Ethiopian PM’s office insists audio clip is fake

A recording purporting to be Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed saying he would rather die than hand over power is fake, the PM’s office has said.

The audio clip was published by Kello Media – a media company based in the US that describes itself as non-partisan – which said it was recorded at a high-level meeting of the ruling Prosperity Party.

In the clip a voice says: “I can tell you this and there’s no doubt or mystery about it – we have won the election.

“No-one will be able to form a government in the coming 10 years. I would rather die than hand over power to them.”

The remarks are followed by applause.

The government says that the audio has been stitched together using different speeches.

The prime minister’s office issued a statement just after the audio was posted.

“The supposed leaked audio of the prime minister during Prosperity Party meeting of last week is a fake audio compilation which has been put together by drawing on different remarks made by the prime minister and editing it into one compilation.”

The office also urged Ethiopians “to be vigilant about such types of disinformation campaigns”.

Government officials and supporters of the prime minister also say the audio is fake, and are trying to disqualify it by sharing clips of parts of previous speech.

Kello Media has not commented on the issue so far.

The BBC cannot independently verify whether the audio is genuine or fake.

The election in Ethiopia has been postponed several times and is now expected to be held on 21 June.

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