Redwan Hussein Embarrassed the TPLF

Redwan Hussein Embarrassed the TPLF
By LJDemissie | August 26, 2016

“The most ethical way to deal with an unethical situation would be to simply say: ‘we did
something wrong.’ But nobody in a family like mine [the hatemonger regime of the Tigrayan
People’s Liberation Front (the TPLF)] would ever respond like this.” Patti Davis For his bravery at the 2016 Rio Olympics marathon’s finish line and at the Games’ Closing Ceremonies, I dedicated this article to Feyisa Lilesa the men’s marathon silver medalist and my new hero.

That, to increase the world’s awareness about the TPLF’s killing of the Oromo people and to show his solidarity with the Oromo protesters in Ethiopia, he protested on the world’s largest stage. Watched by billions of people across the globe as he finished his race, Lilesa crossed his wrists in front of his forehead which is “a gesture of the Oromos’ protest” that shows they are held captive by the TPLF. Moreover, following finishing his race, he didn’t attempt to get the TPLF’s flag from a spectator to show pride in his country by waving it. To me, this is a significant action he exhibited that showed his disrespect for the TPLF’s flag. I think Lilesa’s heroic protest was the greatest moment of the Olympics which unveiled the TPLF’s ruthlessness and nepotism to billions of people.

The only remark I have about his protest is that the Oromo people aren’t the only people the TPLF is killing. It is slaughtering all Ethiopians, including the Tigrayans those who are peacefully requesting a democratic government that replaces the TPLF’s autocratic regime. So I think he should have protested for every Ethiopian instead of only for the Oromos.

Another embarrassing moment of the Games for the TPLF was Kiros Habte Kinfe and Robel Kiros Habte’s (a Tigrayan father and son) greed which exposed the TPLF regime’s greediness.

Redwan Hussein sent the flabbiest swimmer the Olympics have ever seen 

The Ethiopian Minister of Youth & Sport and the TPLF/the EPRDF’s executive committee member, Redwan Hussein, exposed and embarrassed the TPLF by presenting to the world the supersized swimmer the fattest the Olympics have ever seen.

Hussein is from the Gurage tribe who sold out his tribe and became a nonTigrayan crony of the TPLF. He turned a deaf ear to the mockery of Robel Kiros Habte by the international media about his fitness to compete in the Olympics men’s 100 freestyle swimming heat. He disregarded how Kinfe managed to make his own son Ethiopia’s Olympics team flag bearer at the Opening Ceremonies. He also ignored questions about why Habte’s father accompanied his son to the Games instead of his coach. His silence makes his nepotism and favoritism to his masters - the TPLF’s cronies - obvious. Moreover, Hussein’s silence is an evidence for the TPLF’s failure to fight corruption because its executive and central committee members, including Sebhat Nega, Seyoum Mesfin, and Abay Tsehaye are the most nepotistic.

The best swimmer the TPLF produced in 25 years is too 

Fat As a country’s economy grows, its sports are supposed to grow. But, although the TPLF led government has been claiming a double digit economic growth for more than a decade, it was only able to showcase at the Rio Olympics Habte aka “Robel the Whale”, a supersized 24-yearold Olympian swimmer, as Ethiopia’s best swimmer (overeater) that it produced since it has been in power.

Watching Habte on the Olympics’ swimming starting block caught me by surprise. And it made me chuckle and shake my head because he looked physically unfit to compete in the men’s 100-meter freestyle heat. I also thought out loud that Ethiopia might become the first country in the world that presented the fattest Olympian swimmer ever.

Since he didn’t look like an Olympics swimming competitor, he became the talk of the world that unraveled the TPLF’s nepotism and favoritism in the athlete selection process. So I heard and read some of what was said about him. I also watched and/or heard some of the interviews he gave to various media. In his interviews, he sounded like a joyful person and a believer. Although he appeared a Christian, he received what he didn’t earn, and he wasn’t shy to be in front of a camera and/or a microphone to show off what he didn’t deserve. For example:

  1. He undeservingly received from his father – who is the Ethiopian Swimming Federation’s president – the honor of carrying the Ethiopian flag at the Olympics’ Opening Ceremonies. And he showed confidence leading the world renowned Ethiopian athletes in front of tens of thousands of spectators not to mention countless television screens across the world.
  2. He boldly put his dad-bod on display at the Olympics’ swimming starting block. And he made himself a laughing stock - and by extension the TPLF. Sarcastically some said that he helped by improving the Ethiopians’ famine images of 1970’s and 1980’s which “pierced the conscience of the world”. 

In my opinion, to look athletic, he doesn’t need to have nutritionists, coaches and/or a fancy workout facility staffed with exercise equipment. To explain, a few times I got out of shape and got back into shape by doing basic workouts while I was eating and drinking what I like. I controlled my food portions and beverage intake, and I ran, jogged and walked. I did sit-ups and squats at a public park or at home.

To be fair to him, comparing with the swimming training resources and support the TPLF could afford to provide to him (accepting the reality of the double digit economic growth), I thought his finishing time was good. I also thought his rank 59th out of 59 competitors wasn’t bad because at least he showed that he could finish his competition. However, I believed it was greed that made his father and him take a task that they didn’t deserve and weren’t prepared for.

The family act is a manifest failure of the TPLF 

To lengthen their grip of power, the TPLF’s elites organized Ethiopians along their ethnic lines. And they foment ethnic strife among the ethnic groups by amplifying their differences than there commonalities. To elaborate, first, one has to be a Tigre to be a member of the TPLF. In other words, an Amhara, an Oromo, a Wolayta, etc., cannot be a member of the TPLF.

It is also a fact that members of the TPLF/the EPRDF are part and parcel of the ruling class of today’s Ethiopia, so they are privileged. They get key posts of the government, the military, the security, the media and they control the country’s economy. Based on their loyalty to the TPLF, they also have easy access to higher education. And once they are admitted to a higher educational institution and they keep their loyalty to the TPLF they are guaranteed to graduate and to get the best government position. Then they assist the TPLF to rule Ethiopians, including ordinary Tigrayans with an iron fist.

To illustrate, on the one hand, Ethiopia’s top post of the military and the security are in the hands of the most loyal members of the TPLF those who have little or no education. In the TPLF’s cold, ruthless security apparatus, junior to senior interrogators, torturers, snitches, snoops and spies are Tigrayans.

On the other hand, Tigrayans are the most oppressed people of Ethiopia under the TPLF’s regime. However, they appear willing captives of the TPLF. For instance, most people of Tigray, including Tigrayan scholars don’t think, speak or write freely although they should objectively analyze Tigrayan problems in order to help to create a better Ethiopia that is unified with the commonalities of its nations and nationalities than divided by their differences. I think Tigrayan social and behavior scientists need to consider analyzing what’s wrong with most of Tigrayan scholars’ that they appear a happy captive of the TPLF.

How did Ethiopia select its unmerited flag carrier at the Olympics? 

I learned that most countries that participated in the Rio Olympics had a standard to choose their flag bearer. For example, according to Wikipedia, for the 2016 Rio Olympics, Kenyan’s flag bearer Shehzana Anwar - a recurve archer - was chosen by the Kenyan National Olympics Committee.

It seemed to me that Ethiopia doesn’t have a criterion for choosing its flag bearer at the parade of nations at the Olympics Opening Ceremonies although it has been participating in the Olympics since 1956 and has an “Ethiopian Olympic Committee, founded in 1948 and recognized by the International Olympic Committee in 1954.”

To illustrate, to my knowledge, Ethiopia’s Olympic swimmer, Robel Kiros Habte’s father, Kiros Habte Kinfe, is a member of the TPLF which means he is a Tigre. And he is the Ethiopian Swimming Federation’s president.

Although he didn’t have an authority to choose Ethiopia’s flag bearer for the 2016 summer Olympics parade of athletes, he made his son the Ethiopian flag bearer at the Games Opening Ceremonies. And his son blissfully accepted from his father an honor he didn’t earn and became Ethiopia’s flag bearer. And he led some of world renowned Ethiopian athletes during the parade of nations at the Games that made his and his father’s integrity and motive questionable.

Robel’s father is a self-serving president of the federation 

According to Habte, his father funds the federation because it doesn’t have sponsors, and it doesn’t get any funding from the TPLF/the EPRDF government.

According to the Journal of Sport Management, “Sports teams and events are business investments both for the individual entrepreneur [Kiros Habte Kinfe the Ethiopian Swimming Federation president and also Robel Kiros Habte’s father] or athletic department that organizes and promotes them and for the communities that subsidize and host them.”

Based on the above information, it appears that Robel’s father has an economic benefit for funding the federation. Also it seemed that he might be one of the TPLF’s snitches or snoops that went to the Olympics to spy on team Ethiopia members. To explain, Lilesa said that team Ethiopia members don’t freely talk among themselves because they don’t trust each other.

Body shaming is mean spirited I think body shaming is rude. So I thought it was offensive calling Habte names such as: “Robel the Whale”, “fat”, “overweight”, “flabby”, “ልማታዊ! ዋናተኛው” “በላተኛ!” ዋናተኛው . . .

Though I think it was impolite making fun of Habte’s flabbiness, I got laughter out of his nicknames, especially from his nickname: “Robel the Whale”, “Flabby”, “ልማታዊ! ዋናተኛው” “በላተኛ! ዋናተኛው. I think they are right nicknames for him because comparing his body size with the other Olympian swimmers’ body size he looked supersized. Moreover, they unrevealed the Ethiopian double digit economic growth.

I also highly enjoyed the ሪፓርተር (a loyal mouthpiece of the TPLF though sometimes it plays a different cord and appears an independent media) satire about Habte, which read, in part: “አዋረደን ክቡር ሚኒስትር [Redwan Hussein]፡፡ ግን ሲታይ ልማታዊ ይመስላል፡፡ እንዴት ማለት? ቦርጩ የአገሪቷን ልማት ቁልጭ አድርጎ ያሳያል፡፡ምን አሉኝ? አታየውም እንዴ ቦርጩ ላይ የ11 በመቶ ዕድገቱን? … እናንተ ፖለቲከኞቻችን ከዋናተኛው አትሻሉም፡፡ ምን እያልክ ነው? እናንተም ከሌሎች የምዕራባውያን አገሮች ሚኒስትሮች ጋር ብትወዳደሩ እንደምታዋርዱ እርግጥ ነው፡፡”

I think the satire is reflective because it is Redwan Hussein, the TPLF/the EPRDF’s executive committee member and the Ethiopian Minister of Youth & Sport who made the TPLF a laughing stock of the world by sending an oversized swimmer to the Olympics.

If there is any accountably in the TPLF/the EPRDF’s government, Hussein would be held responsible and forced to resign from his post for embarrassing the TPLF: honoring an unmerited Olympian to carry the Ethiopian flag and sending the flabbiest swimmer the world have ever seen at the Games. Fortunately for him, he wouldn’t be held accountable for his decisions because he is the TPLF’s mindless, faithful servant.

Lastly, if Habte and his family need any encouragement, I extend my compassion to them because I think ridiculing Habte’s physical unfitness for the Olympics swimming competition is being unkind to them. However, I think they brought it on themselves by appearing to conspire to make Habte an Olympian and his father a member of the Ethiopian Olympics team in order to spy on team Ethiopia members.

The writer LJDemissie can be reached at