News / Africa

Ethiopian PM Undergoing Treatment in Europe

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (File)Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (File)
Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (File)
Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (File)
James Butty
A founding member of Ethiopia’s ruling Tigrai People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) party said ailing Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is receiving medical treatment in an unnamed European country and that he’ll return to his official duties in a few days. 

Sebhat Negga said the prime minister’s health is not a major issue among the public.

Meles has not been seen in public for at least two weeks.

Ethiopian dissident websites have published unconfirmed reports that the prime minister suffers from brain cancer. 

But, Negga said the Ethiopian opposition is trying to exploit the situation.

“I can tell you for sure that there is no undesirable eventuality regarding his health.  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,” he said.

Negga described as “completely untrue” European media reports that Meles is hospitalized in critical condition at Saint Luc Hospital in Brussels.
The hospital Wednesday declined to say if the Ethiopian leader is there.

Negga said the prime minister’s health is not a major issue for majority of Ethiopians.  He accused the opposition of trying to exploit the issue.

“It’s not a very important issue [among] the people.  It is the opposition parties that are trying to exploit this because they are wishful thinkers. Otherwise, in the normal situation, it’s not a major issue,” Negga said.

He accused the opposition of wishing that Meles were dead.

Butty interview with Sebhat Negga
Butty interview with Neggai
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“They want Ethiopia to go back to the situation whereby there is no direction and there is no system,” Negga said.

He said there is no vacuum in leadership even in Mr. Meles’ absence because, he said, Ethiopia has in place a good system of governing.

“There is no concern.  The system is there.  The system does not depend on one person.  People are curious about his health, but it should not be about the issue of governance,” Negga said. 

He said Ethiopia is being run in the prime minister’s absence by the parliament and the deputy prime minister.

The group Human Rights Watch has accused Ethiopia of severely restricting basic rights of freedom of expression, association, and assembly.  It said hundreds of Ethiopians were arbitrarily arrested and detained in 2011.

Last week, 20 Ethiopians, including a prominent blogger and opposition figures, were jailed for between eight years to life on charges of conspiring with rebels to topple the government.

Human Rights Watch said Ethiopia is using broad anti-terrorism legislation to crack down on dissent and media freedoms.

But, Negga said Meles is not a dictator and can never be one because the powers of the federal government are limited.

“The power of the center is given by the nations and nationalists and people in the original states.  Therefore, he [the prime minister] doesn’t have any hand in the affairs of Oromo, Amhara, Tigrai, Afa, etc.  They are not within his reach.  They have their own structures, their own constitutions, their own president, and their own legislature,” Negga said.

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Comment Sorting
by: Titi from: Ethiopia
July 25, 2012 3:42 AM
But can this guy can tell us what is the reason of disturbing enosent Ethiopian Muslims and Christians in different occasions? By now they are harming muslims in this respected month of Remedan? They kept many of them in gail and enjured them. What are they doing?

by: Abyot from: Winnipeg
July 23, 2012 9:59 PM
the so called Ethiopian politicians in the west and north America are airing the bad new about the Meles, whether Meles dies or lives there is no space for pseudo politicians to take over the power in Ethiopian politics. As individual i like Meles for his charsimatic leadership, his vision for the nation and his assertiveness. he is not a flawless leader, there are so many thing need correction but i do not thing his death will be a solution for any problem. I wish him fast recovery. Ethiopia and Africa needs his excellent leadership but not excellent talkative politician from the West or N. America.

by: takel from: ethiop
July 21, 2012 5:58 AM
nega said these is not etiopian people majore issu are yuo sure how is leding in EPRDF???????????? then this is majore issu oure ethiopan people

by: Zemen from: Vancouver
July 19, 2012 1:04 PM
When the whole country does not want you and you are imposing yourself on them by force, it is bad karma. Take away message from this is all the guns in this world cannot save you from your deeds. Your deeds are all bad. Who is going to count torture, imprisonment and stiffing dissent as good.

by: mammae from: hawassa
July 19, 2012 12:46 PM
no one accepts death evils to mr meles while the terminally living and non functional pres. Girma is alive. we love u meles, though u cant satisfy the interests of >70mln people @ atime.

by: awell from: addis abeba
July 19, 2012 10:09 AM
First off : belive me or not meles is going to death
Second off: there is a bloode worest things happen in ethiopia those the TPLF people will kill people after they died all the TPLF

by: Aman from: Europe
July 19, 2012 5:04 AM
That is the solid truth about the EPRDF basic foundation, which is independent of any member´s existence in the power. This should be understood by any one who thinks existence of Meles makes a difference?

One amazing thing about a boy Sibhat question to the journalist, "what about your job"? that is a deep message! He knows he is a journalist but he asks him about his job, which if he understands to convey a message you are ....???

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