Rome (ANN)Expert Analysis, Your Power & Regional Influence Magazine, opinion page by. Binyam Kedir Abdu, Re-Published request from readers and Public diplomacy and Regional Security and safety news. Binyam Kedir Abdu, former first secretary at the Ethiopian Embassy in Kuwait Political scandals of all sorts pervade Ethiopian embassies around the world. What counts to the government in Addis Ababa is the absolute loyalty of the individuals it assigns to specific diplomatic jobs at the embassies, even if such individuals stand out for being corrupt or incompetent. The following story came to the fore around the time of the May 15, 2005 elections in which the ruling party was accused of vote-rigging. The high-handed response of the government to civil protesters in the country was also coincided with the partial disintegration and mass defection of diplomats as Binyam Kedir Abdu, former First Secretary of Ethiopian Embassy in Kuwait, writes here:

Although about nine months have elapsed since the incident took place, the intrigues and scandals at the Ethiopian Embassy in Kuwait are believed to be the kind of problems that pervade Ethiopian embassies.

From the outset, I would like to remind readers that the following report, which is supported by several classified evidences, is not the whole story. However, it consists of the main points – to the best of my recollection.

As most of the attached evidential documents pertaining to the issues under discussion are self-explanatory, I’ve chosen to focus only on the main events or incidents that come in a chronological order and, in some places, with specific dates. I’ve also limited myself from giving detailed explanation and post all the documents in my hand. In order to help readers understand the general environment, I found it important to start with a brief explanation of the biography of the two main actors at the embassy, and a background information about the embassy itself.

Ambassador Hanfre Alimirah Hanfre: – The 56-year-old ambassador is the son and heir of the renowned Sultanate (spiritual leader) of Afar – Sultan Alimirah, founder and leader of the Afar Liberation Front (ALF), who have had personal ties with high-ranking officials of the government, including Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (with the latter starting from his rebel days). Hanfare Alimirah has been President of the Afar National Regional State, and was appointed as Ambassador of Ethiopia to Kuwait during the 1998-2000 Ethiopia-Eritrea War for political expediency and other issues. The government appointed Ambassador Hanfare directly from where he was living in exile until an intrigue at the Embassy forced him back into exile five years later.

Tesfaye Hailemarian Alemu: The 60-year-old veteran diplomat started his career as a chief archivist of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that he served for 37 years. During this long time, Tesfaye has served three governments, working at different embassies in different capacities in Belgrade, Rome, Beijing, and Pyongyang. Known for crafting scandals and political intrigues, Tesfaye stands out for his trouble-making behavior wherever he has worked. He served as chief of protocol of the Ministry for a number of years during which time his pension age was extended three times even though he was involved in serious corruption. He was brought back to work as policy and planning ordinary expert and was finally assigned to the Ethiopian Embassy in Kuwait as Minister Counselor but lived as the de facto ambassador – an over-riding ambition that would characterize his activities anywhere.

The Ethiopian Embassy in Kuwait has been entangled in a web of complex problems. As a result, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent inspectors who would examine the problems and come up with an interesting 24-page report. Based on the document, and taking other factors into consideration, the Ministry reshuffled most of the diplomatic staff of the Embassy. Accordingly, the former TPLF member and First Secretary of the Embassy, Mr. Ahmed Mubarak was transferred to Khartoum, Sudan, while the other diplomat in charge of Finance and Administration, Miss Meseret Bizuneh, was recalled back to the head office. One other local staff was fired, and only the Ambassador retained his position.

In order to fill the vacant places created as a result of reshuffling and to strengthen the Embassy with additional manpower, the Ministry assigned three diplomats:-

Tesfaye Hailemariam Alemu as Minister Counselor and ‘Deputy Chief of Mission’;
Binyam Kedir Abdu as First Secretary; and Tayework Tilahun Deresse as Finance and Administrative attaché.
While I was preparing for the new job at the head office, I not only came to know the complicated and sensitive nature of the Embassy’s problem, but also predicted the possible conflict between the Ambassador Hanfare and Tesfaye. When I asked the bosses at the Head Office how I should do my new job at the Embassy, they told me to work with the problems saying that ‘everything is well known by the government’.

As I expected, it didn’t took me long to notice the conflict and power feud between the Ambassador and the Deputy, Mr. Tesfaye. When I asked the Finance and Administrative Attaché the reason behind their conflict, he told me that Tesfaye was provoking the Ambassador the moment he arrived in Kuwait, exactly while he was traveling from the airport to a hotel, saying “tell the Ambassador not to be scared or shocked (indayberegig) by his arrival,” and advised me not to get involved in their conflict.

Later on I started witnessing that Tesfaye was doing whatever he could to provoke, defame and attack the Ambassador on different occasions. Side by side, he started dividing the staffs into groups. The situation seems as if he were assigned a special mission. Over the course of time, the conflict between the two well-connected bosses of the Embassy worsened as they traded provocative words forwarded and Tesfaye’s frequent intrigues reported to the Head Office gradually fueled the conflict into an open and serious confrontation. The conflict divided the staff into three groups: a group led by Tesfaye (mainly consisting off TPLF members of the Embassy security), a second group led by Ambassador Hanfare (mainly local staff attached to the ambassador), and a third group consisting of two diplomats who remained neutral. As one will realize in the details, the Embassy remained so disorganized and eventually disintegrated because of Tesfaye’s relentless intrigues and the mishandling of the conflict by an envoy from Addis in the name of Ambassador Sulaiman Dedefo.

From the very beginning, Tesfaye always provoked Ambassador Hanfare, saying “tell the ambassador not to be scared by my arrival”. Then he continued intimidating the ambassador saying: “You don’t understand the new political direction of the government as you did not take part in the general conference held at the head office.” Side by side, he went on boasting that he was a close friend of the influential Minister d’Etat Dr. Tekeda Alemu and started taking political advantages by ‘selling’ his name. He also repeatedly used his “seniority” as a cover to degrade and insult the ambassador. It was common to hear him saying ‘this pastoralist (yihe zelan). In one telephone conversation, Mr. Tesfaye insulted the Ambassador using extremely derogatory terms.

At informal places, Tesfaye often said he was entrusted with a special mission to the Embassy, and he knew a decision was already made, and it was a matter of time before seeing Hanfre removed. Tesfaye often posed as an ambassador, and once appeared in Kuwaiti newspapers as one while the actual ambassador was in office. In addition, fabricating and circulating defamatory remarks were his occupation.

In order to help him corner and blackmail the ambassador, Tesfaye went on dividing, intimidating, bribing, and making promises to the diplomats and other local staffs of the embassy. Sometimes he would abuse his power and pressure staff members against the ambassador, and at other times, use different tactics and strategies. In this regard, I remember when he shocked me one day by saying: “Though I know that you understand things, you will not be cheated like ‘the gallas,’ and support this Islam ambassador,” and then ordered me to do everything only after consulting him.

The abuse by Mr. Tesfaye worsened over time, and the defamation against the ambassador would stand out at meetings with Ethiopian community members, members of the diplomatic corpe, officials of the host government. He would use every chance and report secretly-fabricated accusations to the head office. He also included me into his list, and began to accuse me of being an associate of the Ambassador.

Deliberately creating rumors, exaggerating and complicating matters were also methods Mr. Tesfaye used as tools to attack staff. At one point, he overplayed the cases of runaway Ethiopian domestic helpers (housemaids) from Kuwaiti Royal Families and insisted the Ambassador to accuse, under the pretext of human rights violations, high-ranking officials of the Kuwaiti Royal Families. Misled by Tesfaye, Ambassador Hanfre did as he was told, and accused the Kuwait officials of violating the rights of the housemaids. When the Kuwaiti officials were infuriated by the accusation, Tesfaye used the occasion to censure the ambassador for offending the Kuwaiti officials. He also misused the diplomatic duty-free privilege of Kuwait by misleading others. As you will see below, the conflict between the ambassador and Mr. Tesfaye eventually reached its climax and ended up tragically.

Before that, let me explain some controversies related to the election 2005. In December 2004, three members of the TPLF community in Kuwait came to my office and asked me to provide them with office and a meeting hall that would enable them to run political activities of the TPLF. At that time, I tried to convince them that the Embassy was not a political forum but a civil service institution which remains neutral from party politics. I also tried to persuade them that if I were to give them an office, other political organizations would come forward with similar requests which would be difficult to turn down. Then they asked the ambassador who also turned down their request. As a result, the TPLF functionaries categorized both I and the Ambassador as anti EPRDF.

During the preparation for the election, the government of Ethiopia took a position that international election observers should not be allowed to observe the election that would be held in May 2005. Accordingly, I was instructed to convince my counterparts as well as officials of the host government that international observers were barred because ‘Ethiopia’s democracy needed neither certificate of legitimacy from the international community nor donors’ approval.” I was not, however, convinced with the idea. I expressed my view in a staff meeting that “all opposition parties as well as international election observers should be invited and welcomed because they would add value to our democracy.” The conduct of free and fair election should be observed by outsiders so that it would win credibility and acceptance from the international community. On the same forum, I also expressed my view that ensuring the proper representation of all nations and nationalities in the upcoming election, in general, and the active participation of Oromo people, in particular, would address the deep-rooted question of majority Oromo by peaceful means and thereby seeking a lasting solution to the long-standing problem of the country. At that time, the opposition political parties, who later took part in the election, had put the issue of international observers as an important pre-condition for the eventual participation in the election. My superior, therefore, construed this opinion of mine as an expression of support to the position of the oppositions and told me to correct my political view.

Throughout the election and post-election period, there were divergences of opinion on issues like current political developments and, in particular, the implementation of circulars communicated from the head office. The difference widened paricularly during the few days to May 15, 2005. Specially, there was a serious debate in understanding the concept and implementation of the interesting Notes taken during the meeting of members of the Ambassadors Donors Group Part I and Part II with H.E. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, after the two historical demonstrations held in Addis Ababa on May 9, 2005.

On 15 May, 2005, the actual voting date, it was known that the opposition had made significant breakthrough in the election. Allegations of organized fraud, vote rigging and daylight robbery of the peoples’ votes by government security forces ignited popular discontent. On June 8, 2005 and again on November 1 and 2, 2005 the people of Addis Ababa and several other parts of the country protested that the government respect the vote of the people. The government, however, used disproportionate force to quell the uprising. As a result, several innocent civilians were killed; thousands who were suspected of being members and supporters of the opposition were arrested, detained and tortured during a nationwide crackdown.

Based on the order from the Ministry in July 2005 the Ethiopian Embassy in Kuwait organized a meeting of the Ethiopian Diaspora in Kuwait. The goal was aimed at convincing the Ethiopian Community to accept the result of the election which the opposition contested. Besides, the meeting was aimed at coming up with a resolution that would condemn and hold the opposition responsible for the post-election killings, and widesperead unrest. The meeting, however, failed to achieve the intended results. Members of the Ethiopian Community in Kuwait who attended the meeting passed a resolution that condemned the government for committing fraud in the election and for using excessive force to suppress public dissent. They also requested the government to investigate the election fraud, correct the errors and bring to justice members of the security who committed the murders. (See a government order. And a statement of the Ethiopian community (pdf) in Kuwait (The document was sent to Ethiomedia by the Ethiopians in Kuwait on July 02, 2005).

Angered by the outcome of the meeting, the Head Office accused the Embassy of giving a free reign to the opposition so that they could manipulate the Ethiopian Diaspora in Kuwait as their propaganda tool and, later on, sent an evaluation report that blamed the Embassy for failing to achieve the intended objective of getting Diaspora support.

Following the November 2005 violence, Mr. Tesfaye Hailemariam, the deputy, received a telephone order from the Chief of Cabinet, Mr. Sulaiman Dedefo, that we should organize and lobby the Ethiopian communities in Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar so that they would pass a joint resolution that condemns the opposition for putting the nation down the road of instability and that calls upon the government to fulfill its duty of maintaining peace and restoring law and order. Accordingly, Mr. Tesfaye ordered me to solicit signature from Ethiopian communities in the three countries under the banner of ‘call for peace’. I tried to execute the order by getting the signatures of those who were willing to sign the petition. Except few, most of the communities were not willing to sign a petition as they believed that the government was the one responsible for the lack of peace and stability in the country.

When I informed the Deputy Head of Mission how the Ethiopian communities felt, he picked names of Ethiopians from a file, prepared a false petition and reported it to the Head Office in the name of the Ethiopian communities in Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar. The Head Office, in turn, reported on the state-owned media in Ethiopia the false report that the communities in the said three countries had supported the government. When community members heard that their names were misused to promote a government propaganda, they were infuriated. As a response, the Ethiopian communities took their own initiative to clear their name. They wrote to the Eritrean TV that the Ethiopian communities never signed any petition called ‘call for peace’ and that it was purely false and cheap propaganda ploy used by the Ethiopian government. The Deputy Head of Mission accused me of giving the news that corrected his version to the pro-opposition community members and supporters, which I actually did not.

Later on, I heard from credible sources at the Head Office that Mr. Tesfaye, the Deputy Head of Mission, was constantly sending systematically organized and negatively politicized reports to the Head Office against the Ambassador and me. Accordingly, the main allegations labeled against both of us were sympathizing and/or supporting, having covert contacts with and passing sensitive government secrets to the opposition. At this point, I came to first suspect and later recognize that both of us were exposed to real danger.
As a matteer of fact, Ambassador Hanfare received unusual letter of recall from the Head Office on January 5, 2006. Following the recall letter, another unusual incident took place at the Embassy. On January 9, 2006 Mr. Tesfaye filed a fabricated accusation with a Kuwaiti police that the Ambassador was threatening to kill him. The next day he also filed a false complaint that the Ambassador was plotting to ransack and destroy government files and documents. After Tesfaye also sent copies of the fabricated accusations to the Head Office, the government immediately withdrew the diplomatic immunity of Mr. Hanfare Alimirah, and the Deputy Head of Mission was appointed as Head of Mission until Ambassador Sulaiman’s arrival. Furthermore, the government requested the Ministry of foreign affairs of Kuwait to take all appropriate steps and measures to protect the inviolability of the premises of the Embassy against any intrusion from unauthorized individual(s), including the former Ambassador of Ethiopia to Kuwait, Mr. Hanfare Alimirah . The measures taken by government looks like a ‘diplomatic coup’. Sadly, this incredible image-damaging development was covered by several Kuwaiti newspapers. Frustrated by the incredible measure of the Head Office, the Ambassador defected on January 11, 2006. Four local staffs of the Embassy that were linked or explicitly sympathized for and used to live with the Ambassador were also dismissed right away without any explanations. Even though Ambassador Hanfare may have had weaknesses, the measures taken against him were extremely inappropriate by any stretch of the imagination.

A month later, Wondosan Teklemariam, one of those four staff members who were fired along with Ambassador Hanfare, defected to Asmara, Eritrea, along with his wife and a five-month-old baby. Scared of Tesfaye’s accusatory moves, Wondosen first sought shelter at Somalia Embassy and then Eritrean Embassy in Kuwait. Wondosen’s interview on Eritrean TV about the activities of the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in general and the Ethiopian Embassy in Kuwait in particular was a source of attention and concern for the bosses at the Head Office and the public at large.

On January 12, 2006, the temporarily appointed Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy, i.e. Ambassador Sulaiman Dedefo, Chef deCabinet of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, came with a one-side, biased information and held a four-day, military type of general staff meeting called ‘gimgema’. At the meeting, a lot of unsubtantiated but carefully crafted allegations were raised against me by those TPLF members. Particularly, I was severely criticized by the Deputy Head of Mission, Mr. Tesfaye, because I did not collaborate with him in his effort to corner and blackmail the former Ambassador. Tesfaye accused me of being indifferent when the property of the Embassy was threatened with the destruction (Ambassador Hanfare had allegedly planned). He also implicated me in his wild accusation of intent to destroy government files and classified information in collaboration with the former Ambassador, who was by then reported as a traitor to the government. Everybody, including Ambassador Sulaiman himself, was shocked and there was silence when I disclosed the sabotages and told the truth. I was expecting that the issue would be investigated and serious measures taken against Tesfaye. Ambassador Sulaiman, however, diverted the whole discussion to another agenda and hastily concluded the meeting by praising Tesfaye as a hero and accusing me of being an accomplice of a “dictator and feudal ambassador Hanfare because both of you are not members of EPRDF.” He also told me that having a masters or any other degree didn’t mean anything for the government. Concurrently, I was practically barred from having access to diplomatic valise, archive information as well as computer files. Frustrated by the overall situation, Ms. Liyouwork, the only secretary of the Embassy, defected shortly after the evaluation.
The Charge d’Affaires never mentioned anything after the evaluation. During his two months’ stay, he in fact brought in his wife who quickly became a friend of Mr. Tesfaye. Acting as a permanent ambassador, the Charge d’Affaires forged a close friendship with Mr. Tesfaye, and both would become two faces of the same coin.

The embassy expenses were spent on joint invitations at residences and hotels. As a result, the inexperienced Ambassador Sulaiman who came to investigate the cause of the problem became part of the problem himself. Ambassador Suleiman soon join the plot-hatching operation of Mr. Tesfaye to – for instance – get the incoming Ambassador Kadafo Mohamed Hanfare transfered to another embassy so as Kuwait would remain as their own private turf. Though they failed to effect the transfer of Ambassador Kadafo Mohamed Hanfare to another place, Ambassador Suleiman outlined a new job description that helped transfer some of the key powers to Mr. Tesfaye. For instance, Mr. Tesfaye would be the only person to sign on checks. When I asked Tesfaye, this time speaking in Afan Oromo, why the changes were necessary, he said nothing much was expected from the Ambassador except being a nominal political representation. When the new ambassador asked Ambassador Suleiman to hand over the keys and stamp of the Embassy during the exit meeting, everyone was shocked and looked at each other that Tesfaye’s plot was crumbling before everyone’s eyes.
My turn came to disclose the truth with the new ambassador that Mr. Tesfaye has all along been against the former ambassador, trying to destroy him with baseless and fabricated crimes, Mr. Tesfaye threatened me to either face the consequences or keep quiet. He subsequently started to give me impratical orders with the objective that I would fail to carry out his orders and would find an excuse to label me ‘incompetent.’ For example, he used to give me multiple orders at the same time, and sometimes request me to produce an article even though he was aware I was busy carrying out other day-to-day activities of the Embassy. Though I can predict the consequence, my mind couldn’t accept these kinds of manipulations and wrongdoings. Any ways, they were successful in making the two ambassadors (Kadafo Alimirah and Hanfare Alimirah) fight each other by driving a wedge between the two family members. When I observe their activities carefully and deeply, it seemed both had the ambition of being an Ambassador in Kuwait. Ambassador Suleiman was promoted as Chief de Cabinet of the Ministry by betraying the TPLF faction that had accused the prime minister. Meantime, Mr. Tesfaye continued to pretend as if he were an ambassador, and a case in point is the following instance.
On February 15, 2006 Mr. Jameo Mahammed, a veteran rebel of pre-government TPLF deployed now deployed as a security guard of the Embassy and who was a close collaborator of Mr. Tesfaye during the latter’s campaign of blackmailing and accusing Ambassador Hanfre, was caught red-handed by the Kuwaiti intelligence in a drug scandal. Then the Charge d’Affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission pressed me hard to make vigorous diplomatic efforts for his immediate release. They also asked me to hire a lawyer by signing on the minutes. Besides, they asked me to draft a letter claiming the innocence of the drug suspect both as trafficker and consumer. I declined to execute their orders. They immediately labelled me as someone harboring hate toward Tigrians and TPLF members, and tried to paint me as if I had a hand in the arrest of Mr. Jameo.

Despite such hurdles at the Embassy, the two bosses received an immediate support from the Head Office as the Minister D’etat, Tekeda Alemu, authorized that $10,000 USD be used to hire a lawyer, even though the money was to be withdrawn from the fund raised by Ethiopian domestic helpers (housemaids) who live in the Gulf states – to be used when they fall on bad times.
Everyone was shocked when drug was found in a FirstAid-like-kit with a syringe in Mr. Jameo’s living room inside the Embassy. Mr. Tesfaye, however, didn’t feel the slightest shame when he dryly said: “This is not a drug but a headache medicine.” The way Tesfaye tried to defend his close friend made everyone suspect that the two may have had a deal. Furthermore, the two bosses used to pay the salary of the suspected criminal while he was in jail. Very recently, it was reportedly heard the man was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment. Though Mr. Jameo was unable to read and write, he was also fancied by the two bosses to be promoted as a liaison officer of the Embassy.
In the middle of this confusion, the Head Office sent a controversial 52-page document entitled, “Constituency Building Plan and Manual”. The core message of the document was that Ethiopian missions abroad should gather detailed information about Ethiopians in Diaspora who were labeled as pro-opposition parties. The information should contain the name, residence, employment, ethnic origin, political opinion and level of political participation, their families, etc of Ethiopians living in Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar. In particular, the emphasis was placed on having a photo print from the video record of those who are well-known activists and members of opposition political parties so that, depending on the instruction from the Head Office, a lawsuit would be filed against the so-called extremist opposition members and supporters for “crimes of genocide, treason, corruption and embezzlement.” Accordingly, the temporary Charge d’Affaires a.i, Ambassador Sulaiman Dedefo, authorized me to prepare a plan, build up the requested information and forward it to the Head Office without any further discussion (See attachments 15 & 16 NB: The full 52 pages document is previously posted in the internet) .

Realizing that this was an outrageous act of blackmail and retaliation, I refused to comply with the order. When the temporary Charge d’Affaires a.i asked me the progress after about a week, I suggested to him that it was not an easy task to compile such information as its legal ramifications were considered carefully. I also told my superior that conducting an act of espionage and invasion of privacy as well as organizing retaliatory measures against own citizens, particularly in third countries, was not only undemocratic and immoral but also an illegal act that contravened the Ethiopian Constitution and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Hence I explained that it was not within the bounds of my duty. The temporary Charge d’Affaires, who was looking for a pretext to put me in a trap from the very beginning, was totally infuriated with my negative opinion. He warned me that my refusal to cooperate in executing the plan amounted to rejection of government policies and I should know that by doing so I protected the interests of extremist Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) and other opposition parties who could be affected by the plan. Consequently, he threatened me that my life in the Mission would be short as it almost became impossible to tolerate my excessively incorrigible conduct.

In another attempt to find a pretext to blackmail and attack me, the Charge d’Affaires showed me an article published in the Kuwait Times newspaper in May 2006. The article, which was based on a report by the Committee To Protect Journalists (CPJ), condemned Ethiopia for lack of press freedom. The Charge d’Affaires instructed me to respond to the Kuwait Times newspaper so that editors of the paper could correct the distorted information that tarnished the image of the country. I complied with the order, and replied a response to the editor, saying the report was ‘exaggerated and inflammatory’. The Charge d’Affaires, however, told me that he was not satisfied with my letter. He threatened me with unspecified measures for failing to address the issue appropriately and effectively. He said I could have compared the constitution and press freedom of Ethiopia with Eritrea’s, which he said ‘has neither a constitution nor freedom of the press.’

As promised, I received a letter of recall on April 7, 2006 and my my term of office in Kuwait was terminated. After a while, I heard that Ambassador Sulaiman Dedefo told the newly appointed Ambassador during the exit meeting that my views were not correct and asked for joint cooperation in extending Mr. Tesfaye’s pension age that was due after three months. I also heard that Ambassador Sulaiman had promised to hire Mr. Tesfaye’s new wife to fill in one of the posts vacated by those fired local staffs.

As time went by, however, I came to know that more threatening activities similar to the kind of sabotages committed against Ambassador Hanfare were underway against me. Accordingly, in April 2006 the Head Office circulated a letter that ordered the Embassy not to write a note verbal for diplomats asking for visa without the authorization of the Head Office. After a while, the Deputy Head of Mission, called me to the newly appointed Ambassador’s office and asked me to hand over my and my wife’s diplomatic passport. I was puzzled with the request and emotionally reacted saying I need a travel document to go back home. Both of them replied that they were instructed by the Head Office to give me temporary travel document (Laissez Passez). I felt as if the government stripped off my citizenship rights. At this point, I knew I had come to the end of my career with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Even after that, however, I tolerated all the fabricated allegations, accusations, and serious warnings and determined to wait for the time to go back home, assuming that the maximum penalty would be getting fired.

However, things went from bad to worse when the Head Office sent a circular note that rendered my passport null and void. This confirmed that they were desperate to send me back home. The good thing I had already learned of the information before the Embassy communicated it to the Kuwaiti immigration authorities. With little time in my hand, I left every thing as it was and left for the United States on the night of May 20, 2006 – undetected by Embassy and other security officers who were fielded to follow my moves. Immediately after my defection was known, Mr. Tesfaye Hailemariam, accompanied by TPLF security officer of the Embassy, went to my apartment and confiscated my private properties including my documents, PC and private vehicle, and other things they considered important. The most heart-breaking experience during all this time was that I was just recovering from a serious car accident right about the same time when I was discharging my responsibility as a father of a new-born baby.
Photo: H.E. Seyoum Mesfin
The opinion writer, Binyam Kedir Abdu, can be reached for comments at