News24

Ethiopian prime minister dies

2012-08-21 07:23

Addis Ababa - Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, a regional strongman in power for over two decades, has died in hospital abroad, the government said on Tuesday.

"Prime Minister Meles Zenawi passed away yesterday evening at around midnight," Bereket Simon said, adding that the 57-year-old "was abroad" when he died, without giving further details.

Meles had not been seen in public for two months, and had been reported to have been sick in a hospital in Brussels, although Bereket gave no details of the illness.

"He had been recuperating well, but suddenly something happened and he had to be rushed to the ICU (intensive care unit) and they couldn't keep him alive."

According to Ethiopia's constitution, Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn is to "act on behalf of the Prime Minister in his absence".

Diplomats and analysts in Addis Ababa say it has not been clear how the government has been run since Meles was reported to have fallen sick in June.

The position of president is largely honorific and Meles, a former rebel fighter who came to power in 1991 after toppling the bloody dictatorship of Mengistu Haile Mariam, held the real political power.

On paper Meles's government has fostered a policy of ethnic federalism, devolving significant powers to regional, ethnically-based authorities but central control remains firmly in the hands of the ruling party.

Comments
  • phathuchicos - 2012-08-21 08:26

    We gonna miss him... He's one of the finest dedicated African leaders. His country is poor but he was using its resources to the maximum to benefit Ethiopians. May his soul rest in peace. Much love...

  • john.wedege - 2012-08-21 08:47

    our hero

  • faan.gerber - 2012-08-21 08:55

    I don't think the people in the Ogaden will agree with you.

  • lorina.vaneeden - 2012-08-21 08:57

    indeed ... you regularly travel to Ethiopia and know exactly what you are talking about

  • 2zbunu - 2012-08-21 08:59

    RIP the is a say that says "old trees dry up give way to young trees" we will miss him dearly. May his soul rest in peace. PM of Ethiopia.

  • ScottSQ - 2012-08-21 08:59

    Mass murderer. Genocidaire. Corrupt dictator who banned social media, websites, independent journalism... RIP the man, but rejoice, the country.

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