Dr. Ababu Teklemariam Explained his acquaintances with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn

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Dr. Ababu Teklemariam Explained his acquaintances with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn

Post  zerai deres on Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:07 pm

My personal experience with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn

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I came to know Hailemariam Desalegn , the new prime minister of Ethiopia, one Sunday morning in 1976 E.C. while I was a 2nd year civil engineering student of Addis Ababa University. Hailemariam just joined the faculty of technology as a freshman pre engineering student at that time. It was the brother of his future wife named Tilahun, himself a first year pre-engineering student and who later joined the mechanical engineering department and who brought Hailemariam to me. Tilahun introduced Hailemariam to me by saying “please meet this young guy. His name is Hailemariam and he came from Wolayita like myself”. Hailemariam appeared to me tall, quiet and very friendly person. He approached me and apologized if I will allow him to ask him question about engineering courses and immediately started asking me questions. I realized that he was on a business trip. He wanted to know from me about the engineering courses given in the faculty as I was a 2nd year student and he was a freshman joining the faculty. I tried to say few things of what I knew then about the engineering courses. Strangely he did not say a single word and he let me do the talking for almost an hour. I was amazed with his patience and interest to learn. I said to myself this must be a different guy who is interested in listening than talking and who appears to be a very serious listener. He let me enjoy the talking.
The following year and on his second year Hailemariam joined the civil engineering department like me. On that same year and during the vacation period June-August university students were ordered by the then government of Ethiopia to build houses in the settlement camps of Gambela and Metekel for the resettled people from drought and famine affected areas. I and Hailemariam were sent to Gambela and it happened that 30 students from civil engineering department were relocated to the Gilo Abol camp within Gambela region where students from Alemaya university were stationed. The reason was we were supposed to assist in surveying work. I and Hailemariam were among the group. As we settled for work Hailemariam stood out as a good group coordinator and leader. As a result when we were asked to elect a group leader he was unanimously selected as a leader of our group. I sensed at that time he was not only intelligent. He too has a natural gift for leadership. He was younger than most of us but proved himself to be a better leader and coordinator. Some of the students within our groups were from Alemaya University and they liked his manner, charisma and leadership.
Hailemariam was among the best students of his batch and finished second overall from among 60 or so students of the civil engineering class with a distinction. He was selected along with the student who stood first (named Rabira Garba) to be a graduate assistant at the faculty of technology, department of civil engineering of Addis Ababa university, the same department that he undertook his study. However, something negative and unexpected happened. The so called the Ethiopian revolutionary youth association branch of the faculty ( during the previous government considered as vanguard of the revolution in the faculty) wrote a letter of objection to Hailemariam’s placement in the faculty as a graduate assistant. The association reasoned that Hailemariam is a “protestant” (aka Pente) and should not be given the opportunity to become a graduate assistant. At the time protestant (Pente) is considered an imported- religion and one that is counter revolutionary. Once the youth association objects, the department had no power to override the objection. Some of the staffs in the department of civil engineering suggested that the 3rd ranking student to be taken if Hailemariam couldn’t be taken because of the objection from the youth association. However, the then department of civil engineering, Dr. Solomon Alemu refused as Hailemariam was a better choice. Dr. Solomon was very unhappy at Hailemariam’s rejection and stated “I will not allow a 3rd placed student to be a graduate assistant of this department if the second placed student could not be taken because of his religion”.
On the year Hailemariam graduated with all these sad stories, I was already employed at the Arbaminch water Technology Institute as a graduate assistant. During the vacation period I met Hailemariam and he told me all the stories I mentioned above. He asked me if it is a good idea to come to Arbaminch water technology like myself. I told him this will not be very bad. I said to him there are some challenges as the living condition was not ideal but there is a greater chance of getting a scholarship to study abroad. At that time I was already preparing to go to England for my masters. Hailemariam agreed and joined the Arbaminch water technology institute and he also preferred to join the department I was in, sanitary engineering (now named as environmental engineering).
When I returned from my M.Sc. study abroad in September 1984 E.C., Hailemariam was also completing his M.Sc. study in Finland, Tampere University and returned the following year. Hailemariam finished his M.Sc. study with top result and the Embassy of Finland in Ethiopia invited the then Dean of Arbaminch water technology institute. Dr. Admasu Gebeyehu to the embassy where Hailemariam will receive the prize that was sent to him from Tampere University.
Hailemariam was immediately placed as a registrar by Dr. Admasu Gebeyehu while I was working as the academic dean of the institute. When I acted as a dean for one year Hailemariam was acting as academic dean following the departure of Dr. Admasu Gebeyehu from the Institute. I was always impressed with his work ethic and diligence. I remember asking him to do this do that and sometimes I feel this is too much work for him. To my amazement, Hailemariam does the work very easily, without much pain. He has never delayed a work and I have not seen a single task that was too big or too challenging to him. Above all he always comes up with best ideas and solutions to challenging problems. Some times when we are challenged and seemed unable to come to a solution he always comes up with an idea. I could witness he is naturally gifted.
Hailemariam became a Dean of the institute at that time not because of his choice nor was he interested in becoming a Dean. He never campaigned to become a dean. While he was working as my deputy he was always with me, on my side and has never betrayed me.
On summary Hailemariam has always been a humble, intelligent, considerate and dedicated personality. He always holds high respect for people. His appointment and selection by the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi as far as I can guess is purely based on his merit. Hailemariam deserves to be in this position. I always wish him success and I am sure with the cooperation of the people of Ethiopia he will fulfill his mandate as prime minister.

zerai deres

Posts : 187
Join date : 10/09/2012

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