Nigussu Tilahun is responding to Bereket Simon’s allegation of “discrimination” and “unfair” suspension from Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) central committee.
Bereket Simon was one of the most powerful men in Ethiopia in the last 27 years; perhaps as powerful as the late prime minister Meles Zenawi.
He was not in charge of the intelligence unit or anything like that; he was just lurking in as a central committee member of Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) and as a Minister of Communications Affairs in the Federal government apart from being an advisor to the prime minister, Meles Zenawi. Now he described his role as mere “opinion leader” within the ruling party.
When a person like Bereket Simon publicly says that he does not feel safe to move freely anywhere in the country not because of the security situation in the country but because of his fear of “unpredictability” of reactions towards him by Ethiopians, although he tend to link it to anarchy, it attests that the ongoing change in Ethiopia has established new power relations in the country.
ANDM, the party he used to manipulate the way he wanted for well over two decades, “in the interest of achieving Tigray People’s Liberation Front political and economic motives” as top officials within the party claim, is getting tougher on him without being harsh.
This week, the central committee of the party announced that it has suspended Bereket Simon from Central Committee membership; something unimaginable had there not been a real change in power relation within ANDM. In Bereket’s understanding, the decision was meant to “humiliate him.”
He learned, he says, about the decision from BBC breaking news coverage. He did not attend the meeting which passed the decision on an alleged ground that he could not get “guarantee for his safety in Bahir Dar,” where the meeting took place. Youth groups in Debre Markos dared to attack a hotel after news of Bereket’s presence, which was proved wrong, sometime last week. Apparently, Bereket meant to refer to that kind of incident when he says he needs “guarantee of safety” and he also seem to link his “safety problem” to the works of ANDM leadership.
Yet, Berekt took his fight against the party he controlled for long time, ANDM, first to talk show host in the capital, Tadias Addis, and then to DW Amharic, and then to smaller cyber media outlets.
“The central committee has no ground, what so ever, to suspend me,” claims Bereket. He even went on to say that he was singled out due to the Eritrean roots of his parents while claiming president Isayas Afeworki of Eritrea had a role in his removal from ANDM central committee.
Yesterday, Nigussu Tilahu, one of the central committees of ANDM and Communication Head of Amhara region which the party governs, shared a status update on his social media page in which he deconstructed the allegations of Bereket Simon. The central point of his argument is that ANDM had reasonable political ground that called for Bereket’s suspension.
Nigussu Tilahun says ANDM leadership faced merciless criticism and even threats whenever they try to dissolve opposition to Berket Simon during discussion forums organized at district level let alone to mobilize opposition against him.
Bereket Simon should have asked himself as to what he has done to get the hostile sentiment from the youth in the region, Nigussu continued his criticism of his former colleague. He even bluntly expressed youth sentiment to Bereket in the region: “He has exposed Amhara for attack, human rights violations, humiliation and intimidation.”
“Bereket has even a history of intimidating emerging competent ANDM central committee members who raise new ideas to defend the interest of Amhara people. He used to label them as chauvinist and Neftegna,” continued Nigussu Tilahun. Those who resisted him were made to live misery, added Nigussu.
He also revealed that Bereket struggled to create a puppet chairman for ANDM and that he took the matter to the extent of referendum which was rejected by ANDM.
In the war against ANDM leadership, Bereket has also played the ethnic card when he asserts that he struggled to make Abiy Ahmed, who is ethnic Oromo, EPRDF chairman and prime minister which Nigussu says is a farce. He was rather sabotaging Amhara-Oromo alliance until the very last minute, Nigussu Tilahun argued in his statement.
Apart from political grounds, Bereket is implicated in entrenching nepotism and cronyism within TIRET, ANDM controlled parastatal, and squandering funds along with Tadesse Kassa, which he denies.
Realizing the fact that he has certainly lost ground within ANDM, Bereket seem to have a plan to keep ANDM busy by provoking back and forth conversation in the media.
Apart from sharing a response on social media, Nigussu Tilahun already had an interview with Ethiopian Satellite Television in which he addressed some of Bereket’s allegation against ANDM. Yet, Bereket is reaching out to other media outlets including cyber ones to extricate himself from “unpredictable” situation, as he puts it. And he is painting himself rather as innocent and a victim of character assassination.
Yet, there are views among many Ethiopians that he was involved in crimes against Ethiopians and that he should rather be held accountable and see justice for it.
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