What has torture-in-chief minister Debretsion Gebremichael to do with Ogaden? Is he truly Ethiopia’s security-in-chief? Is it because of that Ethiopia tails all nations in its digital development?

30 Jun

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin, The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

I was reading Addis Standard‘s revealing article on Ma’eklawi, Ethiopia’s secret prison in the heart of Addis Abeba, known for its cruelty and tortures of prisoners. It has been a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council for over four years now. Just Tuesday, it was elected a member of the United Nations Security Council.

This has forced me to wonder and ask whether international cooperation that has been responsible in the elaboration of so many international instruments to protect human rights crimes is still alive. Otherwise, Ethiopia should not have become a member of those important United Nations bodies, unless one shows me my thinking needs changing into accepting torture and human degradation.

Society upholds respect for principles defending human rights because it is in national and international laws. Moreover, it is also part of man’s inherent virtues that philosophers refer to as natural law.

That is why I venture to say Ma’ekelawi should rather be the shame and embarrassment not of Ethiopia alone, but as much that of democratic nations that have been collaborating with the TPLF regime in its torture of Ethiopian citizens.

One of such countries is the United Kingdom. While we feel sorry for the plight of part of its population that are taken for a ride by Tory conservative politics in the Brexit referendum, we see them now as a nation worried about preserving itself as a single nation, which in spite of everything we used to like and admire for many things.

Perhaps this experience would afford them a moment to understand our pains its politics and surreptitious British hands and their support for the TPLF constantly undermining Ethiopia and its people with its violence and deceptiveness.

Yesterday, we saw a Foreign Office tweet in which its Human Rights Minister Joyce Anelay announced preparation to release £725,000 ($974,000) of Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights on Torture Prevention.

To be frank, we were angered by England’s pretensions, why it is now thinking that it could get the trust of the world in spending whatever moneys to prevent torture. In the case of Ethiopia, it has been and still is training the TPLF torturers that torment Ethiopians in marked and unmarked cells!

What is the point of Joyce Anelay’s charity to any country in a similar situation?

In the case of Ethiopia, it is the UK that in the context of the country cooperation program with Ethiopia from 2011-2015, which labeled the TPLF regime’s “approach to political governance as [presenting] “both substantive challenges to sustainable development and reputational risks to partners.” Notwithstanding this, in the past five years nothing has changed in its policies to make the UK a friend of the Ethiopian people, instead of the murderers with guns!

In Ethiopia, the UK trained Liyu Police in the Ogaden’ have proved to be the region’s nightmare. I recall reading in The Guardian, its strongest criticism of London on the matter (see this, this , this, more criticisms and denials).

Tell me please, what is the point of the deception now, when the UK has not been able to reconcile the variances between its pledges to defend human rights and funding/training the worst killers and committers of genocide in Ethiopia. Oromia, Gambella, Amhara, in the Omo Valley and, for all these years in the Ogaden?

Please don’t tell the world that, for instance, the United Kingdom was not aware that in the last days, when the fighting between Ogadeni and Oromo ethnic groups intensified, ‘TPLF security and torture-in-chief Debretsion Gebremichael’ secretly flew to the Ogaden. He was shown in public with the regional president – another most hated torture master. Debertsion’s visit in the few hours he was there, he possibly may have expressed TPLF’s solidarity with the regional chief to encourage the Liyu Police – thanks to Britain – to intensify its elimination of Bale & Harar Oromos – the Eastern region being an indistinguishable hotbed of OROMO PROTESTS.

Interestingly, news of Debretsion’s visit was announced on the media three days ago. Today, nobody can find its traces on TPLF media – not one of them have kept it! There must be a central directive to expunge it form the news pages!

Isn’t there something sinister, this being something that has to do with security matters? It is not the ONLF, nor is Al Shabab source of its worries in the Ogaden.

As usual, at a time of crisis, instead of aiming at a solution TPLF dances on the head of a pin to intensify division within the nation. The TPLF has no other qualities to endear him to people that could help evolve national consensus. Britain must under this better than any other nation; like any thief, the TPLF can only prevail under division, irrespective of its implications to the nation!

While formally Debretsion is minister of ICT, he has always focussed on security matters, his response for anything hard and blood thirsty, his language filled with harshness and as cold as an assassin’s demeanor.

As far as his official duties are concerned, nothing explains better why his official job is not his priority. The 2015 ITU report – Measuring the Information Society Report – shows that Ethiopia has become 165th out of 167 nations in the overall ranking of ICT Development Index (IDI). This is distilled from a composite figures. Suffice it to state, in 2014 Ethiopia has 0.5 percent individual citizens with mobile broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, the lowest in the world. In the same manner, 7.5 percent per hundred inhabitants had mobile broadband subscription.

By Sub-Saharan African standards, Ethiopia is ranked 35th out of 37 nations reporting, just ahead of Eritrea and Chad!

Why is the TPLF playing at our nation’s future and its possibilities? In the short while the Front could reassign its minister, who has no idea of what should be done, save gagging the nation, as primary source of TPLF security.

Let me remind you that it is this person masquerading ‘PhD’ before his name and in this age and time who had a bill to parliament, making it a crime to use Skype and VoIP in Ethiopia. The country’s good fortune is that world public opinion amazingly and instantly rallied with the people and demanded against this return of a nation to the Middle Ages in the suppression of human and technological endeavors and freedoms in Ethiopia!

Debretsion’s focus has for a while now been on the torture of people suspected of entertaining independent ideas and opinions in Ethiopia, i.e., those who are not willing and cannot swallow TPLF’s selfishness and lamebrain’s vision!

I cannot emphasize sufficiently the importance of solidarity with nations that try to live their lives in peace. Therefore, each and every nation that has been bankrolling the TPLF, humanity’s cruse, must end its cruelty to the people of Ethiopia, by ending is support to torturers and killers!

The fact that I pointed out Britain’s role in the Ogaden does not mean that the United States has cleaner hands. We hear that the US supplies the murderous Ethiopian army with financing, weapons and intelligence, as the army massacres helpless people! It should also end such cruelty. Ethiopians do not support terrorism and extremism of any strands! Why harass peaceful people, allying with bonehead killers?

This is an appeal for people of conscience!


Ethiopia: it is time to stop the reign of terror of the Liyu Police

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