The State-owned television aired a footage of Andargachew Tsige on Sunday morning. It was the third time that Andargachew was shown on TV since his extradition in mid 2013.

The British national and second-in-command of Ginbot 7 rebel group, Andargachew Tsege, was detained in late June, in Yemen, while in transit to Eritrea, and later extradited to Ethiopia. He was seen on the state TV on July 8, when Ethiopia confirmed his extradition, and again on July 27.

Today’s 13 minutes video was aired during the weekly Federal Police Program.Andargachew Tsege - Jan 2015

In the first 3:30 minutes, pictures of America’s torture victims (such as Abu Ghraib) and ISIS’s slayings were shown, while a journalist – speaking in the background – argues that despite Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International’s accuse of Ethiopia of using similar interrogation methods. Then the narrator asks: Is it because of torture that detainees, such as Andargachew Tsige, divulge information to Ethiopian police? The narrator himself answers: that cannot be the case because the recent report on CIA shown that torture is ineffective. Rather, it is due to the humane treatment they receive, which is contrary to what they had been told.

The rest of the footage is a compilation of Andargachew Tsige’s remarks, which were apparently recorded at least in three or four instances, based on his clothing. One of which should be in October, as he refers to a news on The Independent published “this Friday”.

Andargachew said: “I heard that one newspaper, named Independent, published an article claiming that I am suffering and being tortured. I don’t know where it got that from. I wish I knew the editor…..It is a big paper with wide audience…this kind of news is not simple and it creates stress.”

He also indicated that he exercises and gets a diet of his choosing.

Andargachew said the new generation is lazy with propensity for shortcuts and a life in the West, thus the difficulty recruiting fighters for the Eritrea-based military wing of Ginbot 7. He said: “Let alone matching our expectation, we were not able to get a core unit of resolute fighters“.

Adding that, the situation of Eritrea based rebel groups is useless and there is no one among Ginbot 7 leaders who would go in to mobilize.

In his scathing criticism of the opposition camp, Andargachew said the diaspora based opposition parties have no real following. He mentioned EPRP and MEISON as having five and one members, respectively, while their events are attended by some 20plus people.

He described the local political parties as “90 parties without an economic policy”.

In general, he claimed there is no opposition party with a stature to assume governmental responsibility.

Yet, at one point he noted that the opposition cannot formulate a policy when the state functions are not transparent. Adding that: The onus is on the State”.

He recommended the criteria for establishing a party to significantly raised by demanding “200,000 signatures”, so that real parties can be established. If such a legislation is enacted with sufficient explanation, the people won’t oppose it, he claimed.

The hastily prepared video does not seem to contain any revelation, nor did it dwell on the issue of torture despite the lengthy introduction.

It was probably meant to serve as a reminder of the strength of the state and frustrate the diaspora opposition which has got its hopes high after a defectee pilot landed Ethiopian Air force helicopter in Eritrea two weeks ago.

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You may watch the video below.

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Daniel Berhane

Daniel Berhane

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