July 6, 2019
On Friday, the Ethiopian government has announced that an avenue will be named after General Seare Mekonnen-Chief of Staff of the Ethiopian Defense Force who was assassinated by his bodyguard in his residence on June 22, 2019.
The avenue from Bole Rwanda to Atlas hotel in the capital Addis Ababa will be named General Seare Mekonnen Avenue.
As well, a memorial park is to be named after him in the part of Addis Ababa where he planted trees, along with Addis Ababa City’s acting Mayor -Takele Uma, among others, in the morning of the day he was assassinated.
In the memorial park, a statue of him will be erected, according to state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) report on Friday.
Based on the report, it is Addis Ababa City administration that passed the decision to name the above-mentioned parts the capital after General Seare – one of the few revered figures in the country. And the city administration will also pay for the cost of building and erecting the statue.
As a member of a guerrilla group, general Seare fought for the cause of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and has made a significant contribution to the military success of the organization. TPLF people tell the story that Seare, as a rebel, was given a mission to free prisoners at Mekele, which is now the seat of TPLF led administration (otherwise known as Tigray regional state) and Seare was successful in the mission. There are also other military victories of TPLF that are attributed to Seare Mekonnen’s military leadership.
But what Ethiopians remember him and revere him is not for his contribution to the military successes of TPLF. What he is revered for is for his unflinching stance on the question of Ethiopian identity and Ethiopian Unity.
During the funeral farewell at the Millennium Hall, one of his colleagues in the military, General Abebew Tadesse (now retired) made it public that TPLF leaders treated General Seare Mekonnen as a traitor on grounds of his stance on the unity of Ethiopia and his determination for the cause of Ethiopia, as opposed to the causes of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) leaders, after he was appointed as Chief of Staff of the Ethiopian Defense Force.
As Chief of Staff of the Defense Force, General Seare Mekonnen inculcated the principle that a soldier does not have an ethnicity. A soldier has only a country and people to fight for. In light of growing ethnic nationalism that is ravaging the country, General Seare’s principle is right and needs to be enshrined in the years to come.
General Seare died as an Ethiopian hero, not as TPLF hero, and the decision of the city administration to honor him by naming an avenue after him is commendable, to say the least.
That said, it is important to note that details of the circumstances under which General Seare was killed, along with an old comrade Bri. Gen. Gezai Abera, in his residence, and how his killing is linked to the alleged “coup d’etat” in Bahir Dar which happened on the same day is still not entirely clear and the government has the responsibility to make details available to the public.
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