Abiye Abebe

Lieutenant-General Lij Abiye Abebe, KBE,[3][better source needed] (Amharic: አብይ አበበ; 1917 – 23 November 1974) was an Ethiopian politician and son-in-law of Emperor Haile Selassie.

Abiye Abebe
Abiye Abebe (cropped).jpg
Minister of Defence
In office
28 February 1974 – 22 July 1974
Prime MinisterEndelkachew Makonnen
Preceded byMerid Mengesha
Succeeded byAman Andom
President of the Senate
In office
15 July 1964 – 28 February 1974
MonarchHaile Selassie I
Preceded byLe'ul Ras Asrate Kassa
Succeeded by?
Governor-General of Eritrea[1]
Chief Administrator (1960-1962)
Chief Executive (1959-1960)
In office
20 May 1959 – 12 February 1964
MonarchHaile Selassie I
Preceded byBitwoded Asfaha Woldemikael as Chief Executive
Succeeded byLe'ul Ras Asrate Kassa
Personal details
Born1917[2][better source needed]
Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Empire
DiedNovember 23, 1974(1974-11-23) (aged 56–57)
Akaki Central Prison, Addis Ababa, Socialist Ethiopia
Spouse(s)Princess Tsehai Haile-Selassie
Woizero Amarech Nasibu
FatherLiqa Mequas Abebe Atnaf Seggad


Son of Liqa Mequas Abebe Atnaf Seggad, Abye was born 1917 in Addis Ababa as a Lij.[4] He attended the Holeta Military Academy.[5] In the 1940s and 1950s he was Minister of Defence, and later served as Minister of Justice and Minister of the Interior.[6] He chaired the High National Security Commission during the Ethiopian Revolution until his arrest by the Derg 16 July 1974.[7] Lt. General Abiye was serving as Chief of the General Staff when he was arrested.

According to John Spencer, when Prime Minister Aklilu Habte-Wold sought to resign his post in 1973, he suggested to the Emperor that he be replaced by General Abiye. Other sources indicate that Aklilu Habte-Wold's rival Prince Asrate Kassa was the person who put General Abiye forward as a fellow aristocrat. However Abiye consented to becoming Prime Minister only if his nomination, and those of his cabinet, were approved by the Ethiopian parliament, a condition Emperor Haile Selassie found unacceptable. As a result, Haile Selassie decided to appoint Endelkachew Makonnen Prime Minister instead.[8] Abiye was one of 60 former government officials executed the night of 22–23 November at Akaki Central Prison by the Derg.[9]

General Abiye was married three times. At Addis Ababa, on 26 April 1942, he married Princess Tsehai of Ethiopia who died in childbirth a year later. Subsequent to this marriage, Lt. General Abiye Abebe was accorded the dignities and protocol rank of the Emperor's son-in-law, even after he remarried. In 1946, married Woizero Amarech Nasibu, and then later to Woizero Tsige, his widow.


  • Brigadier-General (26/04/1942).
  • Governor General of Wollega (1942-1943).
  • Minister for War 1949-1955 (Acting 1943-1947).
  • Minister of Justice (1958-1961).
  • Minister of Interior (1961-1974).
  • Ambassador to France (1955-1958).
  • Viceroy of Eritrea (1959-1961).
  • President of the Senate (1964-1974).
  • Minister for Defence and Chief of Staff (28/02/1974-22/07/1974).



  •   Grand Cross of the Order of Menelik II
  •   Military Medal of Merit of the Order of St George
  •   Haile Selassie I Gold Medal
  •   Patriot Medal & three torches (1944)
  •   Refugee Medal (1944)
  •   Jubilee Medal (1955)
  •   Jubilee Medal (1966)



  1. ^ In 1959 the legislatively-elected post of Chief Executive was replaced by the imperially-appointed office of Chief Administrator. On 15 November 1962 Eritrea became an ordinary province of Ethiopia, and the office was in turn replaced with that of Governor-General.
  2. ^ Royal Ark
  3. ^ Royal Ark
  4. ^ Royal Ark
  5. ^ Shinn, David H. (2004). Historical Dictionary of Ethiopia (2 ed.). Scarecrow Press. pp. 3–. ISBN 9780810865662.
  6. ^ Bahru Zewde, A History of Modern Ethiopia, second edition (London: James Currey, 2003), p. 205
  7. ^ Andargachew Tiruneh, The Ethiopian revolution, 1974-1987 (Cambridge: University Press, 1993), p. 68
  8. ^ Spencer, Ethiopia at Bay: A personal account of the Haile Selassie years (Algonac: Reference Publications, 1984), p. 337
  9. ^ Marina and David Ottaway, Ethiopia: Empire in Revolution (New York: Africana, 1978), p. 61