Home | News    Monday 18 July 2011

South Sudan denies it will grant residence to former Ethiopian dictator


By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

July 16, 2011(ADDIS ABABA) - Newly independent South Sudan on Saturday dismissed reports that it has built a new residence for the exiled former Ethiopian president, Mengistu Hailemariam.

The Ethiopian Reporter – a Amharic biweekly newspaper - this week reported that South Sudan has finished building a home for Ethiopia’s former leader and he will be moving to South Sudan as guest of honor.

Mengistu’s regime supported South Sudan’s rebels and now ruling party the SPLM during the civil war until he was deposed by a rebel insurgency in his country. After 21 years of conflict South Sudan became independent on July 9 after a referendum agreed as part of a 2005 peace deal.

According to the newspaper, which an anonymous official in South Sudan new home has been granted in recognition to Mengistu’s support to South Sudanese during their struggle for freedom and Justice.

However the government of South Sudan’s (GOSS) Liaison office in Addis Ababa said it was outraged by the "unfounded" reports.

"This is a big lie. I was shocked when translation of the Amharic report was read out to me. It is a baseless allegation against our government," David Dang Kong, deputy head of mission in South Sudan’s mission to its East African neighbour told Sudan Tribune.

"Our government has no communication with Mengistu. We haven’t built a house for Mengistu and will never build [one]. The news on the Ethiopian Reporter was a complete fabrication" he added.

South Sudan’s office in Ethiopia has protested to Ethiopia Ministry of Foreign affairs over the report.

"I went to the ministry of foreign affairs yesterday I met the minister and I protest against the Ethiopian reporter," Kong said adding, "I have asked for a legal action against the newspaper."

Mengistu was thrown out of power by Ethiopia’s now prime minister Meles Zenawi, who has since crafted a more neutral position between North and South Sudan. This was demonstrated recently by the involvement of Addis Ababa in the talks over the disputed territory of Abeyi and the deployment of over 4,000 Ethiopian troops to the oil region.

South Sudan’s office in Ethiopia - which will in due course become an embassy- has asked the ministry of foreign affairs to correct the information in the media.

On behalf of the Ethiopian people and regional group IGAD, Prime minister, Meles Zenawi, was there among first to announce recognition to the new state. Delivering a speech before tens of thousands gathered for independence celebration in Juba’s freedom square, he pledged continued support to South Sudan.

Kong went on to saying that the newspaper’s claims were an attempt to disrupt cordial relations between Ethiopian and South Sudan.

Former dictator, Mengistu ruled Ethiopia in iron fist from 1974 to 1991 until the junta was overthrown in 1991 by forces of the current ruling party, Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).

Mengistu is known to have provided assistance to the South Sudanese leaders during their long struggle. The founder of Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) Dr John Garang used to have a villa where he lived in Ethiopia.

Since he fled in 1991, the former Ethiopian leader has been living in Zimbabwe, under the protection of President Robert Mugabe. He has been convicted of genocide in absentia and was sentenced to death.

On May 28, 2011, the day Ethiopia ruling EPRDF party marked the 20th anniversary of the downfall of a 17-year rule of the former Marxist-Leninist regime, the Ethiopian government withdrew death sentences for over 23 senior officials from the Derg military regime, commuting it to life imprisonment.

However the decision didn’t include to the former Ethiopian president.


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  • 18 July 2011 05:49, by Michael Angelo

    Mr. David,

    South Sudanese has every right to support the former leader of Ethiopia H.E Mengistu. Ethiopia has always received Omar Bashir with honor while he has killed more people than Mengistu.

    • 18 July 2011 06:24, by Paul

      You said it all brother! Without Mengistu, SPLA/M would have never survived whatsoever...in the early hours. If he had to have a house in SS, it is only that we are grateful for the hospitality he accorded us and not because we are against the current Ethiopian government. Al Bashir has killed so many of our people yet he is received cordially by Ethiopian gov. In fact, Ethiopia should ban Bashir from Addis.

    • 18 July 2011 07:21, by Kur William

      This is completely a good news to be heard sheltering Former president Magistus Mariam in South Sudan does not harm our relationship with Ethiopian governerment. We can advice our brothers in Ethioipia that by doing this move is credit we owing from President we southerners, with out him we wouldn`t contian the hostility of Sudanese govermerment in Khartoum during the war time until we reached our goal by achieved our indepedent.We can pay the randsome to Ethiopian governerment foresake to preserve our relationship with Ethiopian people and to forgive Magistus Mariam for whatever he has done and grant him to living us in the South Sudan.

      Also I would like to express, and give abundance thank to the source where this tickle news came from whether they are false or true and I do want to assure that source to keep that spirit alive no doubt that million Southreners are support that ideas.They can do possible ways as they can to insure the good interaction between the two nation. Kur William

    • 18 July 2011 07:44, by MJriaksdca

      We like Mangistu for all he did for South Sudan, but harboring him in south Sudan will cause Western countries to have problem with South Sudan for they are not likers of communism.

  • 18 July 2011 06:18, by Kon Ajith Deng

    the Republic of South Sudan is the second home for former president of Ethiopan Mengistu,he done much for our liberation,he is the first man in africa to be honure by Southerners but it is not time to welcome him,we want develop our relation with Ethiopian government first,it must be discused with Ethiopia president Melese Zenawi,before to welcome in his second home.

    • 18 July 2011 06:35, by Michael Angelo

      Thanks you all brothers for pointing out the truth. In fact, our brother Ethiopians should know that we don’t have problem with the current government headed by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, but we’ll return the favor to those who have supported us during the war after we settle first.

  • 18 July 2011 08:10, by Aleu

    Tesfa Alem Tekle.

    I think this is just a rumors you guys are fueling in Ethiopia but look, the Ethiopia movement was success through by Sudan’s support and SPLM movement also have successful when Former president Mengistu Haile Mariam supporting Southern Sudan. I don’t see any problem for Ethiopian to fuel something not true.

    Southern Sudanese did not start building their nation leave about the Former president in the exile. MP Meles Zenawi should not be worry about the guy was been in exile for 25 years rather than, he should be thinking himself for not allow others oppositions parties to have a freedom. He has made a good development but the government system is wors even Mengistu government was better because there is more disases than before Mengistu’s government and also the land of Ethiopian citizens have been given away to business people leaving Ethiopian citizens wondering why the government is doing that, I mean thare are many things he should be worry about.

    • 18 July 2011 18:10, by henok

      Forget talking about Ethiopia, man/woman. Just concentrate on the future of your new country Southern Sudan. Ethiopia giving land to foreigners, disease in Ethiopia bla bla forget these crap talks. It is none of your business about what is happening in Ethiopia. After all you do not know if what you are crying about is a heresay or true? You have a long time yet to meddle in the affair of Ethiopia and speak shit about this country. Yes we know Mengistu did you a favour during your struggle for independence. We Ethiopians are very glad that he did this. But the same man was a buthcer in Ethiopia. Thousands of people were killed during his administration. We have a deep scar caused by that damn ex-leader Mengistu. He was good not only for you, but for Zimbabwe, South Africa and others. But at the same time, he was so bad at home. He is a deeply hated man. So do you think welcoming him at Juba by building a modern house for him will be good for the relationship of the two friedly countries: Ethiopia and SS? What about PM Meles Zenawi? Is he bad for you? Is he not the man who has dared to save you by sending 4200 strong Ethiopian Army to Abyei region? Were thousands of your people not given a sanctuary in Addis, Gambella and other cities of Ethiopia? So my SS brothers and sisters, be pragmatic and far-sighted.

      • 19 July 2011 03:22, by Aleu

        Mr. Henok

        What I was telling you is not about heresay, my friend but it is the true on the ground in Ethiopia. Some tribes were been kick out from their lands and giving to Chian business was it that good Idea.?

        For the Abyei issue, we did not ask for Ethiopia to bring 4200 troops in South Sudan however, it was the role of United Nation to put Africa peacekeepers forces just like what happen when you guys have had borders issue with Eriteran.

        We also know that, Omar al Bashir is the best friend of Meles Zanwi this is why he did not endors South Sudan’s referendum election until he just came to recognizing the day of independent for South Sudan but we do not mine what make him late not to come first as a close neighborhood.

        Second, it is our business indeed to tell you guys something if you continues posting any relate article politics at the website of all Sudanese whether the South Sudan nation nor the North Sudan part. Just to remind you guys, I know Ethiopian are so lacking in politics unlike the Sudanese people who have an uniquely politically forces with out side world, I got to tell you my friend that, don’t trust Meles government and belef me or not there is another civil war in Ethiopia waiting to happen because there is no sign of democratic system in the Ethiopia government.

      • 19 July 2011 13:29, by etOz

        It ’s a big shock for you to hear from a fellow South Sudanes about our so called visionary leader Meles Zenawi . the fact of the matter is (They know what is happening in East Africa) . and Alue is entitled to his opinion as you are entitled for yours I dont think Mengistu was a good leader for Ethiopia neither Meles.
        The only group who really thinks Meles is doing a great job is you and some Tigrians whom are the direct beneficiary of todays Ethiopia. did you ask the majorities tribes- Oromo,Amhara,Somalia and other ethnics group how they feel about their country? despite their numbers??? as an Ethiopian I am really proud of for South Sudan to recognised the leader and people who really there for them in their difficult time,Now as I see it every one wants to be their friends. you should learn some not to dos from the current Ethiopian goverment that is a goverment for all not only for one tribe and a real democracy and elections.

  • 18 July 2011 08:49, by George Bol

    Mangistu was not block from African countries. Leave him alone please.

    • 18 July 2011 09:06, by Dinka Dominated SPLA/M

      He deserve to leave in Republic of South Sudan and anbybody who is against him should go to hell.
      Like the current priminster zanwa he will run to hidd later if he lost his postion because he committed a lots of crimes too.
      Every African leaders committed crimes and hope to go and hidd in different part of the world.

  • 18 July 2011 18:18, by henok

    Dinka Dominated SPLA/M
    Hey hey,
    what you have in your comment is a sweeping generalization. You do not deserve a feedback, but for a record, you know Ethiopia is much more doing better under our visionary leader PM meles Zenawi. You need to read and hear a lot about the current Ethiopia and its leader.
    Your statement that "all African leaders have cimmited a crime" is also so funny. You are in general a funny man/woman. You do luck the integrity to argue responsibly like the other good brothers/sisters commenting here.

  • 18 July 2011 23:23, by Ayele

    Mengistu might have been a leader at the time, when SPLM was being helped in Ethiopia, however it was the Ethiopian tax payers that financed the SPLA fighters training at Bilpam and helped to accommodate the necessities. Therefore, it’s not fair to give all the credit to Mengistu. Mengistu Hailemariam and his officials were insanely cruel to the people of Ethiopia and perpetuated unbelievable massacre of thousands of youth in the 70s and the 80s. We want you, our Southern Sudanese brothers to feel the pain we have suffered and be sensitive to the wounds of countless Ethiopians still feel, and keep him away from East African region, unless he’s coming back to face his trial. Ethiopia’s commitment has always been the same towards South Sudan’s independence and will remain the same about South Sudan’s territorial integrity, despite a government change. Peace!

  • 8 April 2013 16:23, by dennishobson

    qIBu8veIdXymqHguUFT0cLHC0rvnucssanyong madeira plastica composite decking An interesting discussion is worth comment. I think that you should write more on this topic, it might not be a taboo subject but generally people are not enough to speak on such topics

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