Embassy slams ‘baseless’ claims of US role in Prime Minister Abiy’s selection processes

The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa on Tuesday rejected allegations by a founding member of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) that the United States was involved in the appointment of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who took the helm of the ruling party on March 2018.

At a conference organized by Mekele University over the weekend, the retired Tigrayan official, Sebhat Nega said he had “no doubt” that the US government had played an active role in pushing the appointment of Abiy Ahmed. He offered no evidence to support the allegations.

The finger-pointing comes as many TPLF officials who felt side-lined escalate rhetorical attack against the chairman of the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed.

U.S. Embassy spokesman in Addis Ababa, Nicholas Barnett said “I want to be perfectly clear that any claims of U.S. involvement in the selection process of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia are completely baseless,” speaking to VOA Horn of Africa Service. He said the U.S believes both in theory and practice in respecting Ethiopia’s sovereignty and the right of individuals to vote for their own leaders. “We see Prime Minister Abiy’s election as chairman of EPRDF as reflection of people’s interest for reform, representative political system and participative democracy. We certainly support the Prime Minister’s reform agenda. But we had no role to play in his election,” he said.

Sebaht Nega was commenting to a presentation by Berekt Simoen, another retired figure of the EPRDF who claimed that one of the reasons for the escalating violence in the country is the increasing foreign intervention. Berekt named the Eritrean president Isaias Afewerki as an example whom he said was meddling in the country’s internal affairs, mentioning his “Game over for TPLF officials” remark.

In a reaction to Bereket, Sebhat Nega took the charge even further, implicating Donald Yamamoto, a senior African diplomat in the Trump administration and currently serving as U.S. ambassador to Somalia in directly involving in Abiy’s election as chairman of the ruling party on March 2018. “Many of us have opposed that intervention, saying the US would not choose a chairman for us, including you, Bereket,” he said. “Who was that American ambassador who has a Japanese face? He came in person and we knew that he was officially engaged in the election process,” Sebhat said
Ethiopia Observer


  1. Warlord Sebhat Nega’s remarks are not as “baseless” as the US embassy in Addis would wish us to believe. US’s unilateral decision following the 1991 London Conference was how Tigray Front cloned itself into a “multiparty.” The US has a short memory, of course. EVERY ETHNIC PARTY LEADERSHIP THEN WAS COMPRISED OF A MEMBER OF Tigray Front OR a LOYALIST!

    Formation of a quickie “multiparty” had dual purposes; first, to “showcase US victory over communism” and to grant legitimacy to Meles Zenawi’s leadership and bring in billions in aid (more than $32 billions to date). Nearly a third of aid money was to later be transferred to overseas account (according to Global Financial Integrity). Warlord Sebhat and his comrades, now sidelined and griping in their old age, NEVER uttered a word against the US.

    Meles/Tplf then devised a way to trick the US by turning itself into a “key ally.” Meles, who once lived in Somalia and traveled on Somalian passport assigned a Tigrayan general (Gebre) in Somalia to “wage war against Al Shabab” but in fact running a smuggling ring and conspiring with warlords in Somalia! Meles NEVER agreed to a coalition force of African countries (Uganda, Kenya) in Somalia; he insisted on going it alone to make it appear he was indispensable to the US and lest his deception be discovered! Every time the US recommended a joint force Meles invariably chose to withdraw (go back and check if you like).

    Warlord Sebhat then came up with “Peace and Security” (and later development, and the “developmental state”). Sebhat established Peace and Sec Institute at Addis Ababa U and staffed it with Tigray Front members. He later connected his institute with Meles’s comrade Alex de Waal at Tufts Peace Foundation (Alex is a founding board member of “comrade” Meles Foundation). Three Tigray Front members began working at Tufts Peace; other Tigray Front members were installed at Africa Union/Nato Security “advising” on the Horn Region.

    The US was not unaware of Meles/Sebhat/Tplf machinations. The brutalities and the corruption were all too evident; it is democracy or human rights was not the US’s primary concern; “terrorism” was especially for domestic politics! In mid-term 2006 George Bush needed to report progress was being made in the Horn region (even as Iraq was becoming a disaster). Meles got the drift and unattacked “delivered” by invading Somalia (in the process siding with a clan that served his purposes to takeover power).

    Meles lost elections 2005 to a poorly organized “opposition.” He quickly run through a pocket parliament an “anti-terrorism” law. He de-registered civil society organizations. And jailed, tortured and exiled citizens who challenged Sebhat/Meles atrocities. Guess what? The world is now learning (what citizens had known all along) about private detention/torture centers in Addis, and mass grave sites, and Tigray Front members running a violent system to carry out international racket (see https://bit.ly/2OGOerL).

    The US finally got rid of Meles. Yes the US has a hand in the current politics in Ethiopia. The US has been angling to organize a “confederation of Horn of Africa countries.” The flighty Dr. Bereket Habteselassie has been working with The Atlantic Council and his State Department connections to bring back Eritrea from the outer regions of a pariah state. Part of the tactic was based on fear of “Iran” “Wahhabist Islam” “China” “pirates” “civil war.” Warlord Isaias overnight is once again a member in good standing of the international community (never mind what he did to his own people, the menace he was to regional peace). The border war that claimed over 80,000 lives is never demarcated; we are being told there is no need for borders “that divide families”; bankrupt Eritrea is set to get Ethiopia rebuild Asseb port and pay user rent!! Eritrea is hauling food from Ethiopia to feed its people; it is busy converting birr and dollars. WE ARE BACK TO 1998!! The one difference, thank God, is the absence of Meles Zenawi and the sidelining of Tigray Front warlords!

    Tigray front warlords Sebhat, Getachew, Abbay, etc are now fugitives from the law; they have been hiding in Mekelle for months. In the meantime, they are fomenting disturbances in minority regions. The plan? To make it appear their absence from power would lead to anarchy in the country and in the region! Guess what? There is greater freedom in the rest of the country. The nation is breathing a great sigh of relief after 27 years of brutalities, corruption, and FEAR).

    Unfortunately, warlord Sebhat and Debretsion are agitating the people in Tigray by fear-mongering; that invasion is afoot, Dr. Abiy is planning to build mosques on the grounds of St. Mary of Axum, that Tigrayans are targeted, that democracy is losing ground, the constitution is violated, etc!!!

    In the end, Ethiopian leaders should not repeat the mistake of depending on the US to deliver what it wished for the progress of its people. For once, Ethiopians should realize they have only themselves to rely on!!!

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