The Total Domination of the Ethiopian Army by Ethnic Tigrean Officers

Ginbot 7 Report

Originally Posted May 30th, 2009

Since day one of its active political life, Ginbot 7 has repeatedly informed the international community that the ethnocentric political and economic policies of the TPLF regime are the primary sources of violence and instability in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa at large Despite the different masks that this crafty regime wears to dupe donor nations and other stakeholders, Ginbot 7 has delved deep into the inner workings of the TPLF regime and exposed the toxic ethnic policies that consumed the life of many Ethiopians, and forced many others to seek refuge in neighboring countries.

Unlike any other time in the nation’s history, a minority ethnic group that comprises no more than 6% of the total population (80 Million) controls the political, economic, and social life of 94% of the Ethiopian people. In the last month, the military intelligence wing of Ginbot 7 has uncovered vital information that substantiates its past claims that all high level military positions in the Ethiopian army are asymmetrically dominated by a minority ethnic group lead by the TPLF elite.)

Article 88, Sub Article 2 of the Ethiopian constitution states: “The State shall have the duty to respect the identity of the nations, nationalities and peoples and on the basis of this promote equality, unity and fraternity among them”. However, despite what the Constitution says, in the last 18 years, the political, social, and economic affairs of Ethiopia has been disproportionately controlled by a handful of Tigrean elites. For example, 93.5% of all key military positions in the Ethiopian National Defense Forces are occupied by ethnic Tigreans, far in excess of their 6% representation among the Ethiopian population.

Historically, the ethnic composition of the Ethiopian army was evenly distributed between the different ethnic groups. Besides, a military tradition of the Ethiopian Armed Forces which spans back through the nation’s long history was the ultimate example of a system based on meritocracy. However, under the TPLF regime, since the Ethiopian army is organized to defend the ruling party from the people, incompetent officers who are loyal and ethnically related to the ruling party elites occupy almost all key positions in the army.

In 1991, when the TPLF regime controlled Addis Ababa, economic development, political inclusion, and ethnic equality were its three very important promises that convinced the Ethiopian people to change their heart and give the incoming new regime the benefit of the doubt, despite all signs that TPLF was a party of one ethnic group. In fact, it wasn’t just the Ethiopian people that temporarily trusted the TPLF party; the entire free world that stood with the Ethiopian people during the dark days of communism trusted the minority TPLF regime as a vector of peace, equality, and democracy in Ethiopia.

Today, after 18 long years, the Ethiopian people and many in the free world realize that the guerrilla movement that took power preaching liberal democracy and free market economy is neither democratic nor capitalist.

In the past three weeks, Ginbot 7 has issued a plethora of press releases and public statements exposing the entrenched corruption of the TPLF regime, which includes political exclusiveness, nepotism, and absolute control of power. As it was clearly indicated in many of the public statements, ethnic favoritism and nepotism are rampant in every aspect of public life in Ethiopia, leading to deep disaffection and ethnic polarization in a nation packed with a large number of ethnic groups.

Ginbot 7 fully understands that when channeling multi million dollar aid packages to Ethiopia, the intention of donor nations is to finance economic development in Ethiopia and to feed its growing population. However, a good deal of the aid package is used by the regime for political purposes that neither benefits the poor nor stimulates economic development. The grave concern of Ginbot 7 and other Ethiopian progressive forces is not that the world is helping Ethiopia, but that these donor nations and international organizations do not hold the secretive TPLF regime accountable for the amount of aid it receives every year.

For the most part, donor nations do not have proper monitoring mechanisms that assess how aid funds are spent and who benefits from the expenditure. Obviously, donor nations and tax payers in donor countries do not want to see their funds used by dictators who deny freedom and justice to the very people to whom the aid is intended. Likewise, no democratic citizen of the world wants its hard earned money to go to a Third World country and be used to prop up a dictatorial regime that muffles free press and kills democratic movements. The message of Ginbot 7 to donor nations has always been to hold the TPLF regime accountable for its political and economic actions, and judge this authoritarian regime by applying the same moral standard used in the Ukraine, the former Yugoslavia, Kenya, and Zimbabwe.

The TPLF regime and its puppets have used the state propaganda machines internally and state funded news outlets internationally, to refute the human rights reports of well respected international organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Association of Journalists (IAJ) as well as the U.S. State Department.

The table below shows that the TPLF regime has a virtual monopoly over political power; and this monopoly is established among other things through the introduction of ethnic politics into the political process. In Ethiopia, ethnic politics is at the helm of the military and other civic organizations, which naturally are supposed to be politically neutral institutions. Ginbot 7 urges donor nations and other international aid agencies to pay particular attention to this overwhelming evidence and reconsider their policies towards a regime that benefits the few.


High Ranking Military Officials

Principal Defense Departments

No
Job Division
Name & Rank
Ethnic Group
1
Armed Forces Chief-of-Staff
General Smora Yenus
Tigre
2
Armed Forces Head of Training
Lt.General Tadesse Worde
Tigre
3
Head of Logistics
Lt.General Gezae Abera
Tigre
4
Head of Intelligence
Br. General Gebre Dela
Tigre
5
Armed Forces Head of Campaign
Major General Gebreegzher
Tigre
6
Armed Forces Head of Engineering
Lt.General Berhane Negash
Tigre
7
Chief of the Air Force
Chief of the Air Force
Tigre

Heads of the Nation’s four Military Commands

No
Job Division
Name & Rank
Ethnic Group
1
Central Command
General Abebaw Tadesse
Agew
2
Northern Command
Lt.General Saere Mekonene
Tigre
3
South Eastern Command Lt.General Abraha Wolde
Tigre
4
Western Command Br. General Seyoum Hagos
Tigre

Army Divisional Commanders

Central Command

No
Job Division
Name & Rank
Ethnic Group
1
31st Army Division Colonel Tsegaye Marx
Tigre
2
33rd Army Division Colonel Kidane
Tigre
3
35th Army Division Colonel Misganaw Alemu
Tigre
4
24th Army Division Colonel Work Aynu
Tigre
5
22nd Army Division Colonel Dikul
Tigre
6
8th Mechanized Division Colonel Jamal Mohammed
Tigre


Northern Command

No
Job Division
Name & Rank
Ethnic Group
1
14st Army Division Colonel Wodi Antiru
Tigre
2
21st Army Division Colonel Gueshi Gebre
Tigre
3
11th Army Division Colonel Workidu
Tigre
4
25th Army Division Colonel Tesfay Sahiel
Tigre
5
22nd Army Division Colonel Teklay Klashin
Tigre
6
4th Mechanized Division Colonel Hinsaw Giorgis
Tigre


South Eastern Command

No
Job Division
Name & Rank
Ethnic Group
1
19st Army Division Colonel Wodi Guaae
Tigre
2
44st Army Division Colonel Zewdu Tefera
Tigre
3
13th Army Division Colonel Sherifo
Tigre
4
12th Army Division Colonel Mulugeta Berhe
Tigre
5
32nd Army Division Colonel Abraha Tselim
Tigre
6
6th Mechanized Division Colonel G/Medhin Fekede
Tigre


Western Command

No
Job Division
Name & Rank
Ethnic Group
1
23rd Army Division Colonel Wolde Belalom
Tigre
2
43rd Army Division Colonel Wodi Abate
Tigre
3
26th Army Division Colonel Mebrahtu
Tigre
4
7th Mechanized Division Colonel Gebre Mariam
Tigre


Commanders in Different Defense Departments

No
Job Division
Name & Rank
Ethnic Group
1
Agazi Commando Division B.General Mohammed Esha
Tigre
2
Addis Ababa & Surrounding Area Guard Colonel Zenebe Amare
Tigre
3
Palace Guard Colonel Gerensay
Tigre
4
Banking Guard Colonel Hawaz Woldu
Tigre
5
Engineering College Colonel Halefom Eggigu
Tigre
6
Military Health Science B.General Tesfay Gidey
Tigre
7
Mulugeta Buli Technical College Colonel Meleya Amare
Tigre
8
Resource Management College Colonel Letay
Tigre
9
Siftana Command College B.General Moges Haile
Tigre
10
Blaten Military Training Center Colonel Salih Berihu
Tigre
11
Wourso Military Training Center Colonel Negash Heluf
Tigre
12
Awash Arba Military Training Center Colonel Muze
Tigre
13
Birr Valley Military Training Center Colonel Negassie Shikortet
Tigre
14
Defense Administration Department B.General Mehari Zewde
Tigre
15
Defense Aviation B.General Kinfe Dagnew
Tigre
16
Defense Research and Study B.General Halefom Chento
Tigre
17
Defense Justice Department Colonel Askale
Tigre
18
Secretary of the Chief-of-Staff Colonel Tsehaye Manjus
Tigre
19
Indoctrination Center B.General Akale Asaye
Amhara
20
Communications Department Colonel Sebbhat
Tigre
21
Foreign Relations Department Colonel Hassene
Tigre
22
Special Forces Coordination Department B.General Fisseha Manjus
Tigre
23
Operations Department Colonel Wodi Tewk
Tigre
24
Planning, Readiness and Programming Department Colonel Teklay Ashebir
Tigre
25
Defense Industries Coordination Department Colonel Wodi Negash
Tigre
26
Defense Finance Department Colonel Zewdu
Tigre
27
Defense Purchasing Department Colonel Gedey
Tigre
28
Defense Budget Department Ato/Mr. Berhane
Tigre


One of the most common and great truths of our time is that freedom requires international vigilance. The free people of the world cannot enjoy the full benefit of being free when the freedom of 80 million Ethiopians is egregiously violated by a regime that enjoys the full support of the free world. In Ethiopia, the TPLF regime has tossed out freedom and democracy at the crossroads. The problem in Ethiopia is not just the absence of democracy. The Ethiopian people suffer from persistent, systematic, and widespread human right violation. The TPLF regime continues to suppress dissenting opinions and maintains political control over the legal system. Arbitrary detentions, torture, ill-treatment of prisoners, and severe restrictions on freedom of expression are the most common types of abuses that the Ethiopian people face daily.

It is a sign of immense problem when a tiny minority of the population monopolizes power in a country of 80 million people. It is in deed, a clear indication of national crisis when a minority ethnic group that accounts for only 6% of the population occupies 100% of the top military posts in the Army and the Air Force. Ginbot 7 takes this opportunity to remind the world that the major explanation of ethnic manipulation of politics in Ethiopia is to be sought not in the character of the Ethiopian public that is the subject of manipulation, but in the character of those [TPLF] who seek to dominate the public through such manipulation, and the structures of domination they have devised.

Ginbot 7 strongly believes that political instability in the Horn of Africa is a threat to world peace, and the Horn of Africa will never be stable as long as the largest country in the region [Ethiopia] is ruled by a ruthless dictator whose political and economic policies alienate 94% of the population from the national decision making process. The TPLF regime has pushed the Ethiopian people far over the limit and has left them with only one option; and that option is the devil’s alternative. Ginbot 7 believes that putting hope in the heart of the Ethiopian people and helping them defeat the enemies of democracy is a very important step that takes the world one step closer to peace, and most importantly, it is one big step in the process of building the largest democracy in Africa.