Aboy Sebhat speaks to VOA

By Yilma Bekele

I am sure you have all heard that Ato Sebhat Nega aka Aboy Sebhat, the Prime Minster’s mentor and a very high official of the ruling TPLF party was a guest on Voice of America. I was very glad. We are always happy when TPLF officials submit to unrehearsed interviews. It seems that it is the only way we get to know them close and personal. I fondly remember Ato Meles’s appearance on Hard Talk with Stephen Sakur in 2005 and Zenib Badawi in 2009. Ato Sebat’s interview is another gem to be savored.

Ato Sebhat was interviewed by Ato Addisu Abebe of VOA Amharic program. Ato Addisu is a consummate professional. He did his job very well. He was not there to prove Ato Sebhat right or wrong. He knows it is up to the listener to make that determination. Like a language surgeon he is, with his soothing voice he lulled his subject into an incredible comfort zone. Then it was a matter of pealing the public fake persona TPLF have constructed for him. Ato Addisu was able to draw Aboy Sebhat out of his skin and reveal the inner self. It was not a pleasant sight. The Sebhat Nega we saw is a very embarrassing figure. Full of hatred, suffering from an inferiority complex, very angry and a pathological liar are the descriptions that come to mind.

I do hope that Aboy Sebhat took some lessons from his experience with VOA. Although his party controls all media outlets and does not allow the airing of ideas different than the ruling party’s here in America it is the responsibility of the press to present different views and let the public be the judge. It has served them very well for over two hundred years. We hope Aboy Sebhat’s outfit Ethiopian Radio and TV will invite leaders of the real opposition and have them explain their vision for their country. The opposition is more than happy to comply.

This was a two-part interview. In this short piece I will concentrate on a few of the ill conceived ideas he was trying to disseminate. I knew it was going to be interesting when I heard his title in the introduction. He is a member of the Ethiopian Parliament, I guess from Tigrai (one never knows since Ato Berket represents Wollo) and President of International Center for Peace and Development. There is no one opposed to peace and development, but this one in Addis it is nothing but. The truth is it is Orwellian double speak at its best. The Center is one of those TPLF created outfits to swindle cash from European Union and Western aid agencies. Ato Sebhat and his organization have never known peace nor developed any enterprise using legal means. As for being elected, I am sure he garnered 99.9 percent of the vote and he did not even have to campaign for it.

He started the interview with a bold lie. There was no need to lie. He can’t help it. His quick motor response is to lie at a drop of a hat. There was no stopping him after that. Blinded by his hatred, emboldened by his false sense of self worth Sebhat Nega was swimming in a cesspool of lies, falsehood and ignorance. We wouldn’t give a damn what he have to say if it wasn’t for his influence and advice to that other powerful person sitting in Arat Kilo with a loaded gun in his hands aimed at our country.

To start him off Ato Addisu thanked his guest for accepting the invitation and out of curiosity asked him regarding TPLF’s policy of not granting interview to VOA’s Amharic programming. That they do not is an established fact. The question was simply what the reason is for such a policy. His response was outright denial of the existence of such a decision.

Could this be true? There is one Nation wide radio station in Ethiopia, Radio TPLF. By all accounts VOA and Deutche Welle are the two most listened to independent news services favored by the population. The minority based government views unfiltered news as a threat. Thus on numerous occasions it has officially complained to both the US and German government regarding the radio stations. The TPLF regime has invested millions of dollars in purchasing radio signal jamming devices from Chinese and East Europeans to silence independent voices.

Is Ato Sebhat’s claim of the Politburo not discussing VOA and formulating different policies credible? To top if off he said he personally does not listen to VOA! When you consider that the Prime Minter himself anonymously participates in Radio call in shows isn’t this assertion a little difficult to swallow? So he claims that he personally does not listen to VOA and since he came to the US he has been told that ‘VOA lacks objectivity, that it is not balanced and it is in the camp of the opposition’. The word he choose to translate the word ‘camp’ into Amharic is very revealing. He said ‘yetequamiwoch Beret’. As far as I know ‘Beret’ is where we keep animals. Enclosed so they do not escape, watched by guards and dogs so wild animals do not harm them. Is that how he views his fellow Ethiopians. Which of these two are we? The domesticated animals fattened for labor or dinner? Or the stupid and gullible sheep and cows and have to be watched by TPLF cadres from undue influence? A curious choice of words but it speaks a lot about the mindset of the individual and his friends.

The crazy part of this farce is that he is telling all this to Ato Addisu Abebe, a VOA correspondent and victim of TPLF injustice. You see Ato Sebhat’s government charged Ato Addisu and twenty-one Ethiopian journalists with ‘involvement in an attempt to overthrow the government’ in the aftermath of the famous 2005 elections. Ato Addisu is lucky. He has the US government behind him. The Ethiopian journalists suffered a lot. They all lost their livelihood. Some are still in prison. Some were jailed for over two years and their license revoked. A few were hounded out of the country. Many were scared for life. Our country lost its brave and brightest sons and daughters. Ato Sebhat as member of the Politburo is personally responsible and will be asked to account for his actions. Whether this will happen or not is not relevant. He is responsible in the eyes of the Ethiopian people.

The next discussion was about EFFORT (endowments fund for the rehabilitation of Tigrai). The eight hundred-pound gorilla. Ato Sebhat’s claim is that it is the premier corporation in Ethiopia both in asset and reach. After confirming that it is audited both internally and by external government agencies he feigned memory loss when asked to disclose the capital of the multi national in numbers. What he said was ‘it is not important’. It was very curious answer for a person who has been the CEO and President of the company. A company without a balance sheet and net worth unknown to the CEO can only happen in TPLF fairyland.

What was absolutely laughable is the claim that TPLF brought the capital from outside to establish the company in Ethiopia. That is insulting the intelligence of eighty million people. For the life of me I do not remember our Tigrai cousins being known for their special skills in being traders and merchants in our Ethiopia. Here we are in 2009 and the most visible conglomerate is EFFORT and the richest and smartest merchants are our Tigrai cousins. Wonder never ceases. Keep talking Aboy Sebhat.

The next line of questioning has two threads and it is full of the most bewildering mish mash of ideas put together in a very haphazard manner. The first one consists of TPLF’s philosophy of what he refers to as ‘bourgeois revolution’, followed by the party’s view of our country Ethiopia.

Ato Sebhat’s attempt to describe the theory of ‘bourgeois democracy’, ‘revolutionary democracy’, ‘emerging democracy’ or ‘developmental state’ (depending on the mood) the society his party is trying to build in Ethiopia completely went over my head. His claim is that TPLF masquerading as EPDRF is accelerating the growth of capitalism in Ethiopia and will wither away on its own is a very lame interpretation of the Marxist idea of the ‘withering away of the state’ as the final stage of capitalist development. Suffice to say that it is proven to be a fairy tale. So, at a certain point in time EPDRF will hand power to the new classes and disappear. That is what he said and he is sticking by it. He did not elaborate when this is projected to happen or who these new classes are. Why there still are classes upon the withering away of the state is left open. May be the theory is in a developmental state. Let us just say it is not well thought of.

The second thread is where Abboy Sebhat’s version of Ethiopia is defined. When he started the journey to liberate Ethiopia this is where he began. His assertions are very troubling. In computer speak there is something they call GIGO. It stands for garbage in garbage out. A ‘computer will unquestioningly process the most nonsensical of input data and produce nonsensical output.’ The same with leaders saddled with faulty, incomplete, or imprecise and utterly wrong data they come up with wrong and imperfect solutions that cause harm and agony to their people.

His claim that we stayed enclosed in our own regions isolated from each other is utterly false. His assertion that we have been fighting each other for hundred years and lived with our hands in each other’s throat is both ugly and abhorrent. His very violent statement that we do not know each other uttered in such forceful manner is very alarming. He repeated ‘Anetwawekem! Antewawekem!’ twice. It made me very sad. It is far from the truth. It is not the Ethiopia I know and I am a typical Ethiopian.

How he is able to hold two contradictory thoughts at the same time is bewildering. He said that he embarked on the struggle to get rid of national oppression. Well and good. But the solution he came up with is very strange to describe it mildly. In order to foster equality they decided to divide the country into Kilils. Everybody was ordered to get an identity card with his/her ethnicity registered by the authorities and was encouraged and forced to go settle in his own enclave. Those with mixed ethnic identity were forced to pick one. I am sure this did not pose a problem in Adwa, but in the rest of Ethiopia many people were put in absolute quandary. How being strangers to each other was going to foster one people one country is not clear. This was a sad moment in our history

So the theory goes the TPLF as an advanced and vanguard party under the tutelage of Meles Zenawi, Sebhat Nega, Azeb Mesfin, Seyoum Mesfin, Arkebe Uqbai and their immediate families will preside on this lofty Nation building endeavor. The Military and security forces with Woyane Generals and high-ranking officers will work in bringing the Oromos, Amharas, Sidamos, Wolamos, Anuaks and other assorted Nationalities to a newer level of preparedness to build the new emerging Ethiopia.

One can see the common thread in this new philosophy of Nation building process. Our Tigrai masters seem to be the center of the Ethiopian universe with wealth and power emanating out until it engulfs the whole society. Le Ras Sekorsu Ayasnasu comes to mind. What do I think? I think Komatan Komata kalalut Gebeche Lefetfit Yelal is most approperate. I believe for so long no one have bothered to tell Aboy Sebat ‘with all due respect sir, you are full of crap!’ I know it is not grown up, but it serves the purpose. I could put it delicately in a more civilized way. But what is the point?

To come up with such preposterous idea it is possible Ato Sebhat’s Adwa was different. That must be the glass he is using to see Ethiopia. But he lived in Addis while going to Haile Sellasie I University. Did he not see how the others lived together? Wasn’t the cry ‘land to the tiller’ by the privileged University students of the time? Surely the students were not fighting for a plot of land. How about during the fight against the Derg? We are told that the TPLF army was composed of all Ethiopians. Weren’t Addisu, Kuma, Tefera, Aba Dula in the TPLF military or did they have their own regiment? Did they fight for the freedom of all Ethiopians or freedom for their ethnic group?

During the process of Nation building animosity does arise between people. Solving such problems and emerging stronger is a difficult task. Some countries are blessed by visionary leaders that harness the positive power of their people and lay a strong and unshakeable foundation. Some are cursed by the likes of the Rwandan Hutu leaders, Milosevic of Yugoslavia and Stalin in Armenia. They bring war and destruction on their people. They go away but they leave animosity and mistrust behind. It takes a long time to undo the damage they cause. In the mean time the rest of humanity marches forward. Evil has to be stopped at its inception before it takes roots. Silent people allow evil to flourish.

Lots of things were said by Aboy Sebhat. The assertion that there were no national Organizations that fought the Derg is not correct. Without going far both EDU and EPRP were National based and stood for the unity of our country. Both were violently attacked by TPLF. Both were expelled out of Tigrai by TPLF. The EDU leader His Excellency Prince Ras Mengesha Seyoum was warned regarding an official trip to his beloved Tigrai. His presence in Tigrai was a threat to the mighty TPLF. The existence of EPRP was denied. When he said that TPLF was ‘overjoyed’ when they found the existence of Ato Kifle Wodgajo’s party in the USA it was nothing short of wonder about the capacity of Aboy Sebhat’s brain to have woven such a tapestry with imaginary yarn of silk. Listen to it and you be the judge my friends in the Diaspora. You can go to VOA website and listen to it from the archives. Unfortunately our people in Ethiopia cannot do that. There is no electricity; when Internet service is available it is a slow crawling modem with all the independent Ethiopian websites blocked. That in a nutshell is the Ethiopia TPLF is building deaf, blind and ignorant.

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14 thoughts on “Aboy Sebhat speaks to VOA

  1. seifu on

    He is confused old tigrain leader. No body cares about him.
    For me he is irrelavent leader, I would not listen to his interview. I rather listen Presdenet Isyas Interview.

  2. Mersha on

    Well said Yilma Bekele. After I read your summary of the old man’s rubbish, I felt like I enjoyed a delicious meal.

    Whether we like it or not that is the Ethiopian reality today, the days of truth will come to our people soon though.

  3. Aboy wushet on

    When asked about Aboy Sibhat’s claim of fighting more than Eritreans for the Independence of Eritrea, PIA said, “It provokes laughter….”

    This guy should not be taken seriously.People should use him just for scientific research on the behavior of lying.

  4. Miracle on

    It is embarrassing for VOA to invite very illiterate, arrogant, and an alcoholic person on the program. Hopefully MR Addisu got the lesson.
    God Bless Ethiopia!

  5. etsegnet on

    I didn’t hear the interview. When was the date? Please help me friends. I need to listean from the Archive.

  6. biddho hafash on

    The weyane top leader Aboy Weldeselassie Nega A.k.a Sebhat Nega is indeed the true mirror of the gagsta organiztion known as hewehat,weyane,Eprdf.Weyane since its conception in dedebit run his political affairs through deception,lies,misrepresentation,blackmail and flip flap.
    Let us see his view on Eritrea and Eritreanism he said he fought for Eritrean independence stood firm for many years even when the armed struggle of Eritrean seemed exhausted and on the verge of collapse he even accused the iron man President Essayas was ready to compromise Eritrean independence for some kind of solution.Be aware this interview was with radio weyane and is intended to Eritrrean listeners or tigrigna speakers.This senile psycopath in his recent interview with washington based geza tegaru he insulted the whole eritrean people that we are a bunch of idiots that are hypnotized by our president and believe what ever he said.He hates Eritreans and Eritreanism.He loves Eritrea that is run by his criminal group.
    To summarize,the un-ending conflict between foreign mecenary forces led by weyane and on the other side the grass rooted natinalists is the real conflict in the horn.It is not about badme border or terrorism.Weyane has chose to serve the west interest so that it can stay in power years to come.This dangerous psycopath and his follwers like Seyoum Mesfin,Siye Abraha.Meles Zenawi and many others with the intention of creating republic of abay Tigray(refer to all agreements between state of tgray led by Tsegay Berhe and state of Gedarif eastern Sdudan and all the accomadation given to eastern sudan officials)and governing ethnically cracked weak Ethiopia on side with Eritrea that is governed by weyane”s puppet.This is the core of their crazy ideolgy. So much for their absurdity and stupidity.There is so much to be told,but hopely in a few years things get better for the honest proud people of the horn who suffered and are suffering to feed some bunch ego-centeric maniacs and war mongerers like weyane led by Aboy Sebhat.

  7. Nagasso Gidada on

    Thank you Yilma for uncovering the ugly nature of the new Tigre emerging bourgeoisie – Sebhat Nega is an arrogant criminal who killed and murdered hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians, who also raped and looted the Ethiopian treasury. The latter is even more revealing as his preposterous claim of the so called Tigre endowment or EFFORT!!! Like Yilma said we didn’t know Tigres for their enterpreneurial skills but they are certainly known among Ethiopians as drought victims and by extension professional beggars “Lemagne” – and I don’t think it is the years of begging that founded EFFORT but it is the looting of the Ethiopia over the last 19 years!!!!

  8. hayfe on

    Do you know that he and his comrades used Ethiopian flag as sacks for carrying ammunition and flour and they did not have Ethiopian flag until they captured addis? he is always an enemy of people very racist and backward. May God send him to the eternal hell.

  9. Michael on

    I heard the interview from Aboy Sibhat and it is wonderful thing to hear that he got the nice name “Aboy” (Father) from Terona, Eritrea. Instated of that nice gustier from the people of Terona he destroys and kills innocent women and children by his army on last war.

    We never forget that,

  10. Ethiopiaw on

    Elias since you went to Asmara these cockeyed woyannes are gone wild. This corrupt old man is no different. Ethiopia never never die but her enmies will evaporate.

  11. beka on

    According Aboy Sibhat Effort belongs to the people of Tigray (non Ethiopians). It means every Tigre is a share holder of Efort. They invest in Ethiopia but the profit goes to Tigray. The Tigre are having their high time. It seems Ethiopia is a colonly of Great Tigray sorry to say. They need Ethiopia only to build their “Great Tigray Republic”.Derg was much better than these miserable gangs. Poor Ethiopia! I am crying for you.

  12. kal'ayu on

    A fact # 1 aboy Sibhat is no more TPLF official but retired and confused man. No matter what he said, he is as irrelevant as that old pro. Mesfin W. But the bottom line is that you all adgis have nothing to say about TPLF. TPLF is for us not for you. Say some palatable stuff about your subordinate uncles who are doing all the marvelous AND dirty stuffs Meles is doing. In the abbreviation of TPLF, there is no letter to represent adgi.

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