Dr. Berhanu Nega, associate professor of Economics at Bucknell University and Chairman of the opposition movement, Ginbot 7, has responded to recent reports by some websites which said were containing revelation about “his private phone conversation and financial support his Movement received”.
In an interview with ESAT Radio today, Dr. Berhanu said that such materials were released by the Ethiopian government to divert attention and there was no way that his Movement or himself was going to bicker into an argument of denying or admitting the reports about the said “secret audio”. However, he stressed that the alleged audio, in which some websites claimed was ‘tapped’ from “his phone conversation”, can be viewed in two ways. He said, the first message that the government wanted to pass was that Ginbot 7 was receiving support from Egypt and that as if his Movement did not value Ethiopia’s national interests.
He said “Bereket Simon and his regime can not tell us about the meaning 0f national interest as they don’t know it”. Secondly, we have always said that we will take any support from anyone for the sake of our struggle for freedom. What we don’t do is that we don’t enter into any form of ”negotiation, discussion or agreement in the name of the Ethiopian people and Ethiopia” he affirmed.
This week, some Ethiopian websites carried a story and an audio recording that allegedly stated was a ‘secretly tapped’ audio of the Chairman “talking over the phone about the financial grant he received (from an unnamed source) and how it was being allocated”. The British News International’s phone hacking scandal/journalism has been one of the most scandalous events in the history of journalism in recent times which resulted in the investigation, sacking and arrest of many journalists of the media conglomerate for hacking the telephones of celebrities and politicians to make news.
Dr. Berhanu has neither admitted nor refuted if the said audio was his own voice and phone conversation.