The Ethiopian state media has announced the death of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi at the age of 57, after weeks of speculation about his health.
Mr Meles was admitted to hospital in July. The nature of his condition was a state secret. Speculation about his health and death began when he missed an African Union summit in Addis Ababa earlier last month.
Old War Dog:
Mr Meles took power as the leader of rebels that ousted communist leader Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1991.
Mr Meles was a great friend of America and Europe, who paid him and his party millions of Dollars to implement their imperialistic policies. Upon their advice and encouragment, he agreed to the break-up of Ethiopia, with his once good time friend Afwerkis, when they both created Eritrea. By doing so, he caught Ethiopia’s access to its traditional sea port of 3000 years, jeopardising the future greatness of that once great country.
Meles made several wars in his lifetime, first against Haile Mariam Mengistu, then against his partner in rebellion Afwerkis of Eritriea. He also invaded Somalia two times.
Mr Meles was once hailed as an example of the new African enlightened leader, by his western partners; but shortly after they dropped the designation following the brutal suppresion of democracy and dissent in Ethiopia.
Mr Meles was neither a democrat, nor a great African leader. He did well for his party and his region Tigrinia. But he left a divided country, which he had tried to weaken with a new emphasis on tribal and sectarian affiliations unknown in Ethiopia for centuries.
He was disrespectful to the memory of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I, whose good works he actively sought to erase from collective public memory. His government built a new headquarters for the African Union and commissioned a statue of Kwame Nkrumah as the father of African unity. Yet, the founder and the real father of African unity, Emperor Haile Selassie I was ignored, and his real role in the movement for the independence and unification of African states was down-played and hidden away. All due to his (Meles’) resentment of the legacy of the great Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia who gave Africans and Africans abroad their dignity and freedom.
His government even while paying lip-service to African unity, discriminated, discouraged or completely ignored the Rastafari community of Sheshamane, many of whom had emigrated from the western world to Ethiopia, bringing with them educational, scientific, and economic skills and knowledge that would have helped Ethiopia.
Meles like his brother in arms, Afwerkis of Eritrea was an old war dog, who should never have accepted the responsibility of leading a country like Ethiopia.
All said and done, the death of a man is nothing to rejoice about since we all die. But records must be kept and accounts of everyone’s work will be taken. Meles Zenawi did not live in accordance with the teachings and works of Rastafari. He was not a great African leader.
The impact of his death on Ethiopia’s political and economic future progress will be keenly observed.
Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who is also Ethiopia’s foreign minister, will be the acting head of government.
By Jide Uwechia
August 21, 2012