Commander of Tigray Defence Forces General Tadesse Werede said Ethiopian Government has a plan in place to install Alemu Sime from #Oromia #ProsperityParty as administrator of Tigray once it controls Mekelle in a press conference aired on Tigray state TV on Thursday. Alemu Sime, a close ally of PM Abiy Ahmed, is the Coordinating Minister of the Democracy Building Center at the PM’s Office.

General Tadesse Werede on Tigray state TV.
Alemu SIm

A replay of the last days of the Dergue era

THe Dergue ruled Ethiopian between 1974-1991. Legesse Asfaw was the last non-Tigrayan administrator installed by former president of Ethiopia, head of the Dergue Mengistu Hailemariam 32 years ago. The time was when Tigray was fighting for autonomy under some of the current leaders of Tigray People Liberation Front and some who are non-TPLF leaders Tigray Defense Forces who went to the deserts of Tigray abandoning their university studies. The response from Mengistu who has been in exile in Zimbabwe was for more “full-scale counter-insurgency campaign: detention, torture, and the attempted destruction of the rural economy by aerial bombardment of villages on market day”

Legesse Asfaw, was appointed as mastermind of this campaign as head of Tigray. Tigrayans still remember Legesse Asfaw’s for his “to kill the fish, you drain the water” saying to justify attacks on civilians.

Legesse Asfaw

The move that according to General Tadesse includes appointing administrators of local zone/districts from Amhara and Afar would be unprecedented since the coming into effect of the current constitutional arrangement in 1995. When Mekelle fell under the control of Abiy Ahmed’s forces for months (Dec 2020 – Jun 2021), the PM appointed Mulu Nega, a Tigrayan, as interim administrator.

Mulu Nega

UMD Media received from Ethiopian government sources that based on a review of what it considered as a failure of the interim regional government, Ethiopia has made a decision to appoint non-Tigrayan administrators. General Tadesse Werede’s pronouncement is, however, the first time a name is made public.

Seyoum Teshome an activist very close to the PM who from time to time airs government plans and decisions in his online platform and state media said recently “The people of Tigray should forget the idea of hoping to a get a Tigrayan administrator” accusing the former members of interim-government of Tigray including a long time opposition leader Abraha Desta who served social affairs head of the interim-government appointed by Abiy Ahmed as TPLFs .

Emperor Haile Selassie Era

The General said the appointment of Alemu Sime is a continuation of installing rulers to subjugate Tigray by Ethiopia referring to Haileselassie’s move after Qedamay Weyane movement that was based on among others a demand for “a Tigrean governor”. The Emperor appointed Fitawrari Alemayu Tena, “a Shoan with no feeling for local sensitivities”, who “rubbed Tigreans the wrong way and gave the worst possible face to the return of imperial power. He was replaced by another non-Tigrayan Fitawrari Kifle Dadi in November 1942.

The Emperor chose to quell the Qedamay Weyane movement with an army of an army of over 30,000 and the crucial help of British Royal Air Force that bombed different parts of Tigray the Emperor put Tigray under a non-Tigrayan. A total of at least 100 bombs documented: ‘On 14th October 54 bombs dropped in Mekelle, 6th October 14 bombs followed by (unknown number) bombs on 9th October in Hintalo, 7th/9th October 32 bombs in Corbetta’ in 1943.

Qedamay Weyane has served as a springboard to what is now called Dagmay Weyane that freed Tigray from the shackles of Legesse Asfaw in 1991.

Public reaction

The social media space of Tigrayan activists is full of anger after hearing what General Tadesse said about Addis Ababa’s plan to install Alemu Sime and others from outside to administer Tigray.

UMD Media approached some Tigrayan activists for their reflection.

Yohannes: “Putting aside the fact that this is a genocidal war, the appointment of this guy is pure violation of the current constitution which only proves that the country is on a path of self destruction of no return. This will eventually lead to the breakup of the country which the international community is saying it does not want.”

Leake Zegeye: “Tigray has resisted subjugation throughout its long 3000+ years history. Ethiopia benefited from this resistance and remained independent because Tigray defended all invaders. This installment of external rulers to subjugate Tigray will also be met with equal resistance. No Tigrayan will accept such humiliation. It is a disgrace to our ancestors and to us.”

Some Tigrayans saw the plan as a sinister plan for creating animosity between Oromo and Tigray. One of such social media posts goes: The ‘appointment’ of Alemu Sieme is designed to drive a wedge between Oromo and Tegaru. We Tegaru know that Oromia PP not only DOES NOT represent Oromo but is actually a deadly ENEMY of the Oromo people. We stand with our true Oromo brethren in their struggle against oppression.

Tigray’s marriage to self-rule

Tsedale Lemma, an ethnic Oromo and a well known Ethiopian journalist who founded the influential Addis Standard in an interview with Democracy NOW this week that covered war on Tigray and on Oromia this week said “Historically, Tigray has always been a place where people hold the right to self-administer so dear to themselves,” and the current war is “the third time” the people of Tigray wage a fight for protecting the right to self-administration.

After the war started on Nov 4, 2020, Tigrayans from all walks of life irrespective of their political differences saw it as threat to their identity and their right to self-rule. The volume of resistance songs released in the Tigrinya language is unprecedented by any measure in the history of Tigray and arguably the rest of Ethiopia. UMD Media collected an inexhaustive list of 380 songs a preliminary review of which indicates that they all have a dominant theme of resistance to any imposition of external rule.

UMD Media

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