Mekelle University Community Confronts Mulu Nega, Head of the Tigray Interim Administration

Mekelle University Community Confronts Mulu Nega, Head of the Tigray Interim Administration

Abridged translation of leaked audio of a meeting between Mekelle University Staff and Dr. Mulu Nega Head of “Interim Government of Tigray ” held on January 15th, 2021.

Full transcription and translation of audio available upon request to Tghat. We are very grateful for the transcription and translation team that makes our work of chronicling possible.


Dr. Mulu:  Good morning. Today, we have  Dr. Mitiku Haile, renowned professor and the founding President of Mekelle University, with us.  We also have Dr. Abdelkadir, Vice President of Mekelle University. To all honorable faculty and staff present here today, I’d first like to say welcome. Today’s agenda is to discuss the current situation in Tigray and to exchange ideas. It is also necessary to discuss what the role of the university community should be. The people of Tigray are always living under fear and stress. It has been preached to the people that they have many enemies, that so and so are their enemies, and that they are encircled on all sides. That is the turning point. This is far from the truth. I have been following it. It is false. “It is unitary. It is this. It is that,” it [presumably TPLF] says on Dimtsi Woyane even though it was part of the system. I am telling the truth. All of us were left surprised. The idea of a  pre-emptive strategy started there. Therefore, when you look at the situation, all of that was unnecessary if it had been about the people but it was about power. One should respect what everybody else has agreed to…

[Disruption from Audience]

[Audience continues to make sounds of protest] Order!! This is the problem. This is a university. You have to believe in ideas.  Let us listen to each other’s ideas. You will be given a chance. Go if you’d like, anyone who wants can leave. The rest of us will continue. Going back to where we were, what was it that happened? As someone who was part of it, I’m telling the truth …it may not sit well with some people …they defected and then the whole game changed …

There is looting. There are many different forces that have entered. In all directions [disturbance]  …this is …by the way sorry to say, those of you here [disruption from audience] should leave. It is your right to leave. If you disturb or yell, no one will listen to you. This has to be clear. Aimless bravado …if you are brave, you should go there and fight. Go and fight. 

[disruption from Audience] …

Speakers from the Audience:

Speaker A. Questions that we have repeatedly asked in similar meetings have not been answered. If one asks what is 10 plus 1, and gets 50 as a response, that’s an answer. Even if they were to say 90, that’s also an answer [but it doesn’t mean it’s the truth]. We will keep asking the question until you tell us the truth. It is laughable and indicative of their disrespect to the [Tigrayan] people when some high officials of the Prosperity Party tell us not to ask questions that have been asked before [without offering the truth], or to say that Eritrean forces entered Tigray to better their lives. The Federal Government stated that no civilian died. However, most of us here have a family member that has been killed. 

Speaker B. Good morning. First, you did not show up to our meeting last time, for which I was expecting an apology. We thought we were having a meeting. We did not expect that you called us here to insult us. What I understand is, and this is my opinion, it looks like you invited us here to express one political party’s views and to criticize another political party. Not to discuss how we can go back to work or how to support the people of Tigray. The people of Tigray have not received any support thus far. Even the support that you speak of has been around Mekelle only. What we hear from family members who arrived here in Mekelle by foot or by other means, some of whom were shot at, is completely the opposite of what we hear from you or the Ethiopian media. We know what happened. Everyone here has been personally affected. How are we going to start work amidst what is happening? When we are disturbed internally, we are distracted by many different thoughts and worries, and we are living in an unstable country. Our conscience will not allow us to start work. How will those students that come, learn? And how will the teachers teach? Our minds are scattered. If you believe that university faculty and staff are better positioned within the community to have this conversation, I believe you also have to provide a better answer. I need to believe your answer in order to explain it to other people. This is not politics. The federal government [referring to Abiy’s speech] listed so many towns and cities and said that no civilians had died. However, most of us here have a family member that has been killed. This meeting should not be about instilling political thought. We should rather be discussing what we can do. Let’s leave the politics to the politicians. Since this is an academic institution, we would appreciate it if you do not talk to us about politics. Thank you!

Speaker C. Thank you. As the Professor said earlier, it is right and important to maintain order in a meeting. It is within our culture to conduct meetings with politeness. However, it is also important to express our thoughts, especially if they are accurate. Therefore, as mentioned by a brother earlier, the invasion by Eritrea is something that will not be forgotten even in a hundred years. Young civilians have either been killed or attacked. Everywhere Eritrean forces have entered, the youth have perished. Eritrean forces have committed atrocities that will not be forgotten for a hundred years. Who allowed them to enter? They have looted goods and property. Everything that we built and owned, even plates and mats woven by our mothers, has been taken. Who let Eritrea enter? Who can redress the atrocities? How will this issue be resolved? How will the people of Tigray be compensated? The most important question is “who allowed Eritrean forces in?”…

Speaker D. The thing that makes me really sad, is that it has been over a month and a half, when will what happened receive recognition?  In Tigrinya, the media reports that 1.2 million people in Tigray do not have access to basic needs and that 4 million people are in need of immediate aid. They say a lot. In Amharic, however, the media reports nothing. The situation in Metekel makes the news every day. I think you were the one that prevented the Abba Gadaas from coming to our meeting the day before yesterday. Who told the Abba Gadaas? How did they know what happened? There is nothing happening in Tigray according to the news. When will it be reported? We are being told that Tigrayans should deal with the problem themselves. We’d be happy to start work. We work for our people. We regret that our work was disrupted until now. But if we as Tigrayans are the only ones working for Tigray, why did the Ethiopian army bring all this trouble to us? If the Ethiopian government is not concerned about Tigray, when will the Ethiopian media report that the government is not concerned about Tigray? How long has it been since the Prime Minister went on TV to address the situation [in Tigray]? Human beings have three basic needs. That we can offer. Human beings also have two psychological needs: to be respected and to be recognized. They have to be seen. Their problems deserve attention. I am known to you here at Mekelle University. I was raised here and I have never once spoken in fear. I have never seen the door of a prison. But now I am afraid. Each one of us is afraid. Not everything that is being said may be entirely true. The day will come when people will be held accountable for their mistakes. Yes, the day will come. Let’s learn from it. It will not remain hidden, Dr. Mulu, it will not remain hidden. The first thing is to name the cause and how the problem has unfolded. They tell us “if you’re going to cooperate with us.” I have said from the beginning that I’m willing to cooperate for the sake of my people. But if the media describes our cooperation as “people who are willing to fix the problem created by the ‘Junta’,” it becomes politics. [Applause from the audience]

Speaker E. Ok. I will try not to be repetitive. Thank you. Dr. Mulu, you said at the start that there is freedom of thought and expression. Thank you. You also said that we will not discuss politics but then you continued to discuss politics. As university faculty, we should have discussed how to build bridges between Tigray and the rest of Ethiopia. Because that is how the issue started. I’d like to express my opinion that we should gauge the audience – politics for those who need politics, and problem solving for those who can offer solutions. We should start here in this hall. As a matter of fact, this hall happily hosted problem solving sessions in which I had the opportunity to participate.  Professor Mitiku, you are here. We have been through a lot together here as your students. Now this place has turned into a place where we wipe our  tears and a place where death is knocking on all of our doors. I am very sad. I would not have wished to see this meeting hall in this way, but we are here. Dr. Mulu – to start from what has already been mentioned, and I want you to take this as a question, you said that it was ‘preached’ to the people of Tigray that they have enemies in all directions. Then who is killing us today in all corners of the region? I mean it.  Is it UFOs that descended from the sky? I have lost 5 family members in the same house. Who killed them? How is it preaching? I’d like for you to apologize. No one preached to us that we had enemies, but we have seen the reality here in Mekelle. Why is that happening? That’s my first question. Second, I ask, “Where is Tigray today?” Tigray has been divided up  [by invading forces] like Hambasha [A Tigrayan bread]. Now let me talk about my family; we are under four administrations. One of my younger brothers in Fatsi is in Eritrea as they are giving Eritrean ID cards until Kerseber. My parents are now in Afar. One of my other younger brothers is now in Amhara. I’m in Mekelle; I guess you can call me Tigraway. So where is Tigray? Which Tigray are we talking about, guys?

Speaker F. Dr. Mulu – thank you for asking this university community to provide solutions. However, to which Tigray are we providing solutions? If we go to Zalambessa, it’s now Eritrea and they are telling us to not approach them. If we go to Chercher, it’s now Afar. If we go to Humera, they’re now saying it is Amhara. Where should this community go to provide solutions? Have you considered this when you ask us to provide solutions? Have you created an environment that will allow that? In addition, this university has been serving students from all over Ethiopia and luckily from other countries in Africa.  Now a student who lives in Zalambessa has become Eritrean. Will this university now have to sponsor a student from Zalambessa as it would students from other countries? If a student who was in Humera has entered Tigray, and that is if that student is still alive, do we also have to sponsor that student? What are you telling us to do? That is if the university is lucky enough to resume operations. While we are on this topic, I should also talk about Adigrat University. Let me add one more thing. Adigrat University has been destroyed. Do you know what has been done? Adigrat University students have been told that Adigrat University no longer exists and that they should go learn at Mekelle University. Media outlets such as ESAT were saying that Tigray does not need universities. Their wish has succeeded now with students being told that they will not learn at Adigrat University as well as other universities. This is being done to destroy Adigrat as well as Axum. We are saying that Adigrat University will no longer provide service. What should have been done, no matter the cost, is to have Adigrat University continue.  They (students from Adigrat) came to Mekelle University and asked us to teach them. Why? They said they were told by officials. Dr. Mulu – you know how you were educated. I’m probably equal in age to your younger brother. I could even be your son. What is our destiny? I am a student, a Ph.D. student. But now I consider myself lucky and successful if I get to see another day. Forget the Ph.D. and conducting research in Tigray. This is our fate now. I will not discuss politics, but if what you claim to be the truth is indeed the truth, we have to think about this. If we ask who did this, it is the Eritrean army, which is one of our enemies. You have admitted this yourself – may God bless you. 

What can the solution be? If this university is to serve the community, have Eritrean forces withdraw immediately! I’m giving you a solution now. Eritrean forces should withdraw! Then we can have Tigray from one end to the other back.  Our parents say “When even the little that I had (with which I was dissatisfied) is taken from me.” 

The Tigray we have been saying is not big enough has been taken away [by invaders]. If we say that the war is over, the national defense forces should also withdraw from Tigray! Our brothers in the federal police are enough to protect us. Then we can start helping if given the chance. I was helping at first. I hid at home after the jets started bombing us. I have been lucky to survive, but I have lost my family. So how can I go out and serve? When I go there, they catch me. When I go to another place they also catch me. Dr. Mulu, how can I go out and serve under this condition? I have a concern about something. Is the provisional government even capable of executing these solutions? And I only ask this because you always defer to the federal government. If you can, however, have the two forces withdraw! Let federal police protect us. They are our brothers and sisters. Federal police – I have respect for you. I have one question, however. Why are their snipers with you today? Why is that? We only have paper and pen, not bullets. 


Bruck Kebede

Bruck writes solely to be a voice for Tigrayan voices silenced due to the internet blackout in Tigray and targeted ethnic profiling in the rest of Ethiopia. Opinions expressed are solely his own and do not express the views or opinions of his educational institutions or his employers.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Gidey

    Amhara elites who nominally possess a priestly class claim The Orthodox Tewahedo Church Against Genocide in Ethiopia (OTAGE) registered in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The mission of EOTCGO, under the leadership of Archbishop Theophilus Alemu and other executive members, is to protect and safeguard Christians , Amharas , Amhara Muslims who have been the targets of elimination by the current government intensified more in the last three years. OTAGE is a humanitarian organization dedicated to bringing to justice those responsible for genocide and crimes against humanity of all Ethiopians irrespective of their faith color, ethnic background and language.

    Acc ording to the School of Global and International Studies, Indiana University Bloomington, report Abiy Ahmed is Amhara. This illegal PM is listed among Famous People of Amhara Descent. Amhara elites consider every successful man to be of an Amhara descent and attribute him an Amhara identity. They proudly associate many saints and famous people with the Amhara tribe. They also claim Paradise where Adam & Eve created is located in the Amhara region.

    source: https://nalrc.indiana.edu/doc/brochures/amharic.pdf

    However, When their people got killed by a militia created and sponsored by Abiy they start to cry out loud in the streets of the US and other EU states. A week ago, These Amhara elites were supporting Abiy and his military operation(which turned out to be a premediated Genocide on our people) in Tigray with their friends from Eritrea who support the killings of Tegarus. They were condemning the USA, EU, and all other humanitarian organizations which condemn and expose the genocide in Tigray. “America should pursue a standoff policy and must not meddle in our internal affairs” was the phrase that was repeatedly uttered by Amhara diasporas and the Abiy administration unanimously.
    Yesterday, I watched a video of a demonstration of Amhara people based in the US inviting the Joe Biden Administration to interfere in the internal affairs of Ethiopia to save the lives of Amhara people selectively. Their church, the so-called Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, and OTAGE are selectively advocating the lives of Amhara people and speak and defend only for Amharas.

    They did everything they can to smother our voices and misinform the world about the genocide in Tigray and the mass killings of Tegarus from starvation. They sponsored the killings of Tegarus. A week ago, They were supporting Abiy because he killed Tegarus and they vowed to eliminate us from the global map and this planet.

    It is evident that the World leaders are baffled and presented a multi-faceted claim from the Amhara elites within a short period of time.

    https://zehabesha.com/thank-you-pm-abiy-ahmed-for-everything-you-have-done/

    The above article is posted on APRIL 2, 2021 by Prof Al Mariam who is an ardent supporter of Abiy. I personally want these kind of prof and all supporters of the genocide should be brought to justice at ICC . However, I do oppose a revengeful act and mass killings of any innocent civilians from any tribe.

    For me, these ENDF and TDF(Eritrean soldiers ) are “unlawful combatants” and they must not be freed. they are not solely engaged in unlawful war, aimed at prolonging the days of dictators(Abiy and his tutor Isayas), but in killing civilians, raping girls and mothers, burning our churches and mosques, looting heritages, and committing unimaginable war crimes in sacred places and holy men living in monasteries and convent as nuns and monks. They must be treated as unlawful combatants” if you asked me.
    .In some recent combat situations, such as the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan following the September 11 attacks of 2001, fighters captured on the battlefield have been labeled “unlawful combatants” and have not been afforded protections guaranteed under the Geneva Conventions.
    https://www.britannica.com/topic/prisoner-of-war

    Thank you for your understanding and for posting it.

  2. Tigray Will prevail

    The artilce produced by Dina Tesfay and posted at Mekete Tigray on 11 April 2021. https://meketetigray.uk/2021/04/11/end-the-war-on-africans-the-truth-about-eritrea-and-ethiopias-brutal-regimes/
    And other articles posted at Eritreahub etc doesn’t make eritreans clean themselves of guilt and massacre committed by either by thier own closest family members, or even by themselves. For me all (underline this word and read it with a huge emphasis not related to hasty generalization fallacy at all) Eritreans ,both at home and in abroad ,( be it supporter of PFDJ or oppoenent) are supporting the incumbent adminstration in Eritrea financially and being a cyber militia.

    A renowned selfishman could contribute to his or her country in an attempt to meet his basic necessities without his intention but while purchasing and selling items which a country needs for its economic survival. These Eritreans while sending money to their country either to their family or development of their region or town they are contributing to the tax and the war as well.They are doing the same thing till this very day as we speak . they were weeping when the misslies were sent to Asmara . They were misinforming the world about the presence of eritrean soldiers and massacre of our people as if a single bullet was not fired.

    You will see these eritreans(socalled ደለይቲ ፍትሂ ) when TDF start to approach to the socalled eritrean border.

    If eritreans stand with you at the demonstration they take the following matters into account:

    They want to avert the possible violence against their people and pacify Tegarus by saying we eritreans are supporting you and we are against the regime in Eritrea , we gave money to the locust prevention campaign etc

    Secondly, some of had marriage related ties with Tegarus

    many fo them have family members in Tigray and set up business( you may call it ሱቅ በደረቴ micro business start up as you perfer .ከመረቁ አዉጡልኝ ከሥጋዉ ጦመኛ ነኝ ይባል የለ !!

    I knew how wicked these eritreans are more than any of you . I can certainly tell you some of them are approaching you to play the role of a nark working for thier fifth column.
    I do hate them heart and soul before the war broke out due to their hate, words of degradtion towards our people . They just simply insult you mostly if they deem you donot understand tigrigna.They are amazingly real muttonheads.

    BY massacring our people and destroying all our heritages they want us to rise to the bait and definitely they will harvest what they sow sooner or later . It is the law of nature that one should be rewarded for his task whether it will impact one +vely or -vely.

    All those innocent civilians killed , slaughtered and maimed are the part of our family members. It is not about developping an ethnocentric, tribalist attitude,but because of the indscriminte amassacre of our people (including our leaders-there are many amhara , Oromo and other ethnic members working in unison,jointly in EPDRF-colation of nations and nationalities ) only and only on the account of their ethnic background .There is no way that our closests family members escape this mass killings unless God intervene and extend their days for them to live much longer than those people who got massacred. All those who got massacred died for Tegarus who fled to Sudan serving them(and to us as well) as salvor. The invaders are unable to exterminate all of us that why the victims died for us and those who escape were imparted by God the chance to tell the story .
    We are witnessing the unfathomable nature of the corruption committed by top dogs of Prosperity party(PP) and massacre of civilians from every tribe by the amhara led prosperity party.

    Bearing this in mind(i;e the immeasurable corrupted and coldblooded murdering nature of prosperity party)How can we come to the consensus of inviting foreign invaders and spending all the resources of the country to arrest and kill a handful of TPLF leaders ??How can a sensible man support this campaign and march boldely to the streets of US in favor of PP ?

    “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?(Mathew 7:3) I invite the prosperity party political elies and ill-tempered amahara elites to look at your blood stained hands before you point your fingers at others !!
    Those chunk of blood staining your hands are unavoidable for the past 150 years . They are sticking there at your hands and cann’t be removed as your cold-blooded nature of murderhood is always bubbling inside you and you are not able to detach it from your DNA as long as you inherited it from your forefathers-Minilik, Haliesillasie etc notorious killers ..
    የዘመናችን ሚኒሊክ ኮረኔል አቢይ አናትህ ምንትልክ ቢሉት ፯ አመት ትነግሳለህ ልጅ የአባቱን ግብር ይወርሣል እንደተባለ የነፍሰ በላዕያን ልቡሳነ ሥጋ ነገሥታትና ጠንቋዮችን ሥራ ወርሰዉ ይሁንብኝ ይጨመርልኝ ብለዉ ንፁሃንን ሲገድሉ እያየን ነው፥፥
    ከተያዙ በኋላ መንፈራገጥ ለመላላጥ እንደተባለ ሁላችንም የምናዉቀው ሀቅ ነው ታዲያ አንድ ንፁሓንን በጅምላ ያለርህራሄ ሲገድል የነበረ ወታደር በጀጋኑ ወየንቲ ከተማረከ በኋላ ጦርነቱ ኢሰብአዊ ነዉ ተገድጄ ነዉ የዘመትኩት ቢላቹ ምን ያስገርማቹሃል፥፥ ከተያዙ በኋላ መንፈራገጥ ለመላላጥ ሆኖበት ነዉ የሚቀላምደዉ አይግረማቹህ፦፦ የወገኖቻችን ገዳዮች አዛኝ ርህሩህ ተቆርቛሪ አስመስላቹህ አታቅርቡ በጃኹም ኩልና ተጎዲዕና ኢና :፥
    ደም አይፈቱን ኲናት ካብቀደመይ አይድግፍን ነይረ ዝብሉ ወታሀደራት እናቕረብኩም አይተትክሩና፥የዘመናችን ሚኒሊክ ኮረኔል አቢይ አናጥ ምንትልክ ቢሉት ፯ አመት ትነግሳለህ ልጅ የአባቱን ግብር ይወርሣል እንደተባለ የነፍሰ በላዕያን ልቡሳነ ሥጋ ነገሥታትና ጠንቋዮችን ሥራ ወርሰዉ ይሁንብኝ ይጨመርልኝ ብለዉ ንፁሃንን ሲገድሉ እያየን ው፥፥የትግሬን እናት መግደል የሌባን መወለድ ማምከን ነዉ እናተብሀለ ብእዝንና ንምዕ አለና፥አብዚ ሎሚ ቕነ ከኣ አባካቹህ ትግሬንና አማራን አታጣሉ አይ ከወያኔ ጋር የተጣላዉ በሥልጣን ዉ ፖለቲከኞች አላፊ ናቸዉ ቀሪዉ ሕዝብን አታጋጩ እናበሉ ከእሽሹና ይፅሩ አለዉ ፥፥ፕላን ቢ መሆኑ አይደል ቤታቸዉን ሲያንኳኳ ፕላን ኤ (ትግራዋይን ማንበርከክ አልሆን ሲላቸው)መቀየሳቸዉ ነዉ፥፥በመንደሩ ዉሥጥ በየሥርቻዉ የነበሩ እንሳትንና ልጆቿን ቅርጥፍ ርጋ የበላች ድመት ከጌቶቿ ፊት ጦመኛ ነኝ ስትል በደም የተለወሰዉን ምራቋን እየነሰነሰች ቀኑን በሙሉ ፊቷን ትታጠበዉ ነበር፥፥የአማራ ልሂቃኑም ሆዳቸዉ የጎደለ ለታ ጥቅማቸዉ ሲነካ ሁሌም ጩኸታችንን በመቀማት ማላዘናዉን ተያይዘዉታል፥፥ከእኩይ ራቅ ነዉና የሚለዉ ልጆቻችንና እናቶቻችንን አባቶቻችንን ካህናት እናታቻችንን መነኮሳይያት ወገናችንን በጠቅላላዉ ከሚገድሉ ሁሉ እንራቅ፥የራሳችንን ሀገር ማንነት እናፅና እንመሥርት የሚል መልዕክት ነዉ ያለኝ፥የሺ ፍልጥ ማሰሪያዉ ልጥ እንደሆነ ሁሉ የፁሁፌ መቋጫ ስለ ሀገረ ትግራይ ምስረታ አስፈላጊነት አፅንዖት ስለ መስጠት ነዉ፥ይህን ሁሉ መከራ ላይ መለስ የሚያስችል ዋስትናዉ ተገሀስ ከእኩይ ራቅ ነዉና ዊች ኢዝ ሊበሬት ዘም ፍሮም ኦል ላይክሊ ኤጀንትስ ኦፍ ዲስትራክሽን፥eritreans and ethiopians .!These Agents of destruction (Eritreans and Ethiopins lightened their wallets to destroy Tigray and exterminate our people . Imagine how much money they spend extravangantly to purchase all those sophiticated artilleries, aircrafts , militray experts to help them locate the whereabouts of our freedom fighters etc .I cannot see any sort of crime and even hatful element when We tell you to detach yourself from agents of destruction – from those who are killing our people , destroying our infrastructure, factories, hospitals, churches, mosques, schools, monasteries, abusing monks and nuns , killing priests massively , maiming children the terrible list of crimes goes on and on in a manner that could tarnish our sacred nature that wes created to serve God but tainted it by evil men . We all agree with the fact that we are inherently sacred but people who chose the evil nature and will of satan defile our humanity. We were created to serve God like His heavenly Angels but refused to abide by the Law of God in an attempt to extend the realm of our control over the God created Nature and to become the God of all the universe as it was proposed by satan. People are doing the same thing in different manner : They chose to expand their territory and prolong their stay in power by killing our people which is the same evil act presented by Satan in those olden days where our sinful nature start to take shape. May God save our people and with a bated breath I am waiting the rise of Tigray in my life time. Tigray will Prevail Amen!!

    Again and again, It is worth mentioning that We Tegarus should deter all those agents of destruction, build our own churches and ecclesiastical adminstrative staff and work closely to help our community , and I am not inviting anyone to enage in any revengful act but deter yourself from those people killing our beloved ones. It doesn’t matter even if your family members are not dead all those Tegarus died for us and for our family as a sacrificial lamb.Other Tegarus were not in the presence of enemies and their days were prolonged by God . Therefore, We must unite and we are family members who gave our lives for one another. Let TDF(dying for us and family members) be a witness if I lied and exaggrated it ! Tigray will Prevail Amen!!

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