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Haile Selassie Gugsa, The Traitor Who Denounced Ethiopia By Siding With The Italians in 1935

Haile Selassie Gugsa was the son of Leul Ras Gugsa Araya Selassie. Gugsa Araya Selassie was the Shum of eastern Tigray Province as well as the great grandson of Emperor Yohannes IV.

In April 1932, Gugsa Araya Selassie died and Haile Selassie Gugsa replaced him as Shum of eastern Tigray with the title of Dejazmatch.

On 15 June 1932, Dejazmatch Haile Selassie Gugsa married Leult Zenebework Haile Selassie, Haile Selassie’s second daughter. He was about 25 years old and she was not quite 14 years old. Leult Zenebework died in 1934 amid allegations of poor treatment at the hands of her husband. Relations between Emperor Haile Selassie and Dejazmatch Haile Selassie Gugsa became quite cold after this. The strain between them was especially apparent when the Emperor insisted on bringing his daughter’s body back to Addis Ababa for burial rather than allowing her husband to bury her in the capital of eastern Tigray, Mek’ele. This was a clear sign of Emperor Haile Selassie’s unhappiness with his son-in-law. Dejazmach Haile Selassie on his part was very bitter that he was not elevated to the titles of Leul and Ras which had been held by his father before him, and were held by his rival Seyum Mengesha of western Tigray.

At the same time as the marriage of Haile Selassie Gugsa to Zenebework Haile Selassie, Crown Prince Asfaw Wossenmarried Leult Wolete Israel Seyum, the daughter of Ras Seyum Mangasha of western Tigray Province. He was 16 years old and she was about 26 years old. The two marriages were meant to cement ties between the reigning Shoa branch of the Imperial Ethiopian dynasty with both rival sides of the Tigrean branch of the dynasty. The death of Princess Zenebework and the chill in relations between Haile Selassie Gugsa and Emperor Haile Selassie signalled the failure of this policy at least with the Eastern Tigrean branch of the dynasty.

Haile Selassie Gugsa was an army commander and member of the Royal family who betrayed Ethiopia in 1935 by brazenly and unashamedly siding with the Italians, as the Italians invaded Ethiopia.


Written by How Africa

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