News / Africa

Ethiopia Rejects Rumors, Says PM's Health Improving

Meles Zenawi speaks to reporters in Cairo, Sept. 17, 2011.
Meles Zenawi speaks to reporters in Cairo, Sept. 17, 2011.
VOA News
A top Ethiopian official says the health of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is "much improved” in recent days, following treatment for an unspecified illness.

Meles has not been seen in public for more than a month, and opposition websites this week reported the Ethiopian leader is dead.

In an interview with Ethiopian television late Wednesday, Information Minister Bereket Simon dismissed those rumors as false and said Meles' health is in "good condition." 

He did not reveal the prime minister’s illness, or where he is being treated, but said Meles has improved since the last time officials briefed reporters, about 12 days ago.

Media reports last month said Meles was critically ill at Saint Luc Hospital in Brussels, Belgium.

On Monday, Amsterdam-based Ethiopian Satellite Television said the the prime minister was dead, saying it based the report on information from a Brussels-based think tank, the International Crisis Group. 

However, the International Crisis Group released a statement saying it has "no direct knowledge" of Meles condition and is not in a position to speculate about it.

Meles Zenawi is 57 years old and has ruled Ethiopia since taking power in a 1991 coup.

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Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: Mitiku from: DC
August 02, 2012 12:02 PM
VOA reported on July 20 quoting Bereket Simon that dictator Meles was on "leave of absence" according to link below. But now he's "recovering"? Recovering from what, a "holiday", chemotherapy? Why is VOA taking Berket Simon's total B.S. at face value? I'm sure if it was Al-Bashir, VOA would hire investigative journalists and inundate us with with more than we need to know.
"BEREKET SIMON: "The only thing that I can say is, although he's in charge, he has to take some rest -- a week, ten days, five days, whatever. A leave of absence does not mean there’s nobody in charge.""
In Response

by: Sera from: Ethiopia
August 03, 2012 7:55 AM
Any Nation has not relay on the fate one person after all s/he is a person which means death is inevitable. So guys if Melese is dies it will be good news for our people but if he is not, it is lesson for our arrogant Ethiopian Leader is to start to think for future 80miliion Ethiopian people future. Any way Death is whispering on the ear of tyrant.
In Response

by: Oromo from: AA
August 03, 2012 5:47 AM
I think ESAT radio is not distributing balanced and true informatiion about Ethioia. It is Image shader. Example: They have dispached false information which diclare death of PM. Meles. Can you believe any media that told you false again? You may but I can't. As politically neutral person, what I want to say about their plan is they want to re-establish the most deadly Lord-servant system which has a probability of leading Ethiopian Nationalities to Hutu and Tussi.Please don't deal with Ethio by handling this colonial system. You and your fathers are responsible one for economic ,social,religious and political crisis that have encountered Ethiopia yesterday, today and probably tomorrow.
In Response

by: Shergaz from: DC
August 02, 2012 4:30 PM
I don’t think VOA is for satisfying for silly rumors, if I were you, I will get my ticket and fly, don’t expect VOA to join your day dream. Ethiopian Government has been informing his condition for credential sources such as VOA. Full health for PM as well as anyone sick around the globe.
In Response

by: Addisu A from: AA
August 02, 2012 3:47 PM
Since Meles is our PM we have to pray for him as christians , for what ever he did we have to forgive that is why Jesus died on the crosss to make forgiveness for those who nailed him.
In Response

by: bika from: Djibouti
August 02, 2012 3:28 PM
.....what is B .S is your your lust for bad news .....if VOA tells you he is RECOVERING ; it means he is doing more than RECOVERING ...fullstop
In Response

by: VOA I expected more
August 02, 2012 2:41 PM
You're very right Mitiku. Compare how VOA treated the fake news of Eritrean president's death with the real news of Meles Zenawi being in 'critical' condition and near death (which is backed by western and credible sources, I might add) . VOA was pumping out daily articles of Eritrea's president 'possibly dying' and other political masturbation scenarios of what might happen, even though there were no evidence to support their claims other than him not appearing on TV for 2 and half weeks, which he's done numerous of times, including last month. Now compare it to the kid glove treatment and down playing they've given to a real news of Meles Zenawi being in critical condition. The only time VOA speaks about it is when they quote government officials to assist the regime with disinformation or interview former government officials who still have ties to the regime to make it look like it's balanced.

Just look at this article, it says the "However, the International Crisis Group released a statement saying it has "no direct knowledge" of Meles condition and is not in a position to speculate about it." and didn't add what award-winning and accredited journalist Abebe Gellaw response to it was to make it look like ESAT made it up.

Abebe Gellaw's response to that claim by the ICG was this: "For the record, ESAT never quoted ICG. It quoted anonymous but credible sources working at ICG in Brussels. We are aware of ICG’s Twit."

He went on to add, "ESAT never relied on a speculation or comment from ICG. We only had privilege to access confidential information held by ICG that conclusively claimed Zenawi was dead."

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