Dr. Habte one of the great leaders of the Eritrean Revolution
He was from the beginning, opposed to Isayas’s ‘Nehnan Elamanan’ that was meant to mobilize Christian highlanders against the ELF and who remained committed to the ELF and to National Democratic Liberation of Eritrea. He did not also heed to the several advices of Woldeab Woldemariam, of the necessity of establishing a Christian organization that could counteract, the ELF which he considered an Islamic organization.
A short biographical note
Dr. Habte (16 July 1943 – 13 January 2007)
- Born in Asmara, where he completed his secondary education there
- Joined the Asmara Teachers Training Institute, where he worked as a teacher for a short while
- He moved to Harer afterwards where he studied Veterinary Medicine at Alemaya
- College of Agriculture
- Travelled to Poland where he received the Veterinariae Medicinae Doctoris (VMD) degree from Warsaw University in Poland
- Moved to Germany and completed his PhD studies at Freie Universität Berlin Magna Cum Laude with Distinction in 1973
He was very active in the Eritrean struggle for independence at an early age. He once told us that his family were in support of Eritrea’s independence and thus were threatened by the Unionists and they used to sleep at the home of a relative police officer.
- He was a member of the clandestine cells of the Eritrean Liberation Movement (ELM)
- He was one of the founders of the General Union of Eritrean Students (GUES) in Europe and its first Chairman. GUES was affiliated to the ELF
- While in Europe, he was opposed to Eritreans joining the Ethiopian Students Movement (ESM) and becoming part of it, unlike some Eritreans who not only participated in ESM, but chaired it
- He was active in the unity efforts of GUES-ELF and GUES-PLF and participated in the Unity Conference of GUES that was held in Damascus on the 18th of December, 1968.
- After completing his PD studies he joined the ELF and participated in the ELF 2nd national congress held in 1975
- He was elected to the Revolutionary Council in that Congress
- He was appointed as the Director of the ELF Cadres’ School after the Congress
- He was later appointed as in ELF’s Foreign Relations Bureau as Head of the African and European desk
- Together with Dr. Yusuf Berhanu, he was one of the founders of the Eritrean Red Cross and Crescent Society (ERCCS)- an organization that helped alleviate the sufferings of Eritreans displaced in the liberated areas and also helped refugees in neighboring countries.
- He also contributed in the establishment of the Eritrean refugees School in Kassala that was funded by the UNHCR and run by the ELF
- After the split in the ELF in 1982, he joined ELF-RC (ELF-Revolutionary Council, after a later split within the ELF-RC he remained with the faction that did not join the Eritrean Democratic Party.
- He assumed various roles in the ELF
- Dr. Habte was elected as the Chairman of the Eritrean National Salvation Front (ENSF), a post he assumed until his death
Sources: ENSF, Dr. Habte’s interview with Awate.com, 2003, personal communication
Dr. Habte's interview with Awate.com on the split of the ELF-RC