My Opinion | Jun 19,2021
July 13 , 2019
Last Genna (Ethiopian Christmas), a documentary depicting the lives of six families was screened by Demtsi Woyane Television. The families all lost children during the armed struggle with the Dergue. The documentary showed how these families are struggling to make ends meet now, wondering what might have been if they had their children to look after them.
After the show aired, the journalist who made the documentary got a call from a man who was touched by the story and wanted to help the families. When a sequel documentary aired during the next festivity, Fasika(Easter), the lives of the families had been transformed and their houses fixed. They were seen thanking their benefactor. However, the benefactor remained anonymous. This man was Ge’zae Abera (Maj. Gen).
He did not seek the limelight and preferred to work behind the scenes.
“Ge’zae was a humble man that went out of his way to help others, said Dagim, his youngest son. He was very close to his five children. “He was caring and always made time for us and all the people around him.”
His colleagues knew the other side of Ge’zae. They recall a well-organised soldier and a logistics man. Tsadkan Gebretensae (Lt Gen), former Chief of Staff of the armed forces, had fought many battles side by side with him.
“I always felt more comfortable in battle when I knew Ge’zae was in charge of the logistics,” he said.
Ge’zae was a man that he always counted on, and he always delivered. The most significant military achievement of the man he had known for 35 years was during the war with Eritrea.
“Ge’zae was able to mobilise 30,000 soldiers, 750 vehicles, tanks and heavy artillery within 12 hours for the surprise attack,” he recalls.
That element of surprise was a decisive battle that enabled the Ethiopian army to break through Eritrean trenches and swing the balance of power in the war to the Ethiopian side.
“I knew him well both on the battlefield and during peace times. He was a well-managed and organised person who was just naturally talented,” Tsadkan added.
Those who knew him best say that what was unique about him was the fact that he was able to reconcile these two sides of his personality: a soldier and a philanthropist.
“The war has hardened most of us tagayes(freedom fighters),” said Ataklti Teklu, a friend since childhood, “but Ge’zae was very different.”
He joined the TPLF and started the struggle as a foot soldier in 1977. He quickly rose through the ranks with increasing levels of responsible positions, culminating as head of logistics. He played a crucial role in shaping the Front’s military strategy and structure that ultimately proved successful.
When the national forces were reorganised, he was appointed head of logistics. He served in that position for twenty years, making a meaningful contribution in modernising logistics operations and giving distinguished support to peacekeeping operations.
Even though he officially retired in 2013, he never stopped working. He continued to serve in advisory positions where his logistics expertise was sought after. He consulted the government in its logistics modernisation projects with the Maritime Affairs Authority and helped organise the Public Service Employees Transport Enterprise. He was also a special advisor to the army.
It was indeed his desire to help in that capacity that led him to be with Se’are Mekonnen (Gen) to consult him during the country’s time of need that fateful night when they were both shot dead.
His sister, Mimi Nega, remembers telling him it was time for him to really retire and rest in a phone conversation only two days before he was gunned down. But he said to her that he could not abandon his duties, and he lived to serve his nation.
“Even after all the years of serving his nation, he still wanted to give more,” she said. “He was taken away when it was finally his time to enjoy the fruits of his labour.”
His family told Fortunehe dreamt of Ethiopia having a modern military force. After his retirement, he was always thinking and working on plans and formulated theories on ways the country can transform its armed forces.
Reading was his favourite past time, and he was insistent that the inheritance he can pass on to his children was education. Ge’zae always told his children he preferred to leave them the knowledge to build a house than the building itself. Leading by example, he earned degrees in logistics management from universities in the United States and the United Kingdom.
The family believes the only way they can get closure, if that is at all possible, is through continuing the various charitable works and projects their father had lined up.
“Though the man we dearly loved was taken away from us unexpectedly, his legacy will live through us,” they said.
Ge’zae was born in Axum in 1961. He is survived by his wife Abeba Zemichael and his five children.
PUBLISHED ON Jul 13,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1002]
My Opinion | Jun 19,2021
View From Arada | Oct 09,2021
View From Arada | May 21,2022
Viewpoints | Aug 31,2019
Life Matters | Jun 18,2022
My Opinion | May 29,2021
My Opinion | Dec 26,2020
View From Arada | Feb 19,2022
Sunday with Eden | Dec 04,2020
Life Matters | Jun 04,2022
July 2 , 2022 . By RUTH TAYE
On a rainy afternoon last week, a coffee processing facility in the capital's Akaki-Qality District was abuzz with activ...
November 27 , 2021
Against my will, I have witnessed the most terrible defeat of reason and the most sa...
November 13 , 2021
Plans and reality do not always gel. They rarely do in a fast-moving world. Every act...
October 16 , 2021 . By HAWI DADHI
Residing in a country with no capital market, an organised marketplace for trading se...
The pandemic, armed conflicts and natural disasters have again brought the importance...
Leaders of the National Election Board are in a charm offensive mood, of a sort. Last week, they organised a rare tour for members of the me...
When the country’s most senior diplomats and envoys return back to their posts after two-week debriefings, they leave behind a point or tw...
July 2 , 2022
After nearly two years since the civil war broke out in northern Ethiopia, adversarie...
June 25 , 2022
It is not the best of times to be in charge of governance in Ethiopia, whether at the...
June 18 , 2022
Some of Ethiopia's economic policymakers may take solace from realising that inflatio...
June 11 , 2022
The stereotype many people have of parliamentarians is as clueless seat fillers who exist to rubber stamp legislative bi...
PM Abiy Ahmed (PhD) at a Gala Dinner Called for the Awarding of the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize
May 6 , 2019
A couple of years ago, I was having a conversation with a friend and mentor who has...
The advertising industry in Ethiopia has come a long way. They are not only getting better and more creat...
Or see contact page