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
|| 0:00:00

“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.

You May Like

800-Pound Man Determined to Slim Down

Man says he was kicked out of hospital for ordering pizza; wants to be an actor More

Australia Prepares to Resettle 12,000 Syrian Refugees

Preference will be given to refugees from persecuted minorities, and the first group is expected to arrive before late December More

S. African Miners Seek Class Action Suit Against Gold Mines

The estimated 100,000 say say they contracted the lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis in the mines More

This forum has been closed.
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 ....???

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs