During a high-level meeting at Ethiopia’s foreign ministry in July, officials were shocked by social media reports that their prime minister was visiting Eritrea.
No one in the room had been informed of Abiy Ahmed’s trip, his second since clinching a peace deal last year that ended two decades of hostility between the two neighbors.
“The foreign office was not in the loop,” said a senior official who was present. “We learned of it from the Eritrean media, on Facebook and Twitter.”
The surprise visit is typical of Abiy, who both fans and critics say often relies on bold personal initiatives and charisma to drive change instead of working through government institutions.