Something fishy in the Ethiopian embassy

Originally posted on May 28, 2010

A couple of weeks ago a number of Ethiopian websites published an article entitled Fraud at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington DC. The article posted by a Aba Chibssa brought a certain staff of the embassy, who worked as a public relations officer, to the attention of the public. The writer argued that the staff in question was a top government official both during the Dergue and the EPRDF regimes. The article says:

After working a couple of months at the embassy around 2000, Mr. Tsehaye Debalkew Tessema stopped working in the embassy and asked for political asylum in the United States, falsely claiming that he is persecuted by the current government of Ethiopia… According to people who saw his application for asylum he has hidden his real personal stories and affiliations with both the previous and the current government.   Once Tsehaye got his asylum … he went back to the embassy to begin business as usual – work for the government of Ethiopia as its chief propagandist in North America. He is currently among the top executive in the embassy, where he works as a Public Relations Officer.”

In conclusion, the writer urged both the Ethiopian embassy and the individual be investigated for violating the laws of the United States.
Days after the article was posted, the press officer’s name has been dropped from the list of the staff. Mr Tsehaye may still be in the embassy’s payroll but the name no more. That indeed adds to the suspicion.

Googling the name Tsehaye Debalkew brings in countless articles, the sole purpose of which is glorifying the totalitarian system that is prevailing in the country and condemning those who dared to oppose it. ”It is indeed in the last 2 decades that the inalienable human and democratic rights of its populace were ascertained, protected by the law of the land as enshrined in the country’s ever Constitution written and ratified by the unrestricted participation of the citizenry.” says Mr Tsehaye in an article he calls Telling facts and figures about Ethiopia.

The press officer, of course, is entitled to hold his views and opinions in any matter. There is no problem with that.  In a surprising twist, however, the Embassy decided to cross out his name from its page without caring to explain the situation. The act of dropping the name of the staff from its list can be taken as a confirmation of Aba Chibassa’s allegation.

As the Embassy – at least in theory – is a public institution, Ethiopians have a right to know what really is going on.  The mere scrapping of the individual’s name from the website without explaining the reason why it is done makes the Ethiopian Embassy rather an accomplice to some dodgy undertaking, not to talk about the individual in question himself.

While the diplomatic immunity may protect the mission from investigation, it won’t shield them from suspicion and mistrust. As an appendix, checkout the two screenshots of the Embassy’s website. One taken on May 13, 2010 and the other May 27, 2010. ”If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.” That statement by Google’s CEO Mr Eric Schmidt seems to have finally gotten its niche.





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