University of Asmara: Victims of 1993 Academic Staff Dismissal – (A response to Dr Mohamed Kheir Omer)

  University of Asmara: Victims of 1993 Academic Staff Dismissal (A response to Dr Mohamed Kheir Omer)   In 1993, two years after the liberation of Eritrea, 35 Academics of the University of Asmara (a third of the total


University of Asmara: Victims of 1993 Academic Staff Dismissal

(A response to Dr Mohamed Kheir Omer)


In 1993, two years after the liberation of Eritrea, 35 Academics of the University of Asmara (a third of the total academic staff at the time) were dismissed from their academic positions by the Government of Eritrea. This occurred at a time when the honeymoon of Eritrea’s liberation was at its peak, a stark difference than what we are exposed to now. This is brief and focused account by first-hand victims of this tragic action to set the record straight to that given by Dr. Mohamed Kheir Omer at his publicly visible facebook page: , posted 1st June 2014).

Firstly, we understand that this is not the right time to argue one another over an issue of less a priority in light of the national emergency right now. At the same time we didn’t want to ignore Dr Mohammed Kheir’s misleading message that strives to distort the facts while attempting to minimise his culpability. Nevertheless we would like to stress that we bear no ill will to him or others involved in this case, especially those who have since acknowledged the blunder and its costs to the new country and victims.

We categorically stress (1) the staff dismissal wasn’t based on academic appraisal, as he tried to present it, but it actually relates to previous conflict with university’s appointed President (2) the precursor of the conflict between most of the dismissed staff and the former president i.e. Ato Andeberhan Woldegiorghis was a simple case for democratic academic administration (3) the issue was latterly manipulated viciously and politicized to act as a pretext for dismissal of the staff, with character assassination in the public media and rumour mills.

In his article, Dr Mohamed Kheir openly testifies that he collaborated with the regime in the process and had made decisions that seriously affected the university and at large the country (and not least the lives of 35 academic staff). However it is not clear at all, why he has decided to raise this issue of injustice at this particular time. This is especially surprising as it appears he has been vocally opposing the same government in many other issues for over a decade.


Brief  Background:

Immediately after the liberation of Eritrea the few available instructors of the University of Asmara had to cope with the massive challenges of rebuilding the university with its meager resources. The rehabilitation task required courage and determination of its staff which all were happy to shoulder. All staff showed extraordinary willingness to carry heavy workloads, long hours of extraordinary committee engagements including sacrificing weekends and public holidays without a single complaint. They served the public, government and its newly appointed appointed President (Ato Andebrhan Woldeghiorghis) with genuine feeling of nationalism and full cooperation.

Taking into account the President’s lack of prior knowledge and experience in managing higher education institution, the Deans, Department Heads and other senior academics expressed their willingness to help and support in executing his responsibilities.  Especially the deans of the various faculties, through the Dean’s Council continuously were working to remedy mistakes he was making, while extending their advisory support unreservedly.

Unfortunately, the President was unwilling to work together and instead, pushed on establishing a one man authoritarian rule in the university. He wanted to control all major and minor activities from top to bottom abandoning the long time serving legislations of the University [all this is documented officially]. At the same time, the president saw the newly elected University of Asmara Teachers Association, as a dangerous competitor that would challenge his authority and thus started attacking directly and indirectly.  Some of the evident methods encouraged by the President to weaken  the Association and its supporters were: dividing the staff along regional and faith lines; favoring and disfavoring of ‘new’ and ‘old’ academic staff differently [to which Dr. Mohamed drifts into again]. Executers of this discord were recruited from among the academic staff and administration staff. He would subsequently, depose the democratically [according to the legislation] elected Deans and Department Heads and replaced them by hand-picked supporters, one of which was Dr. Mohammed Kheir Omar. After this point direct staff involvement and contribution in the election of their deans and department heads was abandoned, a practice not remedied ever since.

Escalation and Academic staff Dismissal

It was at this stage, Dr Mohammed Kheir played his major role. He stood behind the destructive mission of the President and worked hard to discredit the efforts of the Teachers Association of the university and blackmail its executive committee as well as those who support the ideals of the Association by spreading false accusations and information.  In so doing he was involved in circulating a petition condemning the Association and insisting on general staff to sign.

It eventually appears the university wasn’t going to be a silent subservient to the government (and its appointees) interference and a decision was to be made to remove its key staff. It is with this intention, the cover up committee of Academic Review was established, which was admittedly not as experienced as the staff it was appraising.

In his article, Dr Mohamed Kheir, admits his involvement in this committee’s decisions and admits the process was not transparent, and the staffs didn’t know the ground for their dismissal and didn’t get the chance to defend themselves. Nevertheless, it is with this guise, the removal of the vocal opponents of the existing administration was accomplished in September 1993. The University Teachers Association was also disbanded with 7 out of its 8 committee members dismissed.

Concluding Remark

We were compelled to write this response to correct misrepresentations which appear to seed confusion and could have ramifications to a future just and peaceful Eritrea. However we don’t want to dwell on the past and intend  not to say more, lest it distracts our society from more immediate and more important issues.

Note: The full details of this unhappy predicament and the two years struggle for academic rule of law within the university are well documented [with records of official correspondence available to an appropriate time in the future].

In the end, truth will always triumph.

The above article was contributed by:


Dr. Negusse Araya

Petros Habtemariam

Mr. Michael Zaid Ghebremedhin

Review overview
  • Teclay June 13, 2014

    ” However it is not clear at all, why he has decided to raise this issue of injustice at this particular time. This is especially surprising as it appears he has been vocally opposing the same government in many other issues for over a decade.”

    Right it is unwise to raise this issue after 21 years ,at a time let alone the university the people in the whole is at the verge of extinction. Yes i said extinction,just as it happened to red Indians.
    Who knows may be something to do with the famous red line of the Arabic Language . Any way the Kebess intellectuals` Idiotism is well known and unarguable.

    • Haqqi Nezareb June 13, 2014

      T reason the issue is raised at this point is to exonerate Andebrahan who was the main architecture of the dismissal of the well qualified staff members of AU. With Andebrehan coming back into politics with a new book and Medrek, after boot-licking of Issayas, Dr. Mohamed Kheir article is designed to paint new face of Andebrehan. In my opinion it is a moot attempt to save Andebrehan as well as the Committee (bunch of puppies) that played the key role in deciding the fate of the 33 Eritreans back in 1993.

      • belay nega June 13, 2014

        Haqqi Nezareb

        “In my opinion it is a moot attempt to save Andebrehan as well as the Committee (bunch of puppies) that played the key role in deciding the fate of the 33 Eritreans back in 1993.”

        ከም ንግደት አብ ዓመት ሓንሳብ ዝዝከር ጉዳይ ሃገር ሒዝካስ ብዕድል ውልቀሰባት ትሳቀ?
        ደሓር ከአ ብህዝቢ ደረጃ ብደዐ ንዘርአናዮ ህዝቢ ትግራይ’ኳ ዝሓለፈ ንፋስ ይውሰዶ ክንብል ዘይሓፈርናስ ምስ ውልቀሰብ ምትዕራቅ ከመይ ኢሉ ይስወረካ?

        • Haqqi Nezareb June 13, 2014

          በላይ ነጋ, ዘዛርበኒ ዘሎ ብዛዕባ ምስጓግ መማኡራን ኣስማራ ዩኒቨርሲቲ ደኣ’በር ብዛዕባ ናይ ዓንደብርሃን ናብ ፖለቲካ ምምላስ ኣይኮነን። እቲ ሕቶ ንመንታይ ድሕሪ 21 ዓምት ሕጂ ይለዓል ኣሎ እቲ ጉዳይ? እዞም ዝተሰጎጉ የሕዋት ንመንታይ ዝረስዕዎ ቁስሊ ንመታይ ከምበሓድሽ ዶር ሞሓመድ ክያር ይልዕሎ ኣሎ ዝብል እዩ ናተይ። ብዝተረፈ ዓንደብርሃን ብኣውራጃ ስምዒት ልዕጡጥ ምዃኑ ብዙሕ ሰብ ስልዝፈልጦ፡ ናቱ ናብ ፖለቲካ ምምጽኡ ጽብቕ ገይሩ ይኹን’በር ንዝገበሮ ጌጋ ግና ነቶም ዝተሰጎጉ ይቕሬታ ክብሎም ኣለዎ። ኣይመስለካን እዝ ሓወይ?

          • rahwa June 13, 2014

            ay! haki nzareb zbl nick hizkas kindey tihusu ata! ayi! nay geliu ebdan si mekeni tesainuwo. tebelaxi iyu belo ninebsu tray zihasib, timhrtu zeytekemo zitemahre denkoro belo kinamneka mber b awraja simiet lietut mkuanus kabaka ysemie aleku nmejemerya gze. bejaka hiji wn bhawi xeweta aytekmekan iyu, hasot nezareb. Ertrawyan fikri nay awrajom yhalwom mber ndeki kalie awraja bmndah zeykone tekababirom bmkadn bmnbarn iyom zfletu. nay gelekum nwrmna gn nezi hizbi nmflas zielem zelo iyu. tehznu.

  • Mightyembasoyra June 13, 2014

    Well, now we are talking

    • rahwa June 13, 2014

      seriously, mightyembasoyra? ‘well, now we are talking?’ kkkkkkk

    • rahwa June 13, 2014

      aye beal neger enterayu zikeyhu! neza adi entay ikum kitgeruwa delikum iyu zgermena zelo! ygermena lo ybl Wedi Tkabo.

      • ahmed saleh June 13, 2014

        Kholel ilka nab Areb wedi Areb ,
        himam diyu ishnet kirideani

      • Haqqi Nezareb June 14, 2014

        ራህዋ, ነዛ ንፈትዋ ዓዲ አንታይ ከይንገብራ ፍሪህኪ? እቲ ዕቡድ መርሒኺ ነዛ ዓዲ ለሚስዋ ኣሎ’ሞ ካብዚ ዲያብሎስ ኢሳያስ ክነድሕና ኢና ንቃለስ ዘሎና። ንዓንውን ይገርመና ኣሎ ብዛዕባ ኣዞም ዓያሺ ሰዓብቲ ኢሳያስ።

        • rahwa June 14, 2014

          saabi eseyas s nska da maarey. adi bada enatefet bahanti awraja kitmgut xehay zarbeka wegenawi. mehanzel. wehatiyo teblkuwas tgosmo iyu nay beal nska neger neta Akeloguzay selam zeytihbuwa? entay geberu etom zeywegenawyan bakum zlkemu. denkoro! nska semhar (aka semira) wedi meret wegenawnetkum chew sinu. ab kumneger aytzarebu, kum neger aywexakum bzeyka mflilayn mtkuasn. newramat. adi zeyblu seb yelen. gn eta Ertra kulna bhansab dew ente ilna iya titerf. beal nska gn Ertra tefia ms Ethiopia kitihwesu iyu hlmkum zmesl. stop playing with fire once again. Ertra, Semahar, Senhit, Barka, Sahel, Hamasien,,Denkel, Akeloguzay, seraye zbhala (gele ziterese aysanin iyu) zbhala awraja alewa. slezi stop playing with fire.

  • Dala ksha June 13, 2014

    Dr.Mohammed kheir and Dr.Andebrhan are genius Eritreans ,I don’t understand why are you attacking them guys this are people who talk their mind what ever you say will not change the situation .every body knows what the school situation was in Dergi time forget university some of the teachers were not qualified to teach high school.

    • Haqqi Nezareb June 13, 2014


      Coming to the rescue!! I can give you this fact: there are more > 30 of former AU staff who have Ph.Ds and holding different positions in the USA and other countries. The Eritreans are recruited during 1982-1991 by the University. Just for my curiosity, can you name one person who was not qualified (with out the required GPA>2.75)to be a staff members? On the other hand, after the dismissal of the 33 Eritreans, the university was full of lecturers who were brought from different High Schools to fill up the positions left by the victims of 1993 purge designed by Dr. Mohamed ,Ato Andebrehan,and other puppies.

  • Banna June 13, 2014

    Haqqi Nezareb

    They are talking Hasot dont mind them

  • wedi reality June 13, 2014

    previous conflicts with the staffs doesn’t assure Dr.Andebrehans involvement. where is the evidence? The evidence is clearly written by Dr. mohamed k . Struggling with wrong perceptions and inferiority complexity. Akile has a tendency of attacking scholars and leaders from other region and pumping thier own. this is devils act. We have to respect each other! Nihina muhurat nihina gelemele is not a solution….Every former UOA student knows how poor the staffs were…

  • Haqqi Nezareb June 13, 2014

    Hi Wedi Reality
    You said, “Every former UOA student knows how poor the staffs were…”. You are totally wrong on this point. Many of those dismissed were my teachers and I know them personally. They were well qualified, I can not say much about those joined the university (1991-1993) in contradiction to your flawed assumption. The reason they were kicked out was due to personal grudge of Andebrhan (typical) not qualification. I can remember the reasons for the dismissal were many: awraja (Akeleguzay), Dergists, graduates of inferior education of the Derge etc. In you case pick one to fit your argument to save the skin of the ex-president of the University (Andebrehan, 1991-part of 1993. I hope you were not one of the puppies of that time.

    • wedi reality June 13, 2014

      haki nezareb,
      first of all the dismissed staffs were from all over, offcourse most of them the cath. affiliated, who earn masters with 2.5 gpa akiles. why u searching further evidence while the person who was directly involved witnessed the event.
      Most of the instructors were lazy! except father tewelde, tesfaldet math instructor and very few more… shame on haters like u…..

      • Simon G. June 13, 2014

        wedi reality,
        were you expelled from UoA by any chance? You seem to have some grudge. Just asking.

        • wedi reality June 13, 2014

          simon MF, I just parked by the university..haaha

      • Haqqi Nezareb June 13, 2014

        Wedi reality,
        Now I know that you are illiterate about graduate programs. Masters with 2.5 GPA!!!! Never heard of it. Another lackey of the evil system we have in Eritrean, aka gang-land.

        • ahmed saleh June 13, 2014

          Haki Tezareb
          It is important in life to know where and when to let it go , when to hold .These gentlemen
          prefer to join the fight beside
          the opposition but you seem
          not to welcome them .

          • Haqqi Nezareb June 13, 2014


        • wedi reality June 13, 2014

          hakki nizareb,
          u r right am, illiterate, I just passed by the gate….tilifilif zeleka temahire eilika dika? 2.5 gpa to join graduate school….like wedi araya lol

          • Haqqi Nezareb June 13, 2014

            wEDI REALITY ON,


          • Haqqi Nezareb June 13, 2014

            WEDI REALITY,


  • ወዲ ሹቕ June 13, 2014

    I think the reality was explained by Dr. Mohamed about the 1993 incident and he acknowledged his involvement and clearly expressed his regrets on the closed and unfair process of kicking those professors. And he clearly explained that Dr. Andebrhan was not the sole responsible of that incident. But people like haqqi nezarreb are obsessed to accuse Dr. Andebrhan for known reason. Those people are enthusiastic to blame the regime’s top officials, generals, ex top officials, and ex generals by reffering to their . They blame Dr. Andebrhan but not Adhanom (equal to Andebrhan in involving the Ghedli’s crimes), They blame Generals fro other region and have not been heard to say anything about Abraha Kassa, someone Gebredingil and Col. Tesfaldet and the wife of the mad dog since they are from their region. What a justice lovers and rationalists are theses guys? And lets see where this approach is going to get them.

    • Haqqi Nezareb June 13, 2014

      Is Andebrehan a Doctor? Just curious.

      On the other hand the process of purging the staff members was laid out by Andebrehan, but few months prior to their dismissal Andebrehan was replaced by Dr. Tsegai. During Dr. Tsegai time only the committee that was formed was paving the way for the final evil scheme according to the wish of Andebrehan.

    • Simon G. June 13, 2014

      ወዲ ሹቕ:
      እዚ ኣርእስቲ ብዛዕባ ዓንደብርሃንን ኣስመራ ዩኒቨርሲቲ ኢዩ።
      ወይ ‘ታ ዝዓበኻላ ሽቕ ንኡሽቶይ’ያ(ስፍሕ ዝበለ ክጥምት ከልኪላትካ ዓቢኻ) ወይ ድማ ዝለመደካዮ ስዋ/ሜስ ምዑግ ምባል ከድልየካ ‘ዩ።

      • ወዲ ሹቕ June 14, 2014

        @simone እቲ ዝዓበኽሉ ሹቕ ካብ ዝተፈላለየ ቦታታት ዝመጹን ዝተፈላለየ ተሞኩሮ ዘለዎምን ሰባት ዝእከብሉ ስለዝነበረ ካብታ ናትካ ዓለም ማራ ዝገፍሐ ኔሩ። ከምትትግጥሞ ከም ናይ ሹቕ ጌረ ምመለስኩልካ ኔረ፡ ግን ንሱ ኣይኮነን ዘዛርብ ዘሎ። ከማኻን ከምዝኸማኻን ብናይ ኣውራጃን ወረዳን ሕንጻጻት ኣእምርኦም ዝጸበበ ሰባት፡ ኣብ ቃልሲ እጃምና ከነበርክት ኢና ንዝበሉ ሰባት እሞ ኸኣ ንፍሉያት ሰባት ታርጌት ጌርካ ምህራም እንታይ ይበሃል። ንኣድሓኖም ብሒም ዘይበለት መልሓስ ኣብ ልዕሊ ዓንደብርሃን ተደጋጋሚ ምልዓላ ምስምንታይ ይቑጸር። እሞ እቶም ጉጅለ 15 ዝበሃሉ ደኣ ነዚ ክንዳ እምባ ኮይንልና ዘሎ ስርዓት ኣብ ዝለዓለ ደረጃ ክበጽሕ ክንደይ ገበን ዲዮም ሰሪሖም? ኣብ 94 ድሩዕ ምስ ኢሰያስ ኣብ ልዕሊ ሮሞዳን ተመሳጢሩ ንኣይኡ ስልጣን ስለዘረከቦስ ናይ ቀደም ገበን ኣለዎ ኣናበልና ክንጻባጸቦ ዶ ኔርና ወላ ነቲ ዝጀመሮ ቃልሲ ኢና ክንሪኢ ዘለና? ወዮ ደኣ ክንደየናይ ከይትምልሰለይ እምበር፡ እሞ ኣብ ሞንጎ ዓንደብርሃንን ካልኦትን (ብዘይካ ናይ ግዜ)ዘሎ ፍልልይ ደኣ እንታይ ኢዩ? ኢለ ምስሓተትኩኻ።

        • Simon G. June 14, 2014

          ወዲ ሹቕ፣
          ሓበሬታ: ሓደ ወዲ ሹቕ ንነብሱ ወዲ ሹቕ ኢሉ ኣይጽውዕን።
          ደሓን ንሱ ንግደፎ፥ እንታይ ዩ እቲ የእምሮኻ ናብ ድሩዕ ጥራይ ኣዘምቢሉ? – G-15 was not built by Drue and in reality it is G-11. As you can see 11 stands for 11 people. Gosh, do I need to explain to that basic level to supposedly a BS holder?
          ኣበይ ክምዝዓበኹ ስለዘትፈልጥ፥ ካብ ከምኡታት ርኢቶ ተቖጠብ – That will make you look immature. Never assume. Never.
          You seem to lose the point easily and often – I have told you to focus. As I said, this topic is about UoA and Andebrhan. Focus.
          I would say that the reason why Isayas is in this situation is because of students like you that you have hard time of graduating – this is figuratively speaking.
          Be open my friend and try to open books, often. This idea of owning a BS diploma is going over your head.

    • Haqqi Nezareb June 13, 2014

      Hi wedi Shik,

      Now let us talk on facts on Ground: a. 90% of Generals in Eritrean are from one awraja (guess which one?)
      b. >90 of Colonels are from one Awraja (guess which one?
      c. <3% of the top leaders of Eritrea are dissidents of Tigray parents

  • Delaii fithi June 13, 2014


  • Delaii fithi June 13, 2014


  • abyssinia June 13, 2014

    Your attention please.Here is the true story of matter. A good friend of mine tells always that if someone wants to be wise s/he should start from the underlying cause of a problem, rather than focusing on the effect. Here you go. An overambitious guy started to collect qoutations of the famous people in the past impress his juniors and to get attention from his master. The next step he took was to conceptualize the phrase…the question of deal person in the Eritrean context. Somehow he got a green light that he might be the boss at University of Asmara post independence of Eritrea. Unfortunately, his dreams turned out to be a nightmare as other competitors beat him. As a result of the fierce competition based on personal favoritism, he was thrown at the lower totem pole. Now the agenda and instructions of ruining the University had to be given to an other loyal to mudsling and dismiss the highly qualified lecturers and replace them with favored ones based on poersonal connection and obedience to the regime. Mind you, academic qualifications and experience werenot important criteria. When the scandal was exposed to the public even to the diaspora community, the the justification, for the challenging questions was the machiavian principles, thus the end justifies the means.