Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Ethiopian Ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire seeks asylum in USA

Sudan Tribune, May 20, 2006

Press Release May 18, 2006 — When the communist military junta of Colonel Mengistu Hailmeriam ended in 1991, and the transitional government composed of various political organizations was formed, albeit it was dominated by the Tigrean Peoples Libration Front (TPLF) from the beginning, the majority of peoples in Ethiopia hoped that the transition would usher in a new beginning of democratic order in the country. The transitional charter that was adopted promised a new discourse of state transformation based on self-rule for the majority of oppressed nations and nationalities in Ethiopia. It was with this trust and enthusiasm that I decided to support and join the government and play my share towards the realization of the protection of the rights of the Oromo and other subject peoples of the Empire.

In my professional capacities, I served in various Oromia institutions. From 1989-1997, I served in the school system of the Oromia state, from 2001 - 2002; I was a parliamentarian in Ethiopian House of Representatives and Head of the Oromia Educational bureau as well. From 2002 - 2004, I was Ambassador Extra Ordinary & plenipotentiary of Ethiopia to Senegal, covering Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Mauritania, and the Gambia. From 2004 - 2006, I served as an Ambassador Extra Ordinary & plenipotentiary of Ethiopia to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, covering Benin Republic, Togo, and Equatorial Guinea. My last post was Ambassador Designate to Cote d’Ivoire.

Although there were clear signs from the beginning that the TPLF dominated Ethiopian Peoples Democratic Front (EPRDF) led government was not committed to the objectives and intentions of self- determination and democracy, I hoped that things would improve eventually as a transition to democracy is a process that would take time. However, to the dismay of many and my self, the EPRDF rather intensified its acts of gross violations of human rights and continued to silence any opposition against its rule. Many innocent civilians and political leaders were arrested, tortured and many were summarily executed. The picture is disproportionally dreadful in Oromia; particularly after the expulsion of the Oromo Libration Front (OLF) from the Transitional Government. The regime is emphatically opposed and rejected by the Oromo people.

On many occasions, I raised to the government authorities my concern regarding the human rights violations of the Oromo people. However, my concerns and intentions were construed as if I was working to implement OLF agendas and I faced constant harassments. During the last one-year, the frustrations resulting from the absence of real choice in the last election and the incapability of the Government to settle peacefully real and genuine political demands, students’ up risings in particular have been intensified. Currently, the systematic human rights violation in Oromia and the brutality of the system has reached its peak to an intolerable level. Consequently, as an ambassador representing this regime, I found it morally indefensible to continue to convey the policies and explain the conducts of the EPRDF led Ethiopian Government to other governments.

Indeed, the regime serves the narrow interest of a small segment of the Ethiopian society; that of the Tigrean ethnic group, led and controlled by the TPLF leadership. I always felt the burdens and pains of the people who have been facing the brutality of the EPRDF’s administration in Ethiopia. Thus I am quitting serving the current Ethiopian regime vacating my post as Ambassador designate to Cote d’Ivoire and seeking political asylum in the USA.

Ambassador Yohannes Genda

May 18, 2006


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