Ethiopia plans state funeral

2012-08-31 09:06
The body of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi arrives at the Addis Ababa International Airport after his death in Brussels aged 57. (Elias Asmare, AP)

The body of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi arrives at the Addis Ababa International Airport after his death in Brussels aged 57. (Elias Asmare, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Addis Ababa - Ethiopia will bury its longtime powerful prime minister Meles Zenawi on Sunday in the first state funeral staged for a leader of the Horn of Africa nation in more than 80 years.

Several African leaders are expected to attend the funeral to pay tribute to Meles, a heavyweight in regional politics since he took power in 1991 after toppling dictator Mengistu Hailemariam.

They will include neighbouring Djibouti's President Ismail Omar Guelleh, Kenya's Mwai Kibaki and South Sudan's Salva Kiir, as well as Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Uganda's Yoweri Museveni.

China, the European Union and the United States are also expected to send senior officials.

The funeral will begin in Addis Ababa's vast Meskel Square, before heading to the National Palace, where Meles' flag-draped coffin has been on display since it was flown home after his death in a Brussels hospital on 20 August.

While Ethiopia has hosted a series of state funerals in recent decades - including that of popular musician Tilahun Gessesse in 2009 - the last leader to be so honoured was Empress Zawditu in 1930.

Coup leaders

The country's last emperor, Haile Selassie, was murdered in 1975 by coup leaders, who later buried him under a toilet in the National Palace.

The body of the deposed emperor - regarded as god by Rastafarians - was later exhumed and a funeral held for him in 2000, although officials did not declare it a state funeral.

His body is buried inside Holy Trinity Church in Addis Ababa, where Meles too will be laid to rest, located behind the National Palace.

"That's the national place where our great leaders (are buried)," said foreign ministry spokesperson Dina Mufti.

Meles, a former Marxist rebel, was not publicly religious and ran a secular state, though he was raised an Orthodox Christian, the country's majority religion.

Mufti noted that while Ethiopia had a "secular government", Meles "came from a Christian family, so that is the burial place for him."

Take power

The patriarch of Ethiopia's Orthodox Church, Abune Paulos, who died this month, was buried at Trinity Church last week, four days after Meles' death.

After the funeral Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn - a relatively unknown politician who hails from the south, unlike many of the country's political elite from the north - will formally take over power, according to officials.

Hailemariam will be sworn in after Meles' funeral, although no date has been fixed. He is expected to remain prime minister until the next national election in 2015.

Government spokesperson Bereket Simon said parliament chose to delay the official swearing in ceremony of Hailemariam in order to give the nation time to grieve Meles' death.

"First things first, we have to deal with the funeral," he said.

Thousands of mourners, including diplomats, media, local celebrities and government officials, have visited Meles' coffin in the last week and signed a book of condolences.

Read more on:    ethiopia  |  east africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Tuesday Dunoon - 17:44 PM
    Road name: N7 Northbound
    EARLIER ACCIDENT before the Potsdam Road exit has been cleared
  • Tuesday Strandfontein - 17:43 PM
    Road name: Strandfontein Road Southbound
    SLOW TRAFFIC between Pelikan Park and Spine Road
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Pre-order the Xbox One

Get this all-in-one entertainment system with live TV, movies, social networking and gaming. Pre-order now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 9360

The BlackBerry Curve 9360 smartphone comes preloaded with Blackberry OS7...

From R1433.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It may be hard to avoid an argument or heated conversation today. Someone may be stirring things up and testing your patience. ...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.