SOLUTIONS WITH DEBTERAW, VII – Call me by my name, address and title

By Obo Arada Shawl – April 1, 2009

It was a comedy of the King to be an investor in education

It is a tragedy for Dictator Essayas to invest in education

It is a double tragedy for Tyrant Meles to be an investor in education


ምሁራን M’huran refers to the Professional servants


ጽንሐተ ምሁራን Ts’nhate M’huran refers to the Public servants (politicians)


  • 49 years ago, during the coup d’etat by the Neway Brothers, there were less than 100 students in the University

  • Over 90% of the Eathiopian population were illiterate in Latin alphabets

  • Less than 15% of the population used to go to school

  • Only 5% had completed grade 12

  • Some 60% were made to fail the Ethiopian School Leaving Certificate (ESLC)

  • Only a half-million students were enrolled in elementary school

  • There were about 170,000 students in High School.

Source: The Generation by Kiflu Tadesse


Everybody knows that people are the most important assets in any organization more so for EPRP. The struggle for Labor versus Capital was well known for EPRP member organizations and allied supporters. Contrary to many elitist elements that oppose the EPRP, the active members of EPRP have always attempt to merge politics, science and technology in their endeavor to revolutionize Eathiopia. The Eway Revolution was meant to change the Monarchy, to separate the Clergy from the state and to encourage those so-called “Nobility” class to join the working class. A political decision!

There is nothing more unpredictable than politics. Some Eathiopians see politics as hopeful and as essential to achieving humanity’s dreams and potentials. For other Eathiopians, politics is a necessary evil, or a conspiracy of the elite. Don’t we all know that both views are correct?

But what is politics? It is about people and it is about power. No one can be safe with either one. EPRP is in the business of peoples’ power, which is embedded in DEMOCRACIA and not in the power of the gun. This can only be done via investment in education a la M’huran and Tsinhate M’huran style.

EPRP leaders and members recognize both Chairman Mao’s dictum that “politics is a war without bloodshed” and in Winston Churchill’s words “that in war you could be killed only once, but in politics you can be killed many times”.

What is education after all?

Education normally is an act that refers to any experience that has a formative effect on the minds, character or physical ability of an individual. Technically, education is a process by which society, via schools, colleges and universities and other institutions transforms cultural heritage, accumulated knowledge, values and skills from generation to generation. That was the aim of the Student Movement.

The right to education is a basic human right. Civil and political rights, life, liberty, freedom of expression, equality for social and economic rights, rights to participate in culture, to work and so on, are all Human Rights Issues.

Modern education was introduced into Ethiopia with the full support of Haile Sellasie I. No doubt modern education was due to him. In fact, he became a patron of the University. He had eleven colleges named after him.

Was he wrong to be a patron? Was it symbolic or substantive should be the right question? What about now? Can we say the same of the prime minister of Ethiopia and president of Eritrea?

To be a patron of Education, one has to be aware in the relationship of concept-theory-and practice in Educational Investment. Haile Sellasie was appointing ministers who were armed only with theories and at that – merely acquired from college’s books. In other words, there were almost no ጽንሐተ ምሁራን አካል involved in Haile Sellasie government.


As I recall Ato Mandefro was an officer in the Central Personnel Agency (CPA). As part of his task he used to ask the graduates who came to apply for a job whether they have done some research/study about their country – Eathiopia. If the applicants did not possess thesis or dissertation papers written on Eathiopia, Ato Mandefro will hand them plain papers and ask them to write what they know about their country-Eathiopia. It was a good device for the recruiter man to distinguish the educated class namely ምሁር እና ጽንሃተ ምሁር አካል.

However, during the DERG era, most graduate applicants were from the Socialist countries and as they were caught off guard, they had no clue what he was demanding of them and as retribution the disgruntled candidates labeled Ato Mandefro as anti-revolution and as a result he was sent into prison. What a tragedy it was for Eathiopia!


In today’s Eathiopia, we are all Mandefros. We want to know about Eathiopia. Thousands are attacking the educated or disrespecting them. Why? Because many of them are unable to write about Eathiopia’s core problems, though most of them can discuss, analyze and suggest solutions for other countries.

Most of the educated class gives two main reasons for not writing about their country:

  • No data on Eathiopia

  • No access or freedom to write

As to the first reason, unless they initiate to write, how could there be any data. The population is the data. The Eathiopian population is the primary source of data. Those who have written about Eathiopia and for Eathiopians are called ጽንሃተ ምሁራን አካሎች….

As to the second reason, it is good enough to fight for their political rights and focus on their respective change of government. Nobody will do it for them; they have to take the lead. They ought to lead and not to follow the illiterate body.


Governance is a craft (secret power), not merely a talent (genius). It involves careful sorting of ideas and priorities. The Eway Revolution entailed knowing the foundations upon which the Monarchy, the Clergy and the Nobility (MCN) were based. EPRP’s first priority was to install a Political Institution i.e. a system of governance of the Eathiopians, by the Eathiopians and for the Eathiopians firmly stamping an idea and a trademark known as DEMOCRACIA. From the start, it was very clear for EPRP to believe in that

  • The Monarchy was outdated and was destined to be replaced

  • The Clergy had become subservient to the Monarchy and that the Church should distance itself from the Patriarch

  • The Nobility would be transformed into working class or Bureaucrats i.e. progressive ones.

For this EPRP was and is being isolated politically and sanctioned economically by the so-called “Nobility” who are still confusing the working class and the peasantry.


Long before EPRP was formally formed, there were many graduates who had undermined the crucial role of alumni associations. A would have been a vibrant function of alumni association was curtailed due to elites like Samuel Alemayehu who was the president of the Alumni Association during the reign of Haile Sellasie. The other culprits were the president of the university, the academia and some professors. The Tsinhate M’huran Akal were barred subtly from running institutions and research centers that could have contributed to the over all development of Eathiopia

The Tsinhate M’huran Akal including Debteraw had faced multi-faced obstacles. Though in general, the college student body were opposing the administration of the University along with the lecturers mode of operand, the would be EPRP leaders and members were mainly agitating against the subject matter that was being taught in the university college of Haile Sellasie. The struggle was not targeted against the administration or the professors per se; it was rather to bring a new understanding of the Eathiopian reality show.

Today, The main reason why DEBTERAW is in prison is simply because he is the leader in Tsinhate Muhur Akal. His usual rhetorical question is to ask questions of WHY and HOW? If any individual asks such questions, he/she would have to succeed not only personally but also professionally. That was DEBTERAW’s belief.





It’s time to believe in it


It’s time to absorb it

It’s time to translate it

And it’s time to abandon titles

But to embrace Tsinhate Muhur titles


Let us heed

President B. Obama’s call

“The future belongs to the nation that best educates its citizens.”

In order to save our children and our people


For comments and questions

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