News / Africa

Ethiopia's 'Visionary' Leader Meles Zenawi Laid to Rest

A funeral procession transporting the coffin of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is pictured in Addis Ababa, September 2, 2012.
A funeral procession transporting the coffin of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is pictured in Addis Ababa, September 2, 2012.
Gabe Joselow
ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia has laid to rest Prime Minister Meles Zenawi who led the country for more than 20 years before his death, announced last month. Heads of state from around the continent praised Meles' intellect and his vision for his country and Africa.

Ethiopian soldiers stood in formation as the flag-draped casket carrying the body of Meles was carried into Meskel Square in downtown Addis Ababa.

Thousands of Ethiopians gathered to pay their respects to the late prime minister, who was credited with bringing economic development to the country during his many years in power. Foreign dignitaries, including heads of state from across Africa also attended the ceremony.

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki praised Meles for his commitment to his country and the continent.

"We too, your fellow Africans, are here to join you to pay tribute to Meles Zenawi and to convey to you our sincere condolences of the loss to you of a great architect of a new Ethiopia, and to us who come from outside the borders of this country, the loss of a great architect of a new Africa of which a billion Africans dream,” said Mbeki.

While many African leaders credited Meles for his single-minded dedication to development, he was often criticized in the West for stifling the opposition and putting economic success ahead of human rights.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame said the prime minister was misunderstood by critics because he was ahead of his time.

“Where some would have been compromised for short-term profit or gains, or easily succumbed to pressures, he was steadfast and always took a definite stand on issues of right and wrong and more often than not, he was on the side of right,” he said.

A woman wails while lifting a portrait of Ethiopia's PM Meles Zenawi as she waits for the arrival of his remains in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, August 21, 2012.A woman wails while lifting a portrait of Ethiopia's PM Meles Zenawi as she waits for the arrival of his remains in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, August 21, 2012.
x
A woman wails while lifting a portrait of Ethiopia's PM Meles Zenawi as she waits for the arrival of his remains in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, August 21, 2012.
A woman wails while lifting a portrait of Ethiopia's PM Meles Zenawi as she waits for the arrival of his remains in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, August 21, 2012.
The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said she enjoyed a close relationship with Meles. Rice praised him for what she called his “world-class mind,” but said they sometimes “profoundly disagreed” on issues including human rights and foreign policy.

She said as the United States will continue to work with Ethiopia to help develop the country's institutions.

“As always, we will encourage peaceful political dialogue, civil society development and protection of human rights, including freedom of the press,” said Rice.

Meles' deputy, Hailemariam Desalegn has taken over the powers of the prime minister's office and is due to be sworn in after the funeral. He says he plans to continue on the path of development started by his predecessor.

“Today we are prospering because of the vision and guidance of Meles Zenawi,” he said. “He paved the road for prosperity and peace that we are committed to follow.”

After the ceremony, Meles' casket was carried to the Holy Trinity Cathedral, where he was buried next to other prominent leaders of Ethiopia, including former Emperor Haile Selassie.

A 21-gun salute marked the end of the ceremony, and a long and transformative political era in Ethiopia.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid