After a week or so of rumor, it’s confirmed that Dr. Birhanu Nega, Chairman of Ginbot 7 movement, is in Eritrea.
Dr. Birhanu was elected as mayor of Addis Ababa during the 2005 Ethiopian election and was then thrown to jail along with other members of Kinijit opposition coalition leaders who swept the parliamentary election.
When Dr Birhanu was released from prison nearly after two years, he had to leave the country to embark on versatile struggle against the regime in Ethiopia and co-founded Ginbot 7 movement – which is named after the popular peaceful movement in May 2005 in Ethiopia which led to the general election that marked epic loss of vote of confidence for the regime in ballot boxes which the regime overturned by resorting to outright repression. Dr. Birhanu has been Chairman of Ginbot 7 movement ever since its formation.
The political climate in Ethiopia has always been hostile for opposition parties under the current regime which has been in power for nearly a quarter of a century.
In May of this year, the ruling coalition declared a 100 % win of the general election leaving no opposition voice in the parliament.
Peaceful opposition movement has virtually become impossible.
Barely months the Ethiopian government announced total Election win, Ginbot 7 -Arbegnoch Ethiopian rebels, based in Northern Ethiopia along Ethio-Eritrean border, made news headlines when they launched a major guerrilla offensive.
Initially, Ethiopian government didn’t directly admitted about the military incidents involving rebels except vaguely mentioning, during a parliamentary session, Eritrea as a country that is “distabilizing” the region.
Many supporters of Ginbot 7 movement seem to place great significance in Dr. Birhanu’s presence in a place where the rebel forces are wagging armed struggle for a just cause : to liberate Ethiopians from total repression and humiliation.
Neamin Zeleke another high profile Ginbot 7 leadership is in Eritrea. Other members of Ginbot 7 leadership are reportedly are anticipated to mingle with Ginbot 7 rebel forces in the wilderness along Ethi0-Eritrean border.
Not much is known as to how long Dr. Birhanu is staying with the rebels but there are voices among supporters of the movement that Dr. Birhanu could rather do effective work in the areas of mobilization and diplomacy than in the areas of military activity.
From social media conversations, there seem to be high hopes and excitement about the outbreak of armed conflict with Ethiopian government and many seem to take that as a solace in the face of unprecedented ethnic based repression by the ruling Tigray People’s Liberation Front. In the past three or four weeks alone, about three opposition members are killed by orchestrated attack by the regime.