Ex-Ethiopian PM Layne recounts finding hope and home in Kenya as a refugee

Former Ethiopian PM Tamrat Layne gives the keynote address during the 21st Kenya National Prayer Breakfast at Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi.  [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Former Ethiopian Prime Minister Tamrat Layne has called on Kenyans to hold onto hope, sharing his experiences of imprisonment and attempts at suicide.

Layne was Kenya’s chief guest on Thursday, May 30, at the  National Prayer Breakfast at Safari Park Hotel.

The former Ethiopian PM called on local political leaders to be beacons of hope for Kenyans.

He recounted how, 24 years ago, he and his family spent three years in a Nairobi refugee camp, describing it as the darkest period of their lives.

"It was a politically motivated imprisonment. Kenya became a ray of hope for my family. My son still remembers his Kenyan friends and how they taught him to speak Swahili. This year's National Prayer Breakfast theme, Hope, resonates deeply with me.”

“My life's journey has always been filled with hope," he recalled.

In 2000, the Ethiopian Federal Supreme Court sentenced Layne to 18 years in prison.

He had served as Prime Minister for four years starting in 1991 and then as Deputy Prime Minister until 1997, when he was dismissed and later convicted of corruption, embezzlement, and abuse of office. The court found him guilty of illegally exporting textiles and coffee and fraudulently winning a construction contract over cheaper bids.

Ruto’s US visit

Layne also praised President William Ruto for his recent State Visit to the United States, terming it successful and significant for Africa's global presence.

"It's a sign of God's favor and, at the same time, an increased accountability for the people of Kenya and Africa regarding its diplomatic standing. The delight is sincerely shared," said the ex-PM.

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