News / Africa

Ethiopia Looks to a Future Without Meles Zenawi

Gabe Joselow
Ethiopia is starting to look to the future, following the death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who was buried after a state funeral on Sunday.
Life is returning to normal in Ethiopia's capital after more than two weeks of mourning for longtime ruler, Meles Zenawi.
Abi Hailemichael works in a barbershop in the Bole neighborhood of Addis Ababa.  Like many Ethiopians, he says Meles' work for the country must not be forgotten. “While we reflect on the diligent and tireless work he did for the nation, we have a responsibility to carry out his good plans," he said. 
Meles sparked rapid economic development during more than 20 years in power. 
Many wonder what will become of the country now that he's gone. 
Meles' deputy Hailemariam Desalegn is due to replace the prime minister, but has yet to take the oath of office.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Dina Mufti says Hailemariam is officially in control. “The council has already decided that the deputy prime minister will take charge immediately because this is provided in the constitution.  In the absence of the prime minister, he is the acting prime minister.  He is now in charge of all national affairs," he said. 
The question is whether Hailemariam can garner the kind of broad support that made Mr. Meles an icon. 
Hailemariam is not Tigray, another challenge he faces.  That ethnic group controls most of the country's institutions, including the military.
Rumors in the capital say the ruling party is considering sidelining him.  Dina Mufti says this is not true. “So-called internal squabbles or rivalries within the party, no.  This is a non-starter, there is not.  This is a very solid party," he said. 
Meles' had little tolerance for the opposition.  His government frequently jailed journalists and activists who voiced dissent.
Medhane Tadesse, an independent anayst, said Ethiopia's leaders are unlikely to change that anytime soon. “In the long-term, gradually, yes. In the short-term, no, because the government might behave more like the same, if not very repressive, because of the lack of confidence.  They do not know the waters they are entering now," he said. 
Meles Zenawi had a definite vision for Ethiopia's future.  Always seeing the big picture, he was known to plan the country's development years in advance.  So even after his death, the policies he put in motion are expected to continue to transform the country, for better or for worse.

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Comment Sorting
by: Fair Judge from: USA
September 05, 2012 3:02 PM
VOA often report misleading information, it is used to rip a country apart not to build it. Please report the truth we modern Ethiopians double check everything we know when you lie and we know when you tell us the truth, now our country need peace and unity not divisive propaganda. No leader is perefect, Meles did great work, those who want to see thier country improve economically will appreciate him for time to come. He gave us back our old forgotten pride, he will go in history among the great leaders of Ethiopia.
In order for a country to be a fully democratic system a country needs time, even in a country like America democracy took few hundred years to build. If you go and study the history of the world you will soon learn after all democracy is not perfect. If in Ethiopia we focus mostly in economical development, democracy will get better with time. If you believe you can build a perfectly democratic system in a short period of time in poorest country of the world like Ethiopia, you are mistaken and you are being very naive. Our country will need to be in economically sound stage in order to pursue a perfect and fair democracy; democracy and economics go hand in hand. If a country have a great democracy and if it is so poor to feed its people and give a better future for its future generation then that democracy will mean nothing at the end of the day and it will not work, therefore we need to focus in building a good economical structure, we need to build a strong and stable country first, that sometimes will require patient and sacrifices. For the good of the country and for the good of the future generation we need to unite and care for one another, we need to put country first before ideology. We need to put country first before politics or ethnic background. Often great countries are built through hard work and sacrifices, not through cheap talk. That being said I do not know about you but for me visiting Ethiopia recently after many decades gave me a chance to see various economical developments in country. Developing our country should be our primary goal, because we need to be able to feed our people first, in the 1980s our leaders use to beg the world to feed our people, we all remember the millions of people who died from hunger and destitute, well my fellow Ethiopians governing the poorest country in the world will not be an easy task no matter who the leader is and will be. The problem with our people we talk too much and we do very little to improve the lives of ordinary Ethiopians, As John F. Kennedy said it “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” Let us ask ourselves what have I done for my country? Furthermore I hope we all know by now in recent times Ethiopia have more than 80 million population and as you all know we do not all think the same and we might disagree at times, so every time we find an opposing view we should try to use common sense and fair judgment. Meles was a better leader than those past Ethiopian leaders, his work speaks for itself, the fact of life it will be impossible to please everybody, Thanks God the good thing is there are millions of Ethiopians who gives him credit for his hard work and nation building, most of those who critisize meles unfairly are hungry for power, I am sure given an opportunity they will do shitty job. Meles will be remembered as a great visionary and hero for the millions of Ethiopians who died in the 1980s from hunger and famine and for millions more who got tortured, prosecuted and killed by the tyron, bucher dectator mengestu. God bless Meles, Let his soul rest in peace.

by: Yohan from: Wash DC
September 05, 2012 10:13 AM
This is a response for Sam;
Sam, Meles had prosecuted the 'Prisoners' in his privately owned courthouse, Judged by his loyal servants. When the servants don’t obey orders, we think of Birtukan Mideksa. Got it? Come on man, it’s no brainer. Don't try to fool yourself. Second, don't fool yourself again...most institutions are owned by non Tgrians but are Ruled and Run by Tigrians, does that make sense, don't think so... coz you are one of the big beneficiaries of the regime, so can’t see beyond your nose. One thing is true, though. Your cup is full.

by: Sam
September 05, 2012 2:30 AM
Gabe Joselow:

Please stop repeating what some opposition extremists --- including some racist extremists are saying. Your job is to report the facts, not fabricated propaganda by some extremists; to mention a couple of your obvious errors, one, Meles was never intolerant of opposition; he never jailed innocent people as you claimed. He prosecuted in the courts and jailed criminal elements in the opposition just like the West does.......have you heard countries like England jailing "journalists" or violent opposition elements who cause riots just like few months ago in England?? Two, your claim that most of Ethiopia's institutions are run by Tigrays is a complete falsehood which you probably picked up from some opposition extremists --- probably racist extremists! Stop spreading propaganda of racist extremists......that is not journalism; that is being a tool of racists!! That's not only unprofessional but is also immoral!!

by: dawit from: US
September 04, 2012 11:45 PM
The fact that most diasporas lived out of the country for over two decades and not seeing the mental as well as physical changes the country experienced since they left their homeland, is affecting their thinking and would never give credit no matter what they hear about the country. Most of these people think they have a better brain than their country men/women just because they are out side the country.
The fact is Ethiopia is growing at unbelievable pace and the architect was his excellency Meles Zenawi

by: Sam
September 04, 2012 11:44 PM
Gabe Joselow,

Please improve your journalism. Most of the institutions in Ethiopia are not run by Tigrains as you claimed. If you look at most of the head of government Ministers are not Tigrians; most of the Generals in the Military are non-Tigrains. Just repeating what some corrupt opposition groups are saying is not Journalism; it just spreading false propaganda for personal political gains. I urge you to improve your journalism just I always urge all foreign correspondents who cover developing countries because Western journalism on developing countries is truly poor -- it's inaccurate most of the time!!

by: Sam
September 04, 2012 11:25 PM
musawi melake

Where the hell do you get your info?? From cyber gossip?? Meles has been dealing with serious illness for about 2 years. That's what it got him in the end!!
Please stop spreading misinformation; that's immoral!

by: justin
September 04, 2012 11:21 PM
First of all most of the institutions are not run by Tigrains as this so called journalist's run by non-tigrains. Second, prosecuting criminals whether they are opposition or "journalists" is not repression; it's law and order just like when the west prosecutes criminal politicians or "journalists" Third growing the economy by 10% or more and lifting millions out of poverty is transformation for good; it can't be bad in any way as this so called author insinuates.

by: musawi melake from: 0
September 04, 2012 4:33 PM
This man has been poisoned and killed by his own men, presumably with US advice, and if the country implodes when the tribes revolt, the whole region would be in danger. If that happens the US policy in the region fails miserably.

by: uman2000 from: sweden
September 04, 2012 2:02 PM
Meles's legacy to eradicate poverty from the country will always be remembered; not only that but his policy and strategies will be functional with better performance. Meles was not a Messiahs that he can address all Ethiopian problems like movement of people from Ethiopia looking for better life - this by itself has its was deep reasons, but at least we have seen the path and it's up to the next leaders and the citizen to walk and pave more roads

by: Behailu from: Aga
September 04, 2012 11:45 AM
If Meles has brought growth to the country, why are thousands of Ethiopians die while immigrating to the unstable Yemen and Somalia as well as to South Africa. Of course, Ethiopia has seen more roads financed by foreign aid and loan. More buildings that belonged to his Ethnic group and people loyal to him, which soared the peoples lives because of continued inflation. Pls. visit reports of UNHCR over the past years.

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