Ethiopian church member: Manning disrespectful
Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2002
By Carol Matroo, Guardian TT
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A member of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church has accused Prime Minister Patrick Manning of disrespecting Ethiopians, the Rastafarian community and the Ethiopian Church, by not meeting with Ethiopian Crown Prince Zere Yacob Asfa Wossen.
Robert Lewis, who visited the Guardian yesterday, said Manning's comments about the prince not being recognised as part of the Ethiopian monarchy by the Ethiopian Government was "totally disrespectful."
Wossen is the grandson of Haile Selassie, the last Ethiopian emperor, who was said to be a direct descendant of King David. Wossen is in T&T on a three-week visit.
"Mr Manning say the Foreign Affairs Ministry advised him that the prince is not recognised by his (Wossen) Government and he cannot go back to Ethiopia.
"He say that the monarch lineage was abolished in Ethiopia but I say the monarch lineage does not stop because the government says so.
"The Ethiopian Government is not an elected, recognised government because it was won by the gun. Ethiopia is run by guns and not the ballot box," Lewis claimed.
Responding to the criticism of the Rastafarian community, Manning said he acted on the advice of Foreign Affairs Minister Knowlson Gift.
Speaking at a meeting of chairmen, Boards of directors and chief executive officers of State enterprises at the Crowne Plaza Hotel yesterday, Manning repeated that the monarchy was abolished in Ethiopia.
"The prince is not recognised by his own Government and if, therefore, we in Trinidad and Tobago do anything to give official recognition, then we can find ourselves at fault with the (Ethiopian) government and the Ethiopian Government is a friendly government," he explained
When asked why President Arthur NR Robinson met with the prince, Manning replied: "He (Robinson) is not a member of the executive."
On the prince's courtesy call on Orville London, Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly, Manning said: "The chairman of the Tobago House of Assembly is at a different level than that of the Central Government."
Gift could not be reached for comment.
Rasta: PM's shunning of prince disrespectful
December 06, 2002
By Danielle Martin, Express TT
Robert Lewis, a Rastafarian since 1975, is upset with Prime Minister Patrick Manning for refusing to meet the Imperial Majesty Crown Prince of Ethiopia, Zere Yacob Afsa Wossen.
Lewis described Manning's actions as disrespectful to Rastafarians and advised Manning to learn his history before opening his mouth and not let the wrath of Ethiopia come down on him.
"An article in a daily newspaper reported that Manning was advised not to meet the Crown Prince because he was not recognised in Ethiopia, and which went on to say that the monarchy was abolished and that the said Prince could not return to his homeland," stated Lewis.
However, Lewis strongly disagreed with these statements. "He is not on the throne because of the Muslim fascist government currently in control of Ethiopia.
"The Ethiopian government is not recognised because they took power by the gun; in fact any government that attains power (in that way) is not recognised, even by the UN," Lewis said.
In addition, Lewis said it was silly to say that the monarchy's lineage was abolished..."A government cannot abolish a lineage, it only stops when there's no heir," he stressed.
He said the British Queen's lineage went back to 1028 with Constantine, but the Ethiopian monarchy dated back to King Solomon and Sheba.
The Crown Prince is the grandson of Haile Selassie I and is the 227th King of Ethiopia and is welcomed by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church anytime he visits home, he said.
"If the crown prince had come here prior to elections I am certain Manning would have greeted him with all the pomp and ceremony necessary," Lewis argued.
The crown prince is the head and founder of the Ethiopian Peace Foundation, based in Manchester, England, which has as its major goal the repatriation and development of Ethiopians who wish to return and make a contribution to that country.
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