestors took to the streets to express their grievances, the geographic scope and intensity of the protest suddenly expanded and deepened” (Allo, 2017, p.41). As a result, human and democratic rights have denied and the constitutional violations were happened.
The government has attempted many efforts in taking actions and 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) which was considered as the first alternative.
The state of emergency postponed for additional four 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 inexorable because of the government’s limited response towards the demand of deep structural reform, lack of interest in solving protesters’ grievances or addressing the democratic deficit in the county, Africa Confidential (as cited in ACLED, 2017).
When the problem reached climax and covers all over the country, ethnic 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 changes seen (the legislative committee press release of EPRDF in December, 2017). The 2017 public protest of Kero (youth in Oromifa) of Oromia and the Fano of Amhara (freedom fighter in Amharic) continued their struggle and the government of Ethiopia and the ruling party forced to change the Prime Minister. The former Prime Mister Haiemariam Dessalegn resigns power voluntarily to be one of the solution finders for the country, and gives his position to the other “charismatic leader” different local media reported in April 3 2018 and later.
Then Abiy Ahimed (PhD) becomes the leader of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia since 2nd April 2018 and the chairperson of EPRDF and OPDO, 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 appears Peaceful; the peoples are relatively on the move to unity, love, and democracy. Abiy Ahimed (PhD) seems getting public support as 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 house of people’s representative (HPR), the chair of EPRDF and Oromia people’s democratic organization (OPDO).
Abiy made his first inaugural speech on Monday 2 April 2018, a few days later he has started discussions with the peoples of regional states, and have made diplomatic relationships with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Djibouti, Somalia and Eritrea for the sake of mutual benefit and strong diplomatic bonds. 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 on Saturday 23 June 2018, Gondar, Woldia and Debre Markos, on the next days the cities and towns of regional states and Ethiopians from different corners of the world including America gives their support to the newly assigned ruler. Based on this fact the researcher has initiated to conduct a study on the approaches and strategies how the prime mister speeches persuade the people. Rhetorical speech has significance in motivating the audience ‘to do things in a way he wanted to be done’ (Chissano, 2016). Therefore, the prime minister speech may rhetorically influence the people decision.
1.2. Statement of Research Problem
Like other form 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 his explanation, 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.
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). In this definition, we can relate the case of Abiy Ahimed’s political speech, which is perceived to elongate the ruling party lifespan and to solve the ethic/class based disputes of the country, viewed as deterrent to the countries development and party existence. According to Schulz (as cited in Haase, n.d.) argued that “communication is considered to be political if it relates to the exchange of messages among political actors” (p.152). From this, the Ethiopian prime minister who is a high political actor in the current ruling party speech could be categorized under political communication.
Politics is also the art of government in which the drive of political communication is persuasion (Demirdö?en, 2010). In the meantime, conflicts and disagreements are available in human life and 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). The above definition focuses on the democratic political system, in which power is in the hand of the people, public decision is the key and accentuates the supremacy of communication through persuasion.
Thus, above-mentioned meanings of politics by different scholars have a common ground that political process typically involves elements of persuasion in order to maintain power and attain future goal.
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. 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 position arrangements from prime minister to the lower level administrative structure. This tuning did not result effective, continuous and progressive changes until Prime Minister Abiy Ahimed (PhD) comes to power in 2 April 2018, we can say the ruling party (EPRDF) was in a crisis. The newly assigned prime minister motivational speeches stimulate the people towards unity, peace, and stability with a metaphor ‘Medemer’ literary mean teaming up. The prime minister is working to change the image of the public against the deformed political appearance of the ruling party through public discussions with his rhetorical speeches.
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 country. Furthermore, different online media channels uploaded the speeches, which help the speaker to address 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 indicator of the people’s attitude towards the ruling party as enemy has changed, and are saying “WOW” (Wakum, 2018). By conducting an observational study, the researcher initiated to evaluate the communication strategy of the prime minister’s that he employed to persuade the people, using rhetorical communication methods. Haase (n.d.) stated, “Rhetoric is the theory and application of persuasive communication.” Persuading others could be achieved through different communication strategies of informing an audience about a given subject (Kuypers & King, 2009).
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’s knowledge, no research has been conducted on rhetorical communication strategies of Dr. Abiy AHIMED speeches. To mention some studies conducted in the country, Getachew (2014) has conducted a research on “The Rhetoric of Community Participation: Ngos’ Discourses and Deliberative practices with Communities in Ethiopia. In addition, 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”. However, the previously mentioned researches hardly related with the current study. Therefore, the research will work to contribute a body of knowledge on the area of rhetoric communication 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 communication strategies Ethiopia’s Prime Minster 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 how rhetorical cannons constructed and used in the Prime Minister speech;
• Assess the rhetorical proofs used in the Prime Minister speech;
• Identify 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?
• What are the rhetorical components used in the Prime Minister rhetorical speeches?
• What are the ideologies and worldview of the Prime Minister?
1.5. Scope of the Study
The research scope will be delimited to three of his speeches. Inaugural speech of the newly assigned prime minister 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 study. 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 will focus only the message construction and delivery strategies, and the ideologies expressed in his speech. No other linguistic features of the speech will be assessed.
1.6. Significance of the Study
The research will have 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 is supposed to contribute in filling knowledge gaps. Additionally it will have significance, as a stepping-stone for researchers who have a desire to conduct studies both on Dr. Abiy and rhetoric studies.
1.7. Limitation of the Study
The study is not free of limitations. Due to the inaccessibility of fully recorded videos and audios for analysis, it focuses only three of his speeches. It was very helpful if other speeches of the prime minister were analyzed and trend analysis made by using other critical rhetoric methods.
However, through cross checking of both printed version of the speech from newspapers and the record of the Ethiopia Television live transmission, the researcher will alleviate these problems. It was better to crosscheck the data from the audience’s perspective through triangulation method but due to resource constraint, this might be challenging.
1.8. Organization of the Study
This research will have five chapters. Chapter one includes background, problem statement, objectives; both general and specific, research questions, scope, significance and limitations of the research. This chapter will serve as an appetizer for the rest of the topics. Chapter two of this study contains the collection of literatures that will serve as a baseline to measure the collected data. Chapter three, which is the nucleus of the research that explains what research design will be employed and why the researcher use these approaches. Chapter Four, the data presentation and analysis section and Five will be the conclusion part. Finally, the appendix section at the end will contain the data that is analyzed.
3. RESEARCH DESIGN
The study aims at evaluating the rhetorical cannons 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 population and sample size and the data presentation and analysis sections.
3.1. Research Methodology
In any scientific research, there are two basic research methodologies, qualitative and quantitative. According to Gunter (2000), because of the scholar’s worldview differences, the approaches to find reality and truth have two faces. “Quantitative research heading are subsumed methodologies theoretically framed by a positivist, empirical social scientific approach to measurement. While qualitative research embraces methodologies that are theoretically framed by critical or interpretivist social science paradigms that emphasize interpretation over measurement” (Gunter, 2000, p.23). To answer the questions mentioned in the first chapter qualitative approach will be used. Because qualitative approach helps to understand the world and construct meanings based on the social-cultural setting/situations. Mack, Woodsong, Macqueen, Guest, ; Namey (2005) argued that qualitative research enables the researcher to provide complex textual descriptions about the peoples experience towards an issue. They further discussed that “qualitative methods are also effective in identifying intangible factors, such as social norms, socioeconomic status, gender roles, ethnicity, and religion, whose role in the research overview issue may not be readily apparent” (p. 1-2). This type of research might have limitations for generalization rather it could contribute for meaning constructions. Therefore, speeches of the Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahimed will be collected and analyzed using qualitative techniques. That used to how he delivers the speech to attain the predetermined goal, using neo-Aristotle rhetoric criticisms as a standard.
3.2. Population of the study
Dr. Abiy Ahimed has made many addresses, from Prime Minister Office to the grass root levels of a country and in different parts of the world. The speech that announced to the public, covers his first inauguration ceremony to the last 100 days are the total population of the study. Because the researcher want to study the initial stages of attitude change and the researcher believed that the amount of speech would be analyzed is sufficient for qualitative procedures.
3.3. Sample Size
The samples of this study are speeches addressed by Dr. Abiy Ahimed of Ethiopian Prime Minster in which speech broadcasted through mass media from his first day inaugural speech to last 100 days. After 100 days, many things have been changed and has already started implementing what he promised, meant that the audience might not be persuaded not only by his speeches but also by actions. Moreover, action has its own artifact that might have an angle for another study, as Haase, (n.d.) argued that now a days rhetoricians allow a wider field of means for rhetorical persuasive actions. Hence, the researcher does not want to go through this one; anybody who has interest could conduct. As a result, from the speeches within 100 days, three of speeches will be selected and analyzed. Due to time and other resource limitation, it is hard to study all of his speeches.
3.4. Sample Design
Agreeing to Kothari (2004), there are two types of sample design based on sample selection element and representational bias. As well in any research, there are two sampling techniques: random and nonrandom. According to Kumar (2011), random sampling is done to minimize the researcher’s bias, 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 meaning construction and understanding of multiple realities. As a final point, the samples will be selected in non-random manner; purposive sampling technique will be employed, aiming that the selected samples will give enough amounts of data to examine rhetorically. As Krippendorff (2004) stated the analysis of rhetorical message focuses the on how and what effect. To answer the research questions of this study, the researcher prefer purposive sampling technique. Krippendorff (2004) explains rhetoric analysis as the following:
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; what works and what does not, might be described as rhetorical analyses as well. (Krippendorff, 2004. p, 16).
3.5. Data Presentation and Analysis
The data collected from different media outlets, especially texts from newspapers and online media in case of video will be presented descriptively in relation with the literature assessed in chapter two. By definition, rhetorical analysis requires the researcher to apply critical reading and understanding skill to breakdown the text or utterance, keeping in mind that the speaker might use varying strategies in order to achieve his goals. This way the researcher will analyze the argumentations, emotional appeals and the credibility of the speaker, and additionally the tone and style of the speaker will be analyzed.
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