[Jimma Times]The recently released former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Tamerat Layne, stated his disdain for politics as he spoke in front of a packed Ethiopian evangelical church, according to a Jimma Times correspondent in Addis Ababa
.Former PM Tamerat was released this week after he spent 12 years in prison for charges of corruption and abuse of power. The release of Tamerat has captured the attention of many Ethiopians, especially in the capital city Addis Ababa.
According to another JT correspondent, the former prime minister allegedly attended the Mulu Wongel mega church in the capital city surrounded by numerous pastors who gave him time to speak for several minutes in front of over 10 thousand members. He gave accounts of his long “humbling” prison time and stated that he became “born again” Christian after a woman inside the prison preached to him. A soft spoken Tamerat allegedly showed no resentment and described his interest to be involved in the evangelical churches.
The Ethiopian evangelical population has grown significantly during the last 25 years and the recent national census indicated that over 18 percent of Ethiopia’s 76.9 million population is Protestant Christian. This growth has reduced the traditional dominant Orthodox Church from over 50 percent to 43.5 percent of the country.
Some Ethiopians in the capital believe that Tamerat Layne’s release was timely for the government to divert the attention of the population who have been protesting and angered by the 6-year prison sentencing of famous musician Teddy Afro. They believe the sentencing of pop star Teddy Afro (real name Tewodros Kasahun) was politically motivated due to the musician’s anti-government songs. Various opposition officials also believe the incarceration of ex-PM Tamerat was not due to corruption as stated, but as a result of power struggle inside the ruling party.