Church charged over second Ras Abebe Aregay house takedown


The Addis Ababa Cultural Bureau was apparently shocked by the demolition of the Ras Abebe Aregay house near Aware and has sent documents to the Addis Ababa Police Commission to file charges against the Ethiopian Full Gospel Believers Church for demolishing the home three weeks ago.
The Bureau told Capital that the church negligently demolished the house despite receiving a previous letter notifying them that the property was a historical landmark.
However, a representative from the church said they did not realize the house was a registered historical site. If the church is found guilty, whoever is responsible for making the decision to demolish the house could face 15 years in jail.
The 2,000 sqm brick home was demolished on February 9 with the help of excavator. It took 30 minutes. The protestant church planned to build a G+14 story building to be used for a head office.
The house was used as a residence for the wife of Ras Abebe, Konjit and later sold to a businessman and finally to the church for 1.2 million birr 20 years ago.
An elderly man who resides near the demolished house told Capital that if the Bureau had stopped Muller from demolishing the first home, the second house would not have been destroyed.
Previously Muller Commercial Real Estate demolished another historical home previously belonging to Ras Abebe Aregay in the same area.
Muller wanted to build a housing development. The demolished house was listed among the 440 historical houses in the city’s master plan. It sits on 1,800sqm and was constructed 70 years ago, and was used as a residence for Ras Abebe Aregay and his families.
Muller is currently facing the same charge.
Now only one of the Ras Abebe Aregay homes are left. There are two additional historical Ras Abebe Aregay homes in Arada Sub City of Addis Ababa.
Ras Abebe Aregay had a storied history. He was a leader in the resistance against Italy’s fascist occupation and the grandchild of a general loyal to Menelik II. He also commanded metropolitan police force in Addis Ababa during the 1930’s. He experienced some turbulent years during the attempted occupation but worked to restore Emperor Haile Selassie to the throne where he was given the title of Ras for the second time. He was among the guerilla fighters that escorted the Emperor back into Addis Ababa on Liberation Day, May 5, 1941. He served as Governor General of Shewa and Tigrai, Minister of Defense and Minister of the Interior, Crown Councilor and Senator at various times. He was killed during the Imperial Guard coup attempt of 1960 and was buried at Debre Libanos Monastery.