Ethiopia: Doctor Arkebe Oqubay flying like a pig

By IndepthAfrica
In Article
Dec 11th, 2013
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By Abebe Gellaw

Until recently, Arkebe Oqubay was known to have spent much of his life on projects of bloody conflicts, corruption, tyranny or gross violation of human rights. It was a  total surprise when one of TPLF’s topguns was introduced as a record-breaking scholar.

It emerged that Arkebe has been bragging to friends, relatives and admirers since last October that he got a Ph.D from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) with great honor and distinction. He claimed that he shattered academic records, an achievement that guaranteed his name a special place in the honor list of the school. That is good for him, but why is SOAS contradicting this amazing scholar who claims to be the first to hold his PhD in record time and first for his unblemished dissertation?

On November 8th, Isayas Astebeha Abaye, a well-known apologist and flunkey of the dictatorship in Ethiopia, published a “breaking news” story on Aigaforum.com trumpeting Arkebe’s miraculous and unique intellectual prowess.

The brazen “story” about Arkebe’s amazing accomplishments in London trended well on the social networking sites creating buzz and excitement among TPLF’s faithful drones who danced and ran victory laps to Isayas Abaye’s song: “Dr Arkebe breaks the record in a century old Academic Institution [sic].”

The big trouble with Arkebe’s “record-breaking” academic achievement is that it was manifestly false. As the story was evidently dubious and nonsensical, we had to send a copy of Aigaforum’s story to SOAS and the University of London for fact-checking and verification. The school’s Directorate of External Relations spent almost three weeks digging through its records trying to verify the identity of the phenomenal scholar “whose name and his country’s name” were said to have entered the “history books”, just to borrow the words of the amateur reporter.  

After careful and lengthy investigation, Vesna Siljanovska, SOAS’s communication officer, verified that Arkebe Oqubay Metiku had indeed completed his doctoral studies at SOAS in October 2013. While trying to avoid some of the most awkward questions about the newmint scholar, she disclosed that his dissertation focused on the “industrial policy of Ethiopia”. Siljanovska also indicated that the school never heard of the “scholar’s” record-breaking feats.

SOAS communication officers also tried to explain that the so-called record-breaking achievement is common not only at SOAS but also in other UK universities. “Like many other UK universities, a PhD is usually at least three years in length but candidates can apply to submit after two years of full – time enrolment subject to the approval of the Supervisory Committee and the Associate Dean (Research) of the relevant Faculty. While the majority of candidates studying for a PhD in the UK complete within three years, there are a number of students who complete in a longer or shorter time period,” SOAS said in a carefully crafted statement.

Prof. Christopher Cramer, who teaches in the Department of Development Studies at SOAS, also declined to discuss details about Arkebe’s miracles due to the university’s privacy policy. But Cramer wrote in an email that Arkebe achieved nothing extraordinary or unprecedented as claimed in the Aigaforum story. Prof. Cramer was clearly amused by the claim the first “no corrections thesis,” but he declared that the pompous claim was “completely untrue”.

Asked what Arkebe’s new research finding could be on “industrial policy in Ethiopia” that he and his TPLF tyrannical clique formulated and imposed on the poor nation that they have brutalized and robbed for over two decades, Prof. Cramer, who was apparently the good doctor’s adviser, also declined to comment. It should be remembered that Arkebe was one of the architects of the Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT), the illegal TPLF-controlled business conglomerate that is widely accused of symbolizing apartheid-like crony capitalism sucking the blood and gnawing the bones of the poor people of Ethiopia

One of Ethiopia’s leading rights advocates, Prof. Alemayehu Gebremariam, finds the revelation quite interesting. He says  the fact that Arkebe was approved to do his dissertation on “industrial policy in Ethiopia”, a policy paper that he and his TPLF sidekicks had been toying around since TPLF took power in 1991, raises legitimate questions.

“If Arkebe had indeed finished his dissertation in “record time”, it is because he was copyediting his old policy papers instead of doing original research, which is what a doctoral dissertation is supposed to be,” the professor said.

“If Arkebe’s dissertation is of such an exceptional scholarly and scientific quality sufficient to shift paradigms, why is it not published in whole or in part in the leading scholarly journals of the world?” he asked.

Arkebe has a history of being a clumsy publicity hog. When he was the mayor of Addis Ababa, he once plastered his mugshot on huge promotional billboards under the guise of raising awareness on the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Azeb Mesfin, wife of the late dictator Meles Zenawi and Arkebe’s arch foe, reportedly ordered the removal of his outsize images from the city centers just within a few days. She reportedly felt that Arkebe would say and do anything for self-promotion and self-aggrandizement.

Prof. Alemayehu wonders why TPLF’s tyrannical midgets seek to puff themselves up as intellectual giants. “Those who aspire to achieve terminal degrees do so because they love research, discovery of new knowledge, truth and make significant contributions to the body of knowledge in their field of study. Conferring a Ph.D. on the unenlightened  is like dressing a hoodlum in a designer suit. It looks good but everyone knows that the man under the suit is still a hoodlum,” he commented.

Isaias Abaye and his bosses should take their own advice. He recently warned us about  Member of the European Parliament and a great friend of Ethiopia, the Honorable Ana Gomes, who reduced the late tyrant Meles Zenawi into dust with her sharp commentary. To the dismay of Zenawi’s worshippers like Isayas, she bluntly stated that the demise of the cruel and deceitful dictator was a good opportunity for Ethiopia.

In his silly tantrums against the respected MEP, Isayas lamented:   “Unlike the early days of the online media, we have all learned not to be easily shocked, surprised, or overly excited by what we read online. Mostly, we try to verify the reliability and reputation of the source. When we read Ana Gomez’s [sic] interview with a journalist from a local private media, we didn’t even doubt the authenticity of this story knowing it is the angry Hana Gobeze.

Perhaps Isaias and Arkebe do not realize that in  the Information Age liars, cheats, con artists and fibbers do not last a nano second without being exposed. Maybe the entire pack of TPLF’s liars, robbers and tyrants can take a lesson from this amusing episode. They should know, “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” If Arkebe must be extolled for breaking records, it should be for “record breaking lies” and for telling lies with disgrace. But he must know that his lies will NOT PASS WITHOUT CORRECTION.

It is said that old habits die hard. Sadly Arkebe miserably failed to learn that knowledge must be based on truth. It also appeared that SOAS also failed to equip its windbag graduate with the basic skills of researching at least easily detectable and verifiable facts. Yet SOAS can be forgiven as neither PhD nor professorship changes the character of pigs that are identical with the ones in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. .   

In the footsteps of their fallen demigod Meles Zenawi, TPLF’s dictators, robber barons, torturers and their heartless accomplices such as Arkebe and pedler of lies Isayas Abaye have a guaranteed place, not in honor books, but in the trashbin of history. No unimpressive PhD, professorship or self-imagined glories and trophies will change the fate of these dictatorial fibbers.

In the world of Aigaland’s Animal Farm, pigs may soar and fly in the skies. But in the real world we all live in, TPLF’s pigs can only dream of being eagles or falcons. Whatever any pigs dream of, they have to live with the fact that they are just pigs. This is the inconvenient truth that no genius pig with a PhD from SOAS, Harvard or Stanford can change and refute.

Dr Mulatu Lemma

Speaking of stellar academic achievement, a recent true story about a truly outstanding Ethiopian scholar has filled our hearts with joy and pride. It was disclosed a couple of weeks ago that Dr. Mulatu Lemma, an award-winning mathematics professor at Savannah State University, was honored as the 2013 Georgia Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching and the Council for the Advancement of Support of Education (CASE). His name and his country’s name is in the history book of academia for being one of the top mathematics professors in the United States. What an achievement!

It should be noted that Arkebe’s record-breaking tall tales of being the most outstanding PhD holder in the entire history of SOAS, even if his dream for academic grandiose has now fallen apart, must be recognized at least for the effort. The “scholar”, who has not yet published a single academic paper or a mini-newspaper article, must be honored named Doctor Arkebe Kedadaw!

While the warriors of truth and freedom such as Eskinder Nega, Reeyot Alemu, Andualem Aragie, Bekele Gerba and Ustaz Abubakir, are languishing in TPLF dark dungeons, Arkebe had the luxury of jetting to Europe in search of academic grandiose. Quite certainly Arkebe is unlikely to get the honors and accolades he craves badly while he is alive. So just like Zenawi, he deserves to be honored with a state funeral!

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