Debretsion Gebremichael (Tigrinya: ደብረፅዮን ገብሬሚካኤል?) is the current Minister of Communication and Information Technology and one of the three deputy prime ministers of Ethiopia.
Debretsion was born and raised in Adwa, Tigray Province, Ethiopia. He was described by some as being one of the best students in the province and was purportedly received a perfect score on his entrance examinations. He was admitted into Addis Ababa University, however he forwent his studies to join the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) and fight the communist Derg.
He was sent to Italy by the TPLF and received training in communications technology. He led the team that launched the Dimtsi Woyane Tigray (The Voice of Tigray) radio station in 1980. Debretsion, along with "General Santim", were famous hackers during the Ethiopian Civil War. They routinely hijacked, jammed and sabotaged the Derg's radio, TV and military communication systems.
He was part of TPLF's security department, often called "Bado sidist" 06. The department was notorious for torturing and killing TPLF fighters who didn't subscribe to TPLF's ideology as well as civilians who refuse to support the organization. It's alleged Debretsion and Bisrat Amare, another TPLF fighter, have killed countless number of fighters.
After the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front's 1991 victory, he joined Addis Ababa university while working full-time as the second man to Kinfe Gebremedhin. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from. Addis Ababa University. While it has been claimed he pursued doctoral studies at (or even received a degree from) Harvard University, he is on record as having received a PhD from a distance program at Capella University in 2011. His dissertation was on "Exploring the Perception of Users of Community ICT Centers on the Effectiveness of ICT on Poverty in Ethiopia".
Information and Communication Development Agency
In 2005, Debretsion was appointed Director of the Ethiopian Information and Communication Development Agency (EICDA).
EICTDA was established in 1995, its major objective was to manage technologies that can be used to monitor internet and telecommunication activities across the country, including those of opposition party members and journalists who often write articles critical of the government. As Director, Debretsion worked to improve the public service activity by launching the Public Service Capacity Building Program (PSCAP). In this program, ICT is treated as an important enabling tool to improve the delivery of public services and considered as one component of the program with its own action plan and earmarked budget.
Debretsion is an avid tennis player. He often works on Saturdays, due to the pressures of the job, saying, "My life is odd."