ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia is grieving the loss of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. The passing of Ethiopia’s leader saddens the country's citizens.Everybody in Ethiopia was talking about Tuesday.
Many people in the capital, Addis Ababa, had kind words to say about Meles, who led the country for more than two decades.
A woman in her 20s, who declined to give her name, said his death is a sad event for Ethiopia.
“We are in a time of great grief and the loss of Meles Zenawi is very sad for our country because he was a great leader and my thought and prayers are with his family," she said. "And may God give them relief in this sad time.“
Analysis by Scott Stearns
A middle-aged man, who also declined to give his name, said he hoped Ethiopia's new leaders will continue with Meles' policies.
“In the future, I have faith and hope that we will continue on the path that he has set out for us," he said. "Meles passed away too soon, without finishing all the work he was working on. And I really believe that the future leaders of this country will continue on this path towards development for Ethiopia.”
A woman named Biseat said Meles did much to improve the country's economy, while giving an Ethiopia a prominent role in East African affairs.
“I think that the passing of our prime minister, his Excellency Meles Zenawi is going to have long lasting implications for peace and security in the region," said Biseat. "He also was a torchbearer for publicizing Ethiopian development and economic stability. Under his rule we have had enormous amounts of progress and also enormous amounts of foreign direct investments.“
But there are also some Ethiopians that believe that the death of Prime Minister Meles may be an opportunity for more democracy in the country.
By the time of his death, Meles's party and its allies controlled all but one seat in the Ethiopian parliament.
A man identified himself as Endalk, a university teacher said, “We expect people to be well aware of this situation and take the opportunity to liberate themselves from worshipping dictators and other. So I honestly this is a truly good opportunity for Ethiopians to start true democratic transition.”
The body of Meles is expected to arrive in Ethiopia on Tuesday night. No details have been announced on the funeral.
Photo Gallery: Meles Zenawi
The casket containing the body of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi arrives at the Addis Ababa International Airport, Ethiopia, August 22, 2012.
The body of Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is escorted upon arrival in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa early August 22, 2012.
Ethiopian women in black gather to mourn as the body of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi arrived in Addis Ababa, August 22, 2012.
Ethiopians carry posters in Amharic reading "Meles We Love You" as they gather to mourn as the body of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi arrived in Addis Ababa, August 22, 2012.
Ethiopian national flags fly at half mast in Addis Ababa, August 21, 2012.
Officials move a portrait of Meles shortly after the announcement of his death in Addis Ababa, August 21, 2012.
Ethiopian government spokesman Bereket Simon (R) makes the official announcement of Meles' death in Addis Ababa, August 21, 2012.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Meles at the London Conference on Somalia, February 23, 2012.
The late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi arrives with his wife Azeb Mesfi for the 18th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, January 29, 2012.
Meles speaks to reporters after meeting with Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf in Cairo, Egypt, September 17, 2011.
Meles and other world leaders pose during a group photo at the G20 summit in Toronto, Canada, June 27, 2010.
Meles lifts his cap to salute supporters of the EPRDF party at the Meskel Square in Addis Ababa, May 25, 2010.
A poster featuring the prime minister displayed in downtown Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 2010.
U.S. President George W. Bush chats with Meles during a meeting with Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi for talks on combatting international terrorism, the White House, Washington, December 5, 2002.
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder welcomes Meles to Berlin, Germany, February 5, 2002.
Meles and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Moscow, Russia, December 3, 2001.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan with Meles before their meeting in the office of the prime minister in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, April 30, 1998.
Salim Ahmed Salim, Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity, meets with Meles in Addis Ababa, June 28, 1995.
Meles accompanies Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat as he arrives at Addis Ababa's African Hall to attend a meeting, June 26, 1995.