On Nov 30, 2022, a Facebook account posted an image showing Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki receiving a gift from Amhara regional state government delegates. The photo gift depicts a picture of Emperor Haile Selassie I and the post used the picture to criticize the supporters of the Eritrean ruling party saying “you are supporting this [President Isaias]” implicitly stating that the President was working with Eritrea’s historical enemies.
The post was shared several times on Facebook and got many reactions.
However, HaqCheck looked into the picture and confirmed that the image doesn’t show the present the representatives of the Amhara regional state gave to president Isaias. The image used in the post was photoshopped.
After Italy was defeated by the Allied Powers during WWII, the British military took control of the administration of the former Italian colony, Eritrea. In 1952, the United Nations decided that Eritrea should be federated with Ethiopia.
However, the last Emperor of the Ethiopian Empire, Haile Selassie I dismissed the federation and annexed Eritrea to be one of the provinces of Ethiopia with no autonomous status.
The Emperor had been facing armed resistance in Eritrea before he was overthrown by the Derg regime. The Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki himself was the leader of a popular armed insurgent (Eritrean People’s Liberation Front) resisting the Emperor and for the self-determination right of Eritrea.
After a two-decade of the no-peace-no-war situation between Eritrea and Ethiopia, peace was made between the countries. The leaders of the two countries signed a peace agreement in 2018.
The relationship between Ethiopia and Eritrea was greatly improved. Following the peace agreement, there were many government official tours and from-and-to travels.
Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki along with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy visited various places in Ethiopia including Addis Ababa, Gondar, Hawassa, and Arba Minch.
In Sep 2018, delegates of the Amhara regional state government, led by Worksemu Mamo, speaker of the regional State Council traveled to Eritrea for a five-day visit. The delegation presented a gift to Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki.
The present given to the President was a picture that depicts the Geez alphabet, the Castles of Gondar, the Obelisk of Axum, and the rock-hewn Church of Lalibela.
When the war between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) broke out in October 2020 Eritrea was by the side of the Ethiopian federal government and allied regional forces helping defeat the TPLF armed forces.
It’s in this context that a Facebook post came out on Nov 30, 2022, claiming that Eritrean president Isaias Afwerki received a picture gift that depicts the image of the last Ethiopian Emperor, Haile Selassie I.
However, HaqCheck cross-checked the claim and confirmed that the image doesn’t prove the claim. The image presented to support the claim was altered.
The original image was first published on Facebook on Sep 14, 2018, and the gift that was presented to the President portrays the Geez alphabets, the Castles of Gondar, the Obelisk of Axum, and the rock-hewn Church of Lalibela.
Therefore, HaqCheck rated the Facebook post False because it used an altered image.