H.E. Dr. Kadafo Mohammed Hanfare, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Ethiopian Embassy in Kuwait and Mr. Assefa Delil Hassen, Minister-Counselor of Political Affairs at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, D.C. have defected to Canada and the United States respectively. The high level of defection comes following the country’s 2010 sham election that gave the ruling party (EPRDF) a whopping 99.9% victory and transformed its leader, Meles Zenawi, into a de-facto emperor of Ethiopia.
Zenawi, who has been the leader of the ruling TPLF since 1985, is famous for effectively setting up “proxy ethnic PDOs.” His morally reprehensible strategy of garnering loyalty by fomenting collective hatred among various sects of Ethiopians is putting the country on a dangerous path. A master at manipulating the West, Zenawi is intent on systematically restoring the full backing of his constituents from Tigray, six percent of the nation, at the expense of poor Ethiopians in other parts of the country.
From 1994 to 2006, Ambassador Kadafo served as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ethiopia first in Nigeria and then Sudan. During his assignment in Khartoum, Kadafo was also accredited to Libya, Chad, Central Africa Republic and Niger. From 2006 up until his latest defection, Kadafo served as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ethiopia to Kuwait, where he was also accredited to Kingdoms of Bahrain and Qatar. Ambassador Kadafo is from the Afar ethnic group and has a PhD in International Relations.
Mr. Assefa Delil Hassen is a senior diplomat from the Gurage ethnic group. He joined the ministry of foreign affairs early in 1983 and has an M.A in International Politics. He has served as political affairs officer at the Ethiopian Embassy in Brussels, working under Berhane Gabrekiristos, an influential ethnic Tigrean and a close confidant of Emperor Meles. Assefa also served as cabinet affairs officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After the 2005 election crisis, he was assigned the duty of political affairs counselor at the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
The specific reasons and details of their defection are yet to be verified, but analysts suspect that the defections came after the duo lost hope in TPLF following the embarrassing May 2010 election results. Efforts have been made to get a reaction from government authorities, but to no avail. To their colleagues, both Ambassador Kadafo and Mr. Assefa are known for their humble personalities.
Some 100 diplomats have defected since the controversial 2005 election in which 199 people were gunned down, 763 civilians were injured and more than 60,000 arrested.
*Name withheld per the reporter’s request (additional editing by OPride staff).