The People’s Uprising

About Eritrea - History & Culture

Opposition Within The Eritrean Assembly

As previously stated, majority of the assembly members were supporters of Ethiopian government but after the establishment of federation and the continuous oppressions from the Ethiopian government, most of those individuals began realizing the tyranny of the Ethiopian government and started opposing it.

Some of the prominent opposition leaders included Sheikh Ibrahim Sultan, others like Mohammed Omer Akito of Denkalia, Edris Mohammed Adem of Agordat, Qadi Ali Omer of Asawerta, Aba Habtemariam Ngru of Seraye were the well- known opposition leaders in the country’s assembly.

Those mentioned above and many others opposed the interference of the Ethiopian government in the internal affairs of the country and violation of the rights of the people. In the year 1954, those individuals presented their case to the United Nations Assembly.

Despite the efforts of those individuals the United Nations Assembly didn’t try to address their petition. And those people continued their struggle against the Ethiopian Government regardless of the Ethiopian government’s oppressive measures and the United Nations Assembly's negligence.

Tedla Bairu's Fall From Power

Tedla Bairu, the Governor of Eritrea, was born in 1914 in a place called Germi. At first, he was the leader of the ‘Unionist Party’ and was working as an envoy of the Ethiopian Government. Later he was elected as the governor of Eritrea and become the trusted servant of the government of Ethiopia. He was responsible for banning the newspaper “Dehai Eritrea” and oppressing the Workers Union that was starting to form and for imprisoning anyone that opposed the Emperor’s rule.

After some time, he became concerned of the continuous intervention of the Ethiopian government through the representative in Asmara, Andargachew Mesay, This created an obstacle in Tedla’s job and Andargachew became a potential threat to his power.
As a result, Tedla began opposing by replacing ‘Meslienetat’ and ‘Shemagle’, officials in the country, by his supporters.  Some of the replaced officials were members of the Eritrean Assembly and as consequences; he created enemies in the assembly. To mention some of those: Pastor Dimetros Gebremariam, was the main supporter of the Ethiopian Government and was the first one to rise against Tedla.

Tedla’s rivalry was mainly with Andargachew where he was preventing any intervention from Andargachew. Meanwhile, Andargachew was plotting ploys against Tedla in collaboration with Pastor Dimetros. While this was happening Tedla had his whole trust on the Emperor.

In the year 1955, a group of Tedla’s rivals headed by Pastor Dimetros plead to the Emperor. Later the spokesperson of the Emperor invited Tedla and Mohammed Ali Raday to Addis Ababa where he informed them that there was no need for assembly and asked them to step off from their position.

The only reason the government of Ethiopia was giving power and titles to Eritrean nationals was to protect its interest and whenever the individuals start working against the interests of the government they were either replaced or removed from their position.  Before Tedla Gebremeskel Woldu were removed from his position and Abune Markos was replaced by Pastor Diemetros. Still Tedla didn’t realize the schemes of the Emperor.

After Tedla was removed from his position, he was sent to Sweden as the representative of Ethiopia where he worked as the member of the Ethiopian Assembly. In 1967, he left the Ethiopian government and joined Eritrean Liberation Front.

After the deposition of Tedla Bairu, there was a need to elect a new governor and Asfaha Weldemicheal was nominated to run for election as the governor of Eritrea. Asfaha who was also the ‘vice –enderasie’ won the election against Haregot Abay and become governor of the country. There were pressures from the Government of Ethiopia so that Asfha could win the election. Edris Adem was elected as chairman of the assembly and replaced Ali Raday.