News / Africa

Ethiopia Prepares State Funeral for PM Meles

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, in doorway, walks past a portrait of late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, a gift from another delegation, as he arrives to pay his respects to Meles' body lying in state at the national palace in Addis Ababa, Ethio
Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, in doorway, walks past a portrait of late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, a gift from another delegation, as he arrives to pay his respects to Meles' body lying in state at the national palace in Addis Ababa, Ethio
Gabe Joselow
ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia's longtime leader Meles Zenawi will be buried Sunday in a state funeral in Addis Ababa, nearly two weeks after the government announced he had died from an undisclosed illness. Gabe Joselow reports from the capital, Ethiopians have traveled from across the country in a show of national mourning for the influential and divisive prime minister.

The men and women standing in line take turns have been expressing their grief at the passing of Meles who led the country for the past two decades.

Addis Ababa is decorated with posters, banners and t-shirts bearing the late prime minister's image. State television stations have been running programs honoring Meles non-stop since his death was announced, while bars and restaurants have been asked not to play any music during this period of mourning.

Ethiopian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Dina Mufti says the outpouring of grief shows how deeply the nation has been affected.

"Everybody in the nation, every national, every Ethiopian, rich, poor, women, men, young, old - everybody's grieving, everybody's mourning," said Mufti.

Dina says in addition to the official ceremony, which begins Sunday at downtown Meskel Square, there will be eight other events around the capital, and at least as many in other parts of the country.

Dignitaries including Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and former South African President Thabo Mbeki are expected to speak at the funeral.

Meles's casket will be taken to the Trinity Orthodox Church, where it will be buried alongside other prominent Ethiopian leaders, including former emperor Haile Selassie.

Independent analyst Medhane Tadesse told said many people did not expect such a large ceremony, but says it fits his political stature.

"I think they want to give him the necessary tribute that really is at par with his role internationally and on the African stage," said Tadesse.  "Probably this is the grandest funeral politically in Africa so I think they want to make that point."

Tadesse says the country's leaders may also have a political incentive.

"Beyond that there could be issues of legitimacy of continuity and cementing his legacy and his name would also help the ruling party and Ethiopia's newly emerging leaders to use it as a launching pad for whatever political projects," Tadesse added.

Meles is to be succeeded by Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn who has yet to be sworn in.

Rights groups have urged the country's next leader to do more to improve the country's human rights record, such as lifting harsh restrictions on freedom of expression put in place during the former prime minister's time in office.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: TT Camara
September 02, 2012 4:21 PM
Meles is far from what he is being depicted by the state media and the ruling party. The portrait of him with traditional dressing is truely unfitting and pathetic at best considering the fact that Meles never cared about Ethiopia's history and tradition. He was a draconian tyrant and genocidal dictator who murdered and tortured dissidents and political opponents and committed horrible crimes against humanity in Gambella and Ogaden where he wiped out an entire village as evidenced by satellite pictures and reported by several human rights groups. He introduced rampant system of corruption and cronyism Ethiopia. When the dust is settled, we will be discussing his legacy which will quite the opposite of what is portrait in the etiquette.

by: Alem
September 01, 2012 6:01 PM
Before you listen to "independent" Medhane Tadesse's analysis I suggest you find another real independent analyst to balance your reporting. I just finished reading a comment by Tsegaye Tadesse [another ruling minority source] that Meles "even better than" Emperors Menilik and Haileselassie. I don't blame you because you would not know one from the other. But this is a concerted effort to repackage Meles. The problem is that few care to check their sources or have the time for it. And this being a developing nation the penalty for misrepresenting is almost non-existent and unenforceable. We are now handed a greatly sanitized biography. We hope time and diligence will prove the real story is quite different and unpleasant.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs