The leader of an armed opposition group, who is charged with “attempting to overthrow the government” says charges brought against him and others by the Ethiopian regime were just another attempt to instill fear on political opponents.
The leader of Patriotic Ginbot 7, Prof. Berhanu Nega said in an exclusive interview with ESAT that he would not take the charges seriously as they were just bogus charges aimed at stopping any opposition political struggle in the country, peaceful or otherwise.
Ethiopian regime prosecutors on Thursday brought criminal charges against Prof. Berhanu Nega as well as Chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) Dr. Merera Gudina and activist Jawar Mohammed.
Prosecutors also brought charges against two media outlets based abroad, Ethiopian Satellite Radio and Television (ESAT) and the Oromo Media Network (OMN). According to prosecutors, all the accused were involved in “attempts to overthrow the constitutionally formed government.”
“The cooked up charges were further evidence that the regime is in a serious crisis and is proof that the opposition is on the right track,” Prof. Berhanu said from his base in Eritrea.
“The charges by the regime actually show that opposition political groups need to set aside their differences and come as one strong force,” he said.
The charges filed at the federal high court on Thursday indicate that Chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), Dr. Merera Gudina, Chairman of Patriotic Ginbot 7 (PG7), Prof. Berhanu Nega and Executive Director of the Oromo Media Network (OMN) Jawar Mohammed had conspired to overthrow the regional as well the federal government.
The charge alleges the trio had used the Ethiopian Satellite Radio and Television (ESAT) and the Oromo Media Network (OMN), as a medium to “lead and coordinate the anti-government protests in the Amhara and Oromo regions of the country.” It was further alleged that the individuals have “called the people to rise up against the regime and encourage the protesters to cause destruction of property worth millions of dollars.”
The charge states that ESAT had broadcasted various statements by Prof. Berhanu Nega to the people of Ethiopia that called for uprising.
OMN has also been accused of broadcasting interviews with Dr. Merera Gudina regarding the anti-government protests in the Oromo region as well as calls by the Oromo liberation Front and Jawar Mohammed that “encourage the youth in Oromo region to rise up against the regime.”
Dr. Merera Gudina was put behind bars last December upon his return from Brussels where he and Prof. Berhanu Nega gave testimonies at the European Parliament on the political crises in the country. One of the charges against Dr. Merera is that he had met and discussed with Dr. Berhanu Nega, the leader of PG7, an armed group declared “terrorist” by the regime.
The Ethiopian court had previously handed down two death sentences and a life in prison against Prof. Berhanu in absentia. A leading figure in Ethiopia’s opposition politics, he now leads PG7, an armed group operating from its base in Eritrea.
The Ethiopian regime routinely use its anti-terror law and state of emergency declared in October to squash any dissent and silence the simmering popular anger against its brutal rule.
By ESAT News (February 28, 2017)
The Murle of South Sudan continued their cross border raid into the Gambella region of Ethiopia killing 30 Anyuaks and abducting 106 children in the last six months.
Last Sunday, four Anyuaks were killed and four children were kidnapped in a cross border attack by the Murle clan South Sudan. Three weeks earlier, according to sources, 8 Anyuaks were killed while 16 children were abducted.
The Anyuaks say their appeal for protection to the federal government fell on deaf ears. As a result, they say, the cross border attacks have continued unabated.
In April 2016, 208 people were killed and over 100 children were kidnapped in a cross border raid by the Murle. Some 50 children were returned.
Dr. Merera Gudina briefing the European parliament about the crisis in Ethiopia on November 9, 2016.
By Felix Horne | Human Rights Watch
Three months after Ethiopian security forces arrested opposition leader Dr. Merera Gudina upon his return to Ethiopia, following his participation in a hearing at the European parliament about the crisis in his home country, prosecutors on Thursday charged the prominent 60-year-old politician with rendering support to terrorism and attempting to “disrupt constitutional order.” Ethiopian marathon runner Feyisa Lelisa and the head of the banned opposition group Ginbot 7, Dr. Berhanu Nega, had also participated in the hearing that had been hosted by Member of the European Parliament Ana Gomes, and which was to inform delegates about the protests that have swept through Ethiopia since November 2015. Hundreds of people have been killed and tens of thousands detained since these protests began. Merera is now at Maekelawi, a prison where mistreatment and torture are commonplace.
Merera is the chair of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), a legally registered political opposition party. He joins many other senior OFC leaders facing terrorism charges over the last 18 months. Among those presently standing trial is OFC deputy chairman Bekele Gerba. Prosecutors included as evidence of his crimes a video of Bekele at an August 2016 conference in Washington, DC, where he spoke of the importance of nonviolence and commitment to the electoral process. Like Merera, he has been a moderate voice of dissent in a highly polarized political landscape.
Merera and Bekele join a long list of opposition politicians, journalists, and protesters charged under the 2009 anti-terrorism law, regularly used to stifle critical views of governance in Ethiopia. Acquittals are rare, credible evidence is often not presented, and trials are marred by numerous due process concerns.
During the state of emergency – called by the government in October 2016 in response to the crisis and to crush the growing protests – the Ethiopian government publicly committed to undertake “deep reform” and engage in dialogue with opposition parties to address grievances. Instead of taking actions that would demonstrate genuine resolve to address long-term grievances, the government again used politically motivated charges to further crack down on opposition parties, reinforcing a message that it will not tolerate peaceful dissent. This raises serious questions regarding the government’s commitment to “deep reform” and dialogue with the opposition. Instead of responding to criticism with yet more repression, the Ethiopian government should release opposition politicians jailed for exercising their basic rights, including Bekele and Merera. Only then can a meaningful and constructive dialogue with opposition parties take place that can begin to address long-term grievances.
I am very surprised to learn that my former boss and health minister Dr. Tedros adhanom is one of the three top contenders to lead the WHO. He was not my immediate boss, but I was hired and started working as public health officer, when he was the head of the Ethiopian ministry of health. He started the campaign Mainstreaming Hygiene and sanitation into preventive Health Care Programs. Simply the motto was “Let’s prevent communicable disease by washing our hands”. The campaign and the idea were great. However, access to clean water in Addis Ababa and the rest of Ethiopia at large, is still a huge challenge. Hence, the campaign was an exercise in futility. In this short article, I want to emphasis how Ethiopia’s preventative health care policy under Dr. Adhanom was simply marketing his political persona than benefiting the public.
After graduating with a degree, in public health, I was hired by one of the local community health care centers that are established primarily to provide preventative health care. These centers were mostly built during Dr. Tedros Adhanoms reign as health minister of Ethiopia. Even though he was a political appointee with no experience in health care, Dr.Tedros was lucky to have the international community pouring millions of dollars of donation to support the Ethiopian health care system from the AIDS and Malaria crises that engulfed the nation in the mid-90s.
Thousands of primary health care centers were built all over Ethiopia, and Addis Ababa particularly. Most of these buildings were built by contactors owned by the political party that Dr. Adhanom was representing. I will not go into the details of how these substandard two and three floor buildings were built to show how the government was investing in health care. The devil is in the detail. As a young health care practitioner with ambition to help the public, I was enthusiastic to give my best knowledge in to practice. The two-story building that housed about 25 health care providers, has no the bare necessities a health care office should have. In the very small room I was assigned to see patients, consumable health care items such as sterile gloves, paper exam gowns and covers for exam tables, cotton swabs, gauze, tongue depressors, alcohol prep pads, sample containers, chemical test strips, suturing equipment, syringes, disposable instruments, stethoscope, water sink, and restroom supplies were non-existent. This is a fact in most health care centers in Ethiopia.
Imagine, treating a patient with communicable disease and don’t have even a place to wash your hands. I am not trying to compare North American health centers to one in Ethiopia. However, what is the point of building substandard health care facilities with no or very limited equipments that will help you provide health care to the public. I do remember many nights that we used our smart phone flashlights to help delivering babies. Those of us, who openly crossed (what do you mean by cross) the absence of bare medical necessities were labeled as opposition sympathizer’s and passed for promotions or personal development courses.
According to an article posted on Addis Standard on September 27, 2016, Girma Gutema wrote Dr. Tedros left the Ethiopian health sector very much politicized and crippled, which must be yet depoliticized if it has to function properly. The more than 35,000 female health extension workers trained for six months and deployed across Ethiopia during his tenure, which many praises him for, are more of political cadres who are deployed in rural household families to serve the TPLF than helping health workers.” It is far-fetched to label all of us as political cadres. However, as a primary health care provider, my fellow health care workers and I felt as soldiers sent to a war without any guns.
Dr. Tedros is smart hiring marketing and public relation firms for publicizing his empty campaigns on various health issues. Wash your hand to prevent disease where water is scarce and building health care centers with no health care necessities. I have heard of cases where women were told to bring water during their child delivery. The alleged progresses in the health care sector for which Dr. Tedros was appreciated are only empty propaganda. The data are false and manipulated to fit into the agenda of the ruling party. I am a living witness of the poor status of the Ethiopian health care system.
The World Health Organization needs someone capable and knowledgeable about health care. I am against the election of Tedros Adhanom. If Tedros is elected, then WHO will be choosing impunity over accountability and incompetency over fitness. Dr. Tedros does not have the required knowledge and to lead WHO. In addition to being a Minister of Health, Dr. Tedros was serving as a Minister of Foreign Affairs of one of the most oppressive and repressive government in Africa. He is known for attempting to justify the human rights violations in Ethiopia. Putting at the top of WHO will only signify WHO’s endorsement of dictatorship.
The election of Dr. Tedros as head of the WHO will add insult to injury to the Ethiopian people who are being ruled by an iron fist by his political party, the Tigrai People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). Dr Tedros, politically and ethnically belongs to the group of a few TPLF high-ranking individuals who reign Ethiopia with impunity. It will be a disgrace and a mere contempt to even consider Dr. Tedros for such a position that requires humanity, equity and concern for the weak and destitute. WHO, as a leading world health organization should not taint its image and reputation by inviting such a mean, cruel and shrewd individual to assume a powerful and sensitive occupation.
Dr. Tedros and his government should not be allowed to use WHO as a tool to disguise their true color and present them selves as conscientious citizens. It is morally and humanly wrong to appoint any individual for such position with a record of human rights violations and persecutions. The world needs great global state men and women. There is no place for ethnically narrow, repressive, oppressive and divisive individuals in our times. “One who can not clean his own back yard can not clean someone else’s.” Therefore, Dr. Tedros Adhanom should not be allowed to take any position in the WHO and representatives who vote in the election must not give their vote to Tedros Adhanom.
The predicament of Woyane:- when the destabilizer ends up being destabilized
When Somalia collapsed in 1990 and imploded into clan based civil war for 27 years, the Derg was celebrating the success of its destabilizing policy against the Somalis. According to a recently publicised research study (professor Belete Belachew Yilhun) based on the analysis of previously secret official documents of the regimes foreign ministry, Somalia was indeed destroyed by Ethiopia`s clandestine destabilizing operations. The Minority TPLF has been using exactly this obviously successful policy in Somalia to destroy Eritrea. Actually Woyane had deployed more resources and have powerful supporters than Derg to make it a success. But to the dismay of the TPLF not only it has not work at all, but in a paradoxical way is working against its very own survival as a regime.
The figurehead PM of Woyane`s regime in a recent speech he made during his visit to the troubled Wolquait area up in arms against its illegal incorporation into Tigrai Kelel, after openly admitting his failing policies towards Eritrea, indicated that a new policy is under consideration. For many who are familiar with the politics of Woyane, although they found it uncharacteristic of the bombastic Woyane to openly admit its defeat, they see nothing changing. For some however, it is an indication of war. In my opinion, one need to figure out what he actually meant by his admission of a failing policy, before tackling the question of what else more it can do to continue destabilizing Eritrea.
Anyone who has followed the Woyane`s foreign policy towards Eritrea understands how much resources and efforts it has invested during the last 20 years to destabilize Eritrea. Diplomatically, economically, politically, militarily, security wise, migration wise has done all it can to see Eritrea destabilized and finally turn it out like Somalia. One can easily trace the hand of Woyane in all the problems or constraints thrown out against Eritrea, especially the depletion of its of youth and the UN sanctions and investigations. Here, it is worth noting that Woyane has been the beneficiary of the unreserved support of the Obama administration. However, in spite of these enormous investments Woyane has failed to draw any benefit, let alone its desired wish of destabilized Eritrea. So, is the PM indicating a complete U-turn of policies and doing the right thing or has he something new up in his sleeves?
In answering this question, it is important to bear in mind the timing and context of the announcement. This figurehead PM knows perfectly well that it is heading a country languishing under state of emergency, because the people of Ethiopia in general and the oromos and amharas in particular have revolted against its rule. After 25 years, this minority regime's backward and cruel administration is under serious threat. Although there has been many armed groups for decades fighting this regime, this people's uprising has created the perfect storm to threaten the regime seriously. The very area, Wolquait, where the PM made the announcement is now turned into a battleground between the Woyane security forces and the armed farmers and armed oppositions. Despite its attempt to crackdown hard, the armed resistance is gaining momentum and following its sigmoid curve is expected to grow for all to see and notice.
The Woyanes actually are sensing the danger coming from an intensified military engagement with the armed oppositions. And they are specially worried with the military ramification of the TPDMs engagement. This group has two remarkable qualities that will have a critical bearing on the military threat against the regime. First, it is by and large a Tigraian armed group, although Ethiopians from all ethnicities are present. Secondly, it has a well-organized military capability; organized in divisions and with a fighting capability to wage conventional warfare. This militarily powerful group has been todate not actively engaged in the military activities in the north. This group had been militarily very active up to 2011/2012 in Tigrai, but since then has been not very active. Instead it has been organizing itself into a formidable military force by building up its all round capabilites that would enable it for a conventional strategic military thrust. By reading between the lines of a recent interview by the vice-chairman of the organization, one is left without doubt, what they are up to. Soon, any time they will come to military activities and it may turn out to be a game changer.
When the TPDM come into military action, Tigrai will be one of the major battlefield area. This will be for Woyane embarrassing on one hand and threatening on the other hand. It is to be recalled that, following the desertion of the organization`s incompetent chairman together with some tricked followers, Woyane made a propaganda fanfare of it and unwisely lied to the Ethiopian people and the world at large, that TPDM is finished and no longer exist. More importantly that Tigrai, the very home ground of TPLF, would turn to a battleground that would be too much of an embarrassment for Woyane to bear. Globally and regionally Woyane would lose face and all its standing and interventionist adventure in the Horn would be thrown in disarray. Its effect will definitely reverberate across the country and the armed rebels would be encouraged to enhance their activities from Ogaden to gambella, from Benishangul to Afar, and from Bale to Amhara. And in the final analysis, the beginning of the end of its regime would be in full swing. So this is the nightmarish scenario the PM is bearing in mind, when he talks about the failing policies.
This is the paradox Woyane is forced to grapple with; a destabilizer turned destabilized. In my opinion, that is what the PM meant by the failure of its regime`s destabilizing policies against Eritrea. Typically, any government like Woyane who has lost the hearts and minds of his people, would try to save his skin by negotiating with the external powers it would love to blame for its predicament. According to this conventional wisdom, one expect Woyane reaching out for a rapprochement with the Eritrean government. That is exactly what the Siad Barre government did with Ethiopia under Derg. But, Woyane being such a strange and unpredictable animal, it would be hard to read its mind. Knowing the psyche of Woyane, no one expects Woyane to take a pragmatic approach. But if does, it would look for resolving the outstanding issues regarding its evacuation of sovereign Eritrea`s territory and thereby opening the possibility of normalization between the two countries and while at the same time responding duly to the legitimate demands of the Ethiopian people. That would be the most rational decision to pursue after 20 years of disaster in the Horn. However, it sounds far fetched to expect that from Woyane, but who knows the heat it is feeling.
If Woyane decides to reach out for rapprochement with Eritrea, it should not come as a total surprise. It is a well documented fact that Woyane has been unceasingly calling for a negotiation with Eritrea and to that end pleading for the help of several intermediaries. This call for negotiation may be dismissed as a public relations exercise designed to deflect the criticism arising from its legally indefensible rejection of the final and binding ruling of the border commission. Or even if it means a serious offer, it will have it only on its own terms ; the socalled 5 points plan. Nevertheless, one can not fail to notice the sense of desperation or insecurity, when the PM cries in every opportunity making himself available to go to Asmara for talks. If the regime really feels secure and strong, it needn't do that. But it is not, while it knows only too well that Eritrea can influence what it is happening in Ethiopia. So, considering the prevailing worrying situation, the regime may find it necessary to mend its relationship with Eritrea, in order to save its regime. To this effect, it may withdraw the so called 5 point plan and agree to withdraw from Eritrean territories while at the same time calling for a parallel negotiation on agenda set by both parties. Just recently the Finnish were approached to enlist their help in this regard. If this request is confirmed, the woyane proposal indicates a complete departure from its previous position.
The second alternative is going to war. However, resorting to full scale war is not an easy undertaking for Woyane to make. It had already tried it in 1998-2000 and has seen it the hard way. The world could not imagine how disastrous the war was to Woyane with 123,000 dead and double that injured, (but the world keep repeating 70, 000 casualties on both sides). In the recent 2016 battle of Tsorona, Woyanes intruding army was beaten so hard that it was compelled to retreat in complete disarray leaving its dead and wounded as well as prisoners behind. Although Eritrea is under UN military embargo and other constraints, Eritrea is fully ready and capable to defend its border. If any one underestimates Eritrea`s strength, I am sure Woyane knows better. Woyane knows perfectly, that it is not by miracle that there is complete security across Eritrea including the borders areas, despite every destabilizing attempt it has made; which has now openly admitted as a failure. On the other hand, Woyane can not depend on a divided, demoralized and otherwise whose loyality questionable security forces. Unlike the war in 1998, this time there are also armed oppositions which threaten its rear base and that is strategically very damaging. So in balance going to war is not favourable to Woyane. It has no capability either for a clandestine air attack on strategic economic centers to harm Eritrea`s promising economic progress, although may appear attractive for its deniability of responsibility and evasion attention of the international community.
There is another important legal dimension of war that Woyane has to address before going to war. Eritrea is a sovereign, independent state and member of the UN as well as AU. According to international law, only in self-defence can one country declare war on another sovereign state. When Woyane unleashed its aggression in 1998, the convenient pretext was border dispute or rather being the victim of an Eritrean invasion. Now the border dispute is resolved by the 13th May 2002 ruling of the boundary commision, it has no legal issue against Eritrea. If anything, it is Eritrea that is legally entitled to use force to liberate its illegally occupied sovereign territories including Badme. That means Woyane would be hard-pressed to come up with a legal justification for declaring war on Eritrea; without discounting what Woyane is capable of as a pathological lier. Considering all these facts, it is very unlikely that Woyane would resort to war again. If it has the capability to do that, it could have done it long time ago. Not now, when Eritrea is in much stronger shape than the previous several years since the end of the the 1998-2000 war.
In conclusion, one can not help but notice that Woyane`s predicament is so bad, that it will do anything to save its regime from its probable downfall. As it has itself openly admitted, the long held policy of destabilization against Eritrea has not only failed completely, but the regime fears the influence of Eritrea in the trajectory of events in Ethiopia. But, its options are limited and none are prospective. The alternatives are either going to war or coming to terms with the decision of the border commission and be willing to handover sovereign Eritrea`s territories. If this is coupled with appropriately responding to the demands of the Ethiopian people, the regime can save its days. But, Woyane being such a regime that doesn't yield for rationality, the likelihood of such an outcome is very small. On the other hand, the ratcheting up of the confrontation to war level will not benefit the regime. Considering the prevailing uprisal by the people of Ethiopia, it is in a weaker position to execute effective war campaign against Eritrea and it won`t solve ist predicament. If anything, it would compound it. So, what would Woyane do to save its regime. One can predict rational decisions, but one can not predict irrational decisions based on misadventure or miscalculation. So, let`s wait and see what Woyane is up to.
An important meeting was taking place when General Gabre entered the hall to listen the Somali military officials’ discussion in Mogadishu, but General Mohamed Adan asked him, “What are you doing here?”
” I just wanted to participate with you in the meeting,” replied General Gabre Heard.
“I think you are in a wrong place,” said the General Adan to General Gabre. Then he told the Ethiopian official that it was not the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of Somalia. Gebre requested from the General to give a chance to talk to him personally but Adan said that he had no chance to do so.
Gebre sent a call to President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and asked him to help him participate in the defense forces’ meeting. Mohamud asked Gen. Gebre to ask Adan to talk to him on phone but General Adan rejected it by saying that he had no time and busy for doing his national duty.
Mr. Adan eventually told Gabre to get out of the meeting as soon as possible since he was a foreign diplomat.
“Gen. Gebre became upset and got out of the meeting hall. But President Hassan called General Adan and asked him to call at him,” according to officials attending the meeting.
General Adan went to the President and what they discussed remain unknown but when the general returned to the meeting hall he changed all security staff including his personal ones. However, Ethiopia’s Gebre became a man that degrades the Somali officials when he has no power.
By Lisa Schlein | VOANews
U.N. aid agencies are appealing to international donors to provide money to scale up lifesaving operations in drought-stricken Ethiopia and Somalia, where millions of hungry people are at risk of death and illness.
Five years after a devastating 2011 famine killed nearly 260,000 people in Somalia, famine again is stalking that country. The worst-affected areas are in northern Puntland and Somaliland, where dozens of drought-related deaths and many illnesses already are being reported.
"On Sunday, we received reports of 38 deaths due to drought-linked reasons in the Bakool region of south-central Somalia," said Leo Dobbs, spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency. "Medical cases include people with acute malnutrition — especially children — watery diarrhea and cholera. These problems are likely to grow without substantial aid."
The United Nations estimates that half of Somalia's population, 6.2 million people, is threatened by the drought. The U.N. Children's Fund said children were the most vulnerable.
Christiane Boulierac, a UNICEF spokesman, said the number of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition "is expected to rise to 270,000 in the next few months."
Flight to urban areas
The UNHCR said thousands of people were leaving their homes and heading for urban areas, including the Somali capital, Mogadishu, because of the drought, rising food prices and dry weather forecasts — all problems compounded by continuing warfare.
Dobbs told VOA the Somali government was taking this situation very seriously, and that this was a very personal matter for President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who was Somalia's prime minister during the 2011 famine disaster.
The president wants to make sure that scenes that marked those days are not repeated — scenes of "people walking for days and days and arriving in dreadful physical shape, and where children were suffering from acute malnutrition. He wants to avoid that certainly in areas where there is complete control," the refugee agency spokesman said.
UNHCR has begun helping displaced people in the worst-affected areas, Dobbs said, but "swift and substantial action and adequate funding are becoming urgently needed to avoid famine and a repeat of 2011."
The U.N. agency urgently needs $825 million to carry out humanitarian operations until June, he said.
On a related issue, the United Nations released $18.5 million from its global emergency fund in response to a new catastrophic drought in Ethiopia.
Jens Laerke of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs told VOA this response was "triggered by the very rapidly deteriorating situation we have in Ethiopia, and in particular in the Somali region, where the pastoralists were extremely vulnerable to climatic changes and were in very dire condition."
Farmers move herds
Laerke said the emergency funds could help more than 785,000 people suffering from hunger, malnutrition and severe water shortages. Thousands of farmers who raise livestock in the Somali region already have been forced to relocate their herds in search of water and pasture.
The current drought hit Ethiopia before the country had a chance to recover from the effects of a devastating El Nino-induced drought in 2015-16. That disaster left more than 10 million people in urgent need of aid last year.
Bettina Luescher, spokeswoman for the World Food Program, said the Ethiopian government and partners helped save countless lives and averted a humanitarian catastrophe.
"So the good news is that the numbers of people that this year will need help with food assistance is down from last year," she said. "This year, 5.6 million people will need assistance."
WFP said it needed $268 million to provide food aid for the drought victims through July. The United Nations has put the cost of its humanitarian operation for this year at $948 million.
By Tsegaye Tegenu, PhD | February 20, 2017
The recent departure of the well-loved Ethiopian historian, Professor Richard Pankhurst provide us the opportunity to remember the efforts of professional historians who for the first time started university based history teaching and research on Ethiopia. The founders were few in number and all of them have now passed out of existence, Professor Richard Pankhurst being the last.
Upon hearing the death of Professor Taddesse Tamrat (in May 2013), Professor Donald Edward Crummey wrote a letter to Professor Bahru Zewde “There is one fewer of us now, and we were never many to start with”. On August 16, 2013, three months after he wrote the letter, Crummey passed away and the few who lived behind him soon passed away one after the other: Professor Sven Rubenson (October 2013), Professor Donald Levine (April 2015), and now Professor Richard Pankhurst (February 2017). Before that all of them were trying to overcome grief of their loved compatriots, Professor Harold Marcus (January 2003), Dr. Sergew Hable Selassie (January 2003), Dr. Zewde Gebre Sellassie (December 2008), Professor Merid Wolde Aregay (December 2008), and Professor Aleme Eshete (March 2011). Now no one left behind to tell the stories of the pioneers of academic history.
The professionalisation of history writing in Ethiopia started with the establishment of the Department of History (1962) and Institute of Ethiopian Studies (1963), at the then Haile Selassie I University (Addis Ababa University). Before that Ethiopian history was written by chroniclers, royal courts appointed officials, historians educated and drawn from monastic ranks. Even if these historians had some major characteristics of professional historiography (had already developed ideas about objectivity and truthfulness), they did not consistently reflect on their methods and theories. When writing Ethiopian history they were not at pain to attempt to scarify literary ambition, religious and political biases in favour of scientificity (for the sake of greater truthfulness and objectivity).
The methodological ground rules of professional historiography (source criticism, objectivity, archival research, the desire to consult as many primary sources and the use of auxiliary sciences) were introduced in teaching and research by Prof. Sven Rubenson, Prof. Donald Crummey, Prof. Merid Wolde Aregay, and Prof. Taddesse Tamrat, among others. These historians served as department head of history and director of IES at different points in time. They introduced their university based training to establish training and research programs at Addis Ababa University. Prof. Sven Rubenson had his training from University of Lund (which share its historiographical tradition from University of Göttingen), Prof. Donald Crummey, Prof. Merid Wolde Aregay, and Prof. Taddesse Tamrat from School of Africana and Oriental Studies ( SOAS), and Prof. Richard Pankhurst from London School of Economics.
It is beyond the scope of this memorial tribute to present a descriptive and factual account of their struggle in establishing professional academic and scholarly history writing on Ethiopia. All of them dedicated their resources and time in researching the various periods and geographical and thematic areas of Ethiopia, training students, building research capacities, funding documentation system and graduate programs.
Greatest works of the founders include
Aleme Eshete (1982), The Cultural Situation in Socialist Ethiopia. Paris. UNESCO.
Crummey, Donald (1972), Priests & Politicians: Protestant & Catholic Missions in Orthodox Ethiopia (1830-1868). Oxford
Levine, Donald (1974), Greater Ethiopia: The Evolution of a Multiethnic Society. London.
Marcus, Harold (1985), The life and times of Menelik II: Ethiopia, 1844-1913. Oxford.
Merid Wolde Aregay (1971), Southern Ethiopia and the Christian Kingdom, 1508-1708. SOAS.
Pankhurst, Richard (1968), Economic History of Ethiopia, 1800-1935. Addis Ababa.
Rubenson, Sven (1976), The survival of Ethiopian independence. London
Sergew Hable Selassie (1972), Ancient and medieval Ethiopian history to 1270. Addis Ababa.
Taddesse Tamrat (1972), Church and State in Ethiopia: 1270 – 1527. Oxford.
Zewde Gebre Sellassie (1975), Yohannes IV of Ethiopia: A Political Biography. Oxford
University based history teaching and research in Ethiopia has now over five decade tradition. The founders has set in motion a scientific method and approach in historical research and teaching, which amounts almost a revolution in the Ethiopian historiography. We all take immense pride in their scholarly achievements, and extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation for all of their hard work and devotion to the Ethiopian people.
Tsegaye Tegenu, PhD
Department of Social and Economic Geography