Finland’s university withdraws Hailemariam Desalegn’s nomination for honorary degree

29 Mar

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)
Today, Wednesday March 29, 2017, President Mika Hannula of Tampere University of Technology (TUT) has confirmed in an email to the Ethiopian Community in Finland the decision of the TUT Academic Board, which states:

“It is the decision of the Academic Board that PM Hailemariam Desalegn will not be conferred an Honorary Doctor at the 2017 conferment ceremony.”

The Board does not speak anywhere in this message of any decision to award the honorary degree to Hailemariam Desalegn at a future date.

However, the first part of President Hannula’s email notes:

“Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has notified TUT that he will be unable to attend the Conferment of Doctoral Degrees on 20 May and has proposed that his conferment be conducted at a later, undefined date.”

Conferment of doctoral degree by TUT occurs every fifth year. Is the university to keep for Hailemariam Desalegn the said award for next five years until the next conferment cycle? Such questions have persuaded the members of the Community that the university authorities are protecting the actors in this exercise from present and future blames.

As any analytical mind could see the two sentences by the TUT Academic Board, reflecting its decision and Hailemariam’s desire, cannot naturally go hand in hand.

Let this situation not hide from memory at any moment.

Under normal circumstances, the recognition or nomination of a fellow Ethiopian for an honor or achievement ought to wow members of the Ethiopian Community in Finland, or Ethiopians elsewhere. Not this time however. It is simply because Ethiopians are persuaded that the prime minister lacks any of those attributes TUT officials have engrafted to him for his nomination.

Recall that TUT has announced to the whole world on its web page that its basis for recognition of the person for honorary doctoral degree are: “excellence in fields represented at [their] University and other exceptional scientific, artistic or social merits”.

The worst part of this nomination is that, as we indicated in our letters and messages, Hailemariam Desalegn is a habitual violator of human rights. His award need not be degrees and other honors. He must be held by law to account for all his crimes at the auspicious time at home or in an international criminal court, including for tortures and killings of our youth in large numbers whose crimes simply were demanding respect for their human and civil rights.

In Article 72 (1) of the Ethiopian Constitution, the prime minister is the chief executive of the Federal state, with responsibilities for the actions of the federal government. Hailemariam is therefore responsible for all crimes committed by the security forces under his command and for all their killings and torturing of innocent citizens.

The fact remains that nomination by a higher institution of learning, such as a university with TUT’s stature, comes with the highest honor – for its recognition of personal academic achievements. Such achievements are tangible and that they also are expected to be beneficial for society and its members.

One can search for a century, no microscope can show Hailemariam Desalegn’s concrete achievements and contributions.

This has led Community members to wonder if TUT’s nomination of him had its eyes elsewhere as a graduate of the university who now happens to be a prime minister. It is possible that their decision may have been attached to a finality – instead of achievements in the good traditions of nominating for honors scientists and scholars.

On his part, out of presumed naïveté or folly, by accepting the nomination Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has forced fresh inquisition into his role in society and a re-examination of his contributions.

As members of the Ethiopian Community repeatedly stated in their letters to TUT authorities and the media, all that citizens could see is blood-stained hands; it is the record of a person who has chosen to avail himself as a hired hand for the most hated Ethiopia’s ethnic minority regime, the barbaric murderers and torturers inside the TPLF.

The Ethiopian Community in Finland would like to place on record its earnest hope that there would no more be any repeat of this undeserved nomination of Hailemariam Desalegn.

Also, the Community would like to assure the university, wherever possible its cooperation in better understanding of the situation. In the meantime, the members of the Community would keep their eyes open and a burning indignation against any such action, as the individual seems to have his eyes on the award.

Honor must be earned!

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