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

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    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.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora