Desperation, Frustration and Violence against the Oromo: Ginbot-7, Ethsat and the Dawit Wolde Giorgis Factor
By Leencoo Gidiraa (PhD), March 14, 2019
On March 13, 2019, in an apparently coordinated fashion, Ginbot-7, Ethsat and Dawit Wolde Giorgis released statements that called for violence against the Oromo nation. For those who have been following these groups, their vitriol towards the Oromo people is not new. They have been at it ever since they entered the public sphere. Ginbot-7, which has no home base and no constituents to fall upon has, since its inception, made the Oromo its enemy number one in an effort to garner the support of disgruntled individuals. Most recently, Eskender Naga became its point man to incite violence against the Oromo by appealing to likeminded hooligans in Finfinnee. Although he is a self-declared “human rights activist”, Eskender in coordination with Ginbot-7, Ethsat and Dawit Wolde Giorigis turned into a notorious anti-Oromo anarchist. His long-incarceration by the TPLF and the massive call for his release gave him international celebrity status. After his release from prison (ironically by an Oromo prime minister), Eskender began to celebrity status as a currency and license to incite violence against the Oromo. Three days before Ginbot-7’s statement came out, Eskender assembled a very few people in Finfinnee and declared war on the Oromo. But it is clear that the Oromo people and residents of Finfinnee never had any problem ever since the foundation of the city.
As former EPRP members, most leaders of Ginbot-7are experienced in inciting violence. Residence of Finfinnee have not forgotten what members of the EPRP and toady’s leaders of Ginbot-7 did on the streets back in 1977 and 1978. It was this group that turned the Derg into a monster. When they fled to save their lives, the Ethiopian people had to suffer in the hands of the brutal junta they created. This same group is now back under a different name to grab the power which it could not get in the late 1970s. The brave ones were decimated at Assimba, some were forged into EPDM and the coward ones sneaked into North America and Western Europe. It is the latter group that formed Ginbot-7.
With the ousting of the TPLF, this group returned to Ethiopia declaring its support for the reform that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has initiated. However, Ginbot-7’s actions clearly show that it is not sincere and has a hidden agenda of inciting violence and grab power by force. But the reform group led by Team Lema and Gedu clearly understood its insincerity and kept it at bay. Even more, the people of Amhara and Oromo (including the Gurage where the leader of the group “comes” from) rejected it and instead supported ODP and ADP. The Sidama, Afar, Walayita, Somali, Kambata, Hadiya, and every ethnic group in the nation also turned them away. At the center, the government of Prime Minister Abiy listened to the Ethiopian people and refused to dissolve federation. Ginbot-7 and Dawit and their lackeys Eskender and Ethast call Ethiopian federalism racist, or yezer polotika in Amharic. They do not even understand the meaning and concept of race or what they call zer. There is no race in Ethiopia, for that matter in Africa (except in South Africa). When they lost in the world of realpolitik, Ginbot-7 leaders raised the bar of their own ignorance. That is a clear sign of frustration and desperation portrayed in their statement of March 13. In the statement and in the subsequent media interview by one of its leaders, Andargatchew Tsige, the group declared its journey is over. It blamed the Oromo and the prime minister for their failure and called for a revolt against a government run by an Oromo prime minister.
Ginbot-7’s statement and Andargatchew’s press interview were subsequently taken up by their mouthpiece, Ethsat. In their elatwi, analysis of major daily headlines, Ethsat journalists discussed the current political situations in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR). A number of Ethnic groups in the SNNPR expressed they want to excerice their constitutional rights by having their own separate administrative zones. Should this happen, the understanding is that the SNNPR will cease to exist as we know it today. Ethsat journalists, known for their fake news and inciting of violence, accused the Oromo of conspiring the disintegration of the SNNPR and called upon the peoples of the region to revolt against their Oromo neighbors. This is how low Ethsat has finally come – desperation, frustration because their Godfather, Ginbot-7, was unable to snatch power and dissolve federalism. Like Ginbot-7, Ethsat has come to a dead end and the only way it can stay around is by inciting violence against the Oromo whom its journalists accuse of refusing to give up federalism.
Finally comes Dawit Wolde Giorgis, a man of misleadingly “high” caliber. Dawit was the right hand man of Mengistu Haile Mariam whom, as I mentioned above, the current leaders of Ginbot-7 turned into a butcher. Dawit served in crucial posts under Mengistu. He was permanent secretary of the ministry of foreign affairs and secretary of the Commission for Organizing the Workers Party of Ethiopia (COWPE) in Eritrea. Back from Eritrea, he served as head of Famine Relief and Rehabilitation Commission until he defected in 1985. In all these capacities, Dawit’s “achievements” were astounding.
First, as the second person in the ministry of foreign affairs, he served as Mengistu’s point man in propagating Ethiopian socialism to friendly countries. When the junta faced fierce resistance and the fate of the revolution came under serious question and when the United States turned against Ethiopia, it was Dawit Wolde Giorgis who toured Eastern bloc countries and cultivated friendship for his boss, Mengistu. He played crucial role for turning Ethiopia away from the United States. His action to Cuba was quite provocative to the United States. It is that very United States who gave him asylum, jobs and the life he is bragging about today. He took picture with Fidel Castro smoking cigar. Castro nearly caused the annihilation of the United States by providing a nuclear bomb launching base for the Soviet Union in 1962. Dawit’s visit to Cuba persuaded Castro to send his military and security personnel to assist Mengistu stay in power longer. In so doing, Dawit has caused unforgivable pains to the Ethiopian people.
Second, like any Mengistu official, and more so in his case because of their closeness, Dawit has played a role in the tragic Red Terror of the late 1970s. Like today’s Ginbot-7 leadership, he has a lot blood of innocent Ethiopians.
Third, Dawit has taken part in two rounds of Red Terror, one in Addis Ababa and the other in Eritrea (called Red Star). Dawit was the top official in Eritrea who had the power to make every decision. As party head, he had power to life and death. (Today, he calls himself former administrator of Eritrea, but he was not. He does not want people to know he was member a killer party. Successive administrators during his tenure in Eritrea were Col. Fikru Wolde Tensae, and then Gen. Merid Neguse. As a party official, they were under him.) He commanded the Red Star (Eritrea’s version of Red Terror) and thousands of Eritreans were summarily killed during his tenure.
Fourth, he capitalized on the suffering of famished and dying people to create his CV, apply for asylum and later build his career. He cried crocodile tears to soften the heart of the Americans to grant him asylum. At the time he “defected”, Mengistu was the most hated person by the Americans and it looks that they did not pay attention to the crimes of Dawit Wolde Giorgis. Now is the time that they know the truth about Dawit Wolde Giorgis.
Fifth, he openly brags and takes credit for the failed coup de’tat of May, 1989. He brags of coordinating the activities of the generals, contacting the TPLF and EPLF to organize a post-Mengistu government. But there is no evidence for his involvement in the staging of the coup or on his contacts with the TPLF and EPLF. Most of the generals involved in the coup were killed except the late Kumilachew Dejene who escaped in a miraculously way (and later died in the United States). Let President Isayas Afeworki or TPLF elderlies or any surviving general (if there is one) come out and tell the Ethiopian people that Dawit was the architect behind the coup. May be, Mengistu prevailed because of Dawit’s alleged double dealing. Otherwise Mengistu could not have crushed a revolt that involved all branches of the army. Dawit has a lot to answer on this matter.
This man who has all these crimes and dirt on his hands, posted an article on the Habasha calling for violence against the Oromo people. He released the piece in less than twenty four hours after Gibot-7’s statement and Ethsat’s elatawi on SNNPR. Dawit targeted two popular Oromo figures: Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Activist Jawar Mohammed. He accused the premier of conspiring with Jawar who is actively fighting for the right of the Oromo people. He called on the premier to try Jawar on terrorism grounds or deport him if he is not an Ethiopian citizen. This man has been calling on PM Abiy to dissolve the ruling party and create a party that would advance his interest and that of his group. He openly called on the Ethiopian government to destroy the OLF not even take a single captive. And now Dawit is calling for the destruction of everything Oromo. He cowardly bullies and intimidates Dr. Abiy for being complacent with Jawar. He threatens Dr. Aby that he has to dismantle federalism, enforce Amharic as the only “national” language, destroy all Oromo parties, jail and try Jawar, OR ELSE …
Dawit needs to know a number of things. First, if anyone is to be tried now, he should be the one. He has actively participated in the Red Terror in Ethiopia and Eritrea (double crime). Second, he was staunch enemy of the United States and should not have been granted asylum in the first place. He needs to explain what he told Castro about the United States over the hug and the cigar? Like some Ethiopians who committed crimes against humanity and sent back to Ethiopia, Dawit has to be sent in handcuffs. Third, his intimidation and bullying of the prime minister and Jawar solidify the unity of the Oromo people more than ever. Despite his errors (which you guys pushed him to commit), Abiy Ahmed is an Oromo, and the Oromo will stand behind him when he us unjustly attacked. And by inciting violence on the Oromo, the trio has created a critical mass which will dismantle both the empire they so cherish and the federation they so hate. For now Ginbot-7’s, Ethsat’s and Dawit’s desperation and frustration have reached their own critical mass.
I am not going to defend the premier and Jawar here. They can do it for themselves. Nor am I going to defend OMN, a media which has never gone as low as Ethsat. But for Mr. Walde Giorgis, it is Ethsat that incites violence against the Oromo by producing fake news like this: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-46127868. On accusing the Oromo or Jawar by citing the law, what Dawit needs to know is that there are thousands of experts specialized in international law ready to take on him. You are not the only expert. To conclude, Dawit is the mastermind behind violence in Ethiopia from his advent to power as Mengistu’s official to his becoming the Godfather of Ginbot-7 and Ethsat. He is a factor for destruction of Ethiopia.
 https://mereja.com/amharic/v2/100248 (accessed 03/14/2019)
 “ESAT Eletawi Thur 13 Mar 2019”, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEbiE1SBuhc (accessed 03/14/2019)
 https://www.zehabesha.com/forced-eviction-and-resettlement-the-jawar-factor-and-the-absence-of-international-scrutiny/ (accessed 03/14/2019)
 “A year in fake news in Africa”
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-46127868 (accessed 03/14/2019).
 This reminds me of General Lothar von Trotha who commanded German army against the Herero people in 1904-5. He instructed his lower commanders to kill every one including women and children and take not captive. In less than a year, the Herero population that was about 80,000 at the beginning of the uprising was reduced to 16,000 when the uprising ended in less than a year. Hitler took von Throta’s action as a source of inspiration for his policy towards the Jews.