Ethiopia: Herman Cohen blames Tigrian domination, fake federalism for the current crisis

October 10, 2016

Editor’s Note: For those of you who are not familiar with the role of Herman Cohen in the recent history of Ethiopia, he was a key player during the London Conference immediately before TPLF and EPLF take over of power in Addis Ababa and Asmara respectively.

Mr Herman Cohen Photo -File / Source: Tesfanews

(ESAT) – Former US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Herman Cohen , said that he believes the current crises in Ethiopia was a result of domination by Tigrians over the economy and politics of the country as well as putting in place a “fake” federal political arrangement.

“In 1991 a system of states was established based on ethnic groups. But this was a fake system because none of the states that had ethnic groups different from the Tigrians had any voice what their government should be and what they should have. So it is strictly a one party state, which most African governments had abandoned long time ago,” he noted in an exclusive interview with ESAT.

“It looks to me that the government does not understand there are major grievances among large groups of people especially younger people who graduated from the university and unable to find unemployment. Also the fact that members of the TPLF dominate the economy, have monopoly over economic activity. So there is major frustration there.”

He pointed out that TPLF regime failed to deliver economic benefits to the vast majority of the population. “The benefits come mainly to Tigrians,” he asserted.

Herman Cohen said it was unfortunate that the TPLF had used lethal force against unarmed demonstrators.

The Ambassador said the TPLF will have the fate of Mengistu regime if it continues to use lethal force to stay in power. “ If things continue as they are now, it will be very very difficult for the government to remain in power with any sort of legitimacy. So it is time for them to stop using lethal force and to start political discussions. If they continue to use lethal force, they will become just like the Mengistu regime that they fought for so many years.”

Asked why the US government still allied itself with the TPLF regime despite gross human rights violations, the Ambassador said it is a “dilemma” for the US government. “There is a dilemma for the US government because there are geostrategic interests. Al Shabaab in Somalia next door is a great danger to the entire Horn of Africa. It is a danger to the US and all of its interest.”

“Our interest is fighting Al Shabaab, let’s be frank about it. Al Shabaab is very dangerous. It is part of the Islamic State. But also human rights and democracy is important. And I think the weight of the US government in the Horn of Africa is moving more and more to human rights and democracy. And I think the TPLF is feeling that,” the Ambassador said.

Cohen, who was the US Assistant Secretary of State during the Bush administration, from 1989 to 1993, played a key role in negotiating the departure of Mengistu Hailemariam and is said to have given blessing for the TPLF to assume power in 1991.

He is currently President of the Cohen and Woods International, his consulting firm. He is also a registered lobbyist for the Coalition for a Democratic Congo.

Source: ESAT
For more on this report, check Ethiopian Satellite Television



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5 Responses to "Ethiopia: Herman Cohen blames Tigrian domination, fake federalism for the current crisis"

  1. Danny   October 11, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    That Cohen guy again? The more time goes by in Africa, the more conditions remain the same. Cohen is a de ja vu.

    Reply
  2. aiga-assemba   October 13, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    I can’t believe that he said the current regime give huge economic benefit to the TIgrians. He should have assessed the lives of ordinary Tigrians. not the few at the top political positions. I use to see him as someone who analyses the facts than just ignorant generalization.

    Reply
  3. Elmi Geleta   January 1, 2018 at 10:53 am

    Whatever Cohen said on Ethiopia’s current situation the fact on the ground tells a lot more than he said. The most key issue now is the leadership need to be ready for a peacefull change before it is too late. As an ordinary citizen I wish those people who fought in the forfront to chase the Military Dictatorship must make an example of a peaceful power transfer ending three decades of confusion and dictatorship. Jerry Rowlinson for Ghana and recentlly Mugabe for Zimbanwe and Hellen Jonsen for Liberia made a peaceful power transfer possible and opened up a new democratic culture for their respected countries. Sa crify your ago and make history with dignity and respect for the people and for all sacrified children n of this country fighting from both sides over the ladt 50 years. I have respect for any of the leaders in the current regime as a a human being. But very sad for what has been done in this country for the last 36 years. All Ethiopians need to be ready for peaceful change and we must stop blaming each other and we must gaurantee the current leaders to be respected and honoured for their attempts to bring development and democracy though poorly managed and ended up in total failure. I do not aldo share the idea that one Ethinic group dominatrs the Economy it is the political elit not the ordinar person benefited . The majority of them are simply think they belong to the ruling group but still langush in utter poverty. They will as the rest of The masses in Ethiopia will benefit from the peaceful change. God Bless Ethiopis and her people

    Reply
  4. Ambachew   January 1, 2018 at 11:29 pm

    Hermit cohen is an irresponsible dispomat. 26 years ago we heard him bad-sing Amhara , Amhara, Amhara to confirm to the simplest motion back then. He now names the next simplest name two decades later and still gets to be referenced as a relevant diplomat . What a moron!

    I appreciate Ethiopians continue to commit to wisely express views and demand change on their own affairs, while it sucks to hear careless aliens dangerously overindulge. Ethiopia is all for all!

    Reply
  5. Paulos Assefa   February 13, 2019 at 1:25 am

    I don’t know why the Ethiopian websites bringing Herman Cohen and Mengestou Hailemariam. Meles wasn’t 3 months in power when Cohen said that he stopped the hunger and droughts by magic wands. I do recall John Spencer how he trashed the actions of Cohen without regard for Ethiopians as a people and Ethiopia’s history. Yes, John spencer was a man of considerable intellect and scholarship unlike Cohen. One doesn’t have anything to say about that little turd Mengestou. I hope he dies in blazing fire in Rhodesia. Having say this, I wish the journalists in Washington DC be a little bit savvy rather than behave like a medieval peasants.

    Reply

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