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Discursive Strategies of ‘Oromara’: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Abiy Ahmed’s Political Rhetoric

Adugna Barkessa


This article analyzes the political rhetoric Abiy Ahmed used to advocate integration between the Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups, recasting it as “Oromara.” Its objectives are: identifying the rhetorical devices and discursive strategies used in the integration of the Oromara, examining how integration of the groups is discursively constructed, describing the message characteristics of the interview texts, and explaining how political rhetoric, power and ideology are linked to play advocacy role for further reinforcing the integration of the groups. To attain these objectives, the interview Abiy had with Amhara television journalist on 13 November, 2017 was selected using purposive sampling. The interview data was changed into written forms using line based transcription system, and analyzed thematically. Fairclough’s (1992) model of discourse analysis was used in the analysis. The findings show that rhetorical devices (simile, repetition, parallelism and analogy, metaphor and metonymy) are employed in the text. The macro-discursive strategies used in the interview include accommodative, normalization, constructive and genericizing. The interview text communicated both negative (hostility, revenge, detestation, distrust, conflict and retaliation) and positive (integration, trust, forgiveness, peace and adoration) messages. The negative descriptors portray unity of the groups as a threat for political system designed for the last 27 years, whereas the positive descriptors indicate that discourse of the Oromara is a key to bring systemic change in the country. The binary descriptors explain the divide and rule system constructed by the monopolized political power on the one hand, and the power of integration to topple the system on the other.