News / Africa

Ethiopian PM Meles on 'Sick Leave'

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (file photo)Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (file photo)
x
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (file photo)
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (file photo)
VOA News
Ethiopia says Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is taking "sick leave" but will remain in power while he deals with an unspecified illness.

Government spokesman Bereket Simon briefed reporters Thursday in Addis Ababa, following media reports that the Ethiopian leader was critically ill at Saint Luc Hospital in Brussels, Belgium.

Bereket specifically denied reports on Ethiopian dissident websites that Meles has brain cancer. The spokesman did not identify the prime minister's illness or say where he is being treated, but said he is in "good and stable condition" and remains in charge of the government.

A government statement said Mr. Meles' sick leave was prescribed by his doctor, and noted he will resume work when he recuperates.  


Meles Zenawi

  • Born May 8, 1955 in Adwa, northern Ethiopia
  • Suspended studies in 1974 to join Tigrai Peoples Liberation Front, TPLF
  • Chairman of TPLF and Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front since 1989
  • Led EPRDF rebels to seize power in 1991 and became president
  • Prime minister since being elected in 1995
  • Serves as African Union spokesperson on climate change
  • Praised for helping lift Ethiopia out of poverty after civil war
  • Criticized for silencing all forms of dissent
  • Known as ally with U.S. against terrorism
Former U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia David Shinn told VOA the press conference signals a "significant health issue."

"You wouldn’t make a statement like that - that is so open-ended - unless the problem is significant" Shinn said. He noted he has no information about the prime minister's health.

He added that Meles is the kind of leader who plans ahead. And if he is ill, he says the 57-year-old prime minister likely has a plan in place.

"I'd be willing to bet very good money that he has been planning some way to deal with this issue in order to ensure some kind of reasonable succession of government in Ethiopia," said Shinn.

Meles has led Ethiopia for more than 20 years, since taking power in a 1991 coup. He has not been seen in public for more than two weeks, and did not attend an African Union summit last Saturday and Sunday in the Ethiopian capital.

In an interview with VOA, Sibhat Nega of Ethiopia's ruling party said Meles is in better shape than reported.

"I can tell you for sure that there is no undesirable eventuality regarding his health," he said. "I am 100 percent sure that he's recovering health-wise, and he will be back to his official duty in a number of days."


Nega's statements are consistent with those of government officials, who said Wednesday the prime minister is sick, but not gravely ill.

Nega, who is a friend of the prime minister's, said the government has been functioning normally during Meles' absence, insisting that the "system does not depend on one person."

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: Habte Aba dilibi from: Bihar Dar
August 05, 2012 3:44 AM
firste of all I wish to him well and I hope he will back with full of health to his office very soon. I wish you all the best ! Thankyou .

by: a letter from: ukusfundedtplftorturecell
July 22, 2012 2:35 PM
Please Sir just die. Ibakwon yimootoo. the title of a newly released popular Ethiopian Poem.

by: b.w from: ethiopia
July 20, 2012 5:11 AM
Good Bless you

by: Solomon from: Tigray
July 20, 2012 3:56 AM
'Meles has led Ethiopia for more than 20 years, since taking power in a 1991 coup' your report says. but i am not sure whether coup is the appropriate word for overthrowing a military dictatorship through publicly supported prolonged armed struggle.

by: gjufijygB
July 20, 2012 2:43 AM
you are BUSTED and Meles will be fine tomorrow you idiots you don't know anything about Ethiopia. you can't talk about Meles, your jealous of his brain",


by: Muche from: Addis Ababa
July 20, 2012 2:33 AM
First of all I wish to him well and I hope he will be back with full of health to his office very soon.Because our country ethiopia never got his kind of visionary leader for the past hundred years.He achieve alot and did his best for the past 20 years.Now our country regestered adouble digit economy for the past eight years so this result is his leadership and his plan so all of you you have to accept this .I wish you all the best.Thankyou .
In Response

by: LiliEthio from: Belguim
July 23, 2012 5:10 PM
God Bless You ALL and God Bless Ethiopia, our bright leader Melese Zenawe and everyone who worked hard to bring this Country to this level. Yesterday, Ethiopia was mentioned as example of Famine, but, today we are talking about the growing Economy of our Ethiopia? (that doesn't mean we have no problem)? OK but, by far this Leader and all his supporter (Ethiopia's or else) doing Great Job. May God be with you Melse and Fill Better Soon. We did not get a chance to say, THANK YOU FOR YOU GOOD WORK TO OUR COUNTRY ETHIOPIA. We as African are PROUD of You. GOD BLESS YOU ALL
God Bless You ALL and God Bless Ethiopia, our bright leader Melese Zenawe and everyone who worked hard to bring this Country to this level. Yesterday, Ethiopia was mentioned as example of Famine, but, today we are talking about the growing Economy of our Ethiopia? (that doesn't mean we have no problem)? OK but, by far this Leader and all his supporter (Ethiopia's or else) doing Great Job. May God be with you Melse and Fill Better Soon. We did not get a chance to say, THANK YOU FOR YOU GOOD WORK TO OUR COUNTRY ETHIOPIA. We as African are PROUD of You. GOD BLESS YOU ALL











by: abenet
July 20, 2012 12:28 AM
he deserve the very bad pain before he die.
In Response

by: LiliEthio from: Belguim
August 06, 2012 3:46 AM
Thanks God, Hope Melse is doing fine. Don't worry Our Bright PM Melse... JESUS IS LORD and HE will be by your side and give you a chance to Live Long and WORSHIP the Truth GOD, OUR LORD JESUS CHIRST. GOD BLESS YOU, you DID a WONDERFUL JOB/WORK to Ethiopia, Ethiopian including, Africa. No wonder if they call you "The Brain of Africa". Get well soon. Thank for your HARD WORK and WE LOVE YOU VERY MUCH. GOD BLESS YOU ALL.
Let's LEARN TO LOVE EACH OTHER GOD IS LOVE.
In Response

by: dan from: san diego
August 05, 2012 9:53 PM
I am not sure if Ethiopia is ready for leader other than meles, he is not good leader but, that is what we need right now. we don't need another dectator come and play soccer on that poor country. sorry to say that. but we were poor, we are poor and we will be poor. if ethiopia was to get better she would have 3000 years ago , when she was called one of the civilized country in the world. but instead we had 3000 years of war history. shit I dont' know history but civilization of Ethiopia was shown the last time by axum or lalibela churchs. what did we do after that? shit man!
In Response

by: mgg from: Gondar
July 21, 2012 4:44 AM
God bless meles...the perfect and visioner leader!!
In Response

by: Abeba
July 20, 2012 11:06 PM
you need help if you are normal. you need to go to church and ask GOD to forgive you for your sour/nasty mouth.
Geta Yikir Yibelsh.

by: Albasa from: Washington metro
July 19, 2012 10:17 PM
I hope Meles the evil suffers for more months before he is dead. The day for this evil killer and a murderer of hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians is numbered. The best educated and trained Ethiopians were killed, put in prison or chased them out of their country with the exception of his savage and dirty Tigrean tribe. This dirty and savage Tigreans looted every part of the country for over 20 years and turned the rest of the country into a barren land. I was hoping Meles will suffer in the hand of Ethiopians worse than his identical brother Gaddafi. But, God could not wait until Ethiopians are ready; so he decided to take him out faster. Meles, burn in hell.

by: Anonymous
July 19, 2012 10:00 PM
Hallelujah!! Another disposable African dictator is has been disptached and VOA needs to quit lying about it to the people!Legesse Zenawi has taken permanent leave from life itself. Maybe Americans in the DC Beltway bubble and US corporation folks living in a seprate reality might be fooled by these lies fearing for the life of the late Meles L'Etat c'est moi. But we Africans know he his dead and he will not be missed by Ethiopians, the region or the continent. Meles Zeanwi was the most reviled tyrant on the planet. State Department and EU need to find and arm another dictatorship quickly so we can get back to the great game that the the wise enduring Ethiopians always win:) BTW Are the Clintons Gayle Smith Herman Cohen and other TPLF vanilla geurillas contributing towards the costs of TPLF EFFORT's cryogenic storage tank for long-term preservation of their puny former puppet? Or is TPLF using US dollars donated to TPLF (with no accountability) for yet anther TPLF scam? What a criminal 30 year waste of US taxpayers money on the cruel corrupt and criminal TPLF kleptocracy.:(

by: wedi Asmara from: Canada
July 19, 2012 9:24 PM
I will hope that both Guys (Meles & Issayas ) are gone for good regards how …. illness ,,,,,Etc they have been in power for more than 20+ years & both countries are where they are because of their bad decisions period .

In Response

by: LiliEthio from: USA
July 23, 2012 5:52 PM
How dare you compare Melse with your idiot Essayas, you guys don't even have freedom to worship the right God, look at US, Ethiopian we can use the Stadium or any place freely to worship, what ever religion we have? we as Ethiopian don't have to hide our Bible like we did in Dergi's time. Thanks God, for giving Ethiopia such a wonderful leader like Melese. We are doing GREAT. just pray for your own Country, and shut-up. Our PM Melese, we pray for you and soon you fill better. WE LOVE YOU VERY MUCH, and THANK YOU FOR YOUR HARD AND GOOD WORK. GOD BLESS YOU ALL
In Response

by: abeba from NC
July 20, 2012 11:00 PM
speak for your self and mind your dumn business.
ethiopia is doing very good and our leader is doing an amazing job we never see this kind of '' MIEBALE'' in our country our life. so leave our leader alone.
Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs