News / Africa

What’s Next for Ethiopia?

Ethiopia Prime Minister Meles Zenawi speaks at the 4th plenary session on African development at a Tokyo hotel, September 30, 2003.
Ethiopia Prime Minister Meles Zenawi speaks at the 4th plenary session on African development at a Tokyo hotel, September 30, 2003.
VOA News
The late Meles Zenawi led Ethiopia since a 1991 coup in which he helped overthrow the Marxist government. 

The high-profile leader will be remembered for running a growth oriented, but very authoritarian, government.  His illness was kept very quiet and during his life, no successor was publicly identified.

What will a post-Meles Ethiopia look like?  Reporter Anita Powell spoke to Andrew Asamoah, a senior Horn of Africa researcher at the South Africa-based Institute of Security Studies.
 
VOA: Why has there been such secrecy around the prime minister’s condition and his death?

Asamoah: "We’ve seen that the trend in Africa is for the political leadership to keep the health status of the president to themselves, sometimes for political reasons; sometimes also I guess it’s also the fear of the uncertainty that may come up when their health status is made public.  Because in some countries it ends up arming the opposition.  So I think it’s the same case that’s played out in the case of Ethiopia."

VOA: Could Meles’ death lead to instability or violence?

Asamoah:  "I think the threat about the instability that many are referring to is actually connected to the idea that he has been in charge of the country for so long and that he’s had an opportunity to make himself, or his personality, stand out to many of the goings on in the country. So [there’s] the fear that his sudden exit has the capacity of the dislocating the arrangements of the quality of the country."
 

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
VOA: What’s next for Ethiopia? And who is going to lead the nation now?

Asamoah: "We expect the deputy prime minister to be in charge while the House of Representatives prepares to decide or elect whoever takes charge of the constitution.  So there is clarity on that from the constitution of the country."

VOA: Let’s talk about Meles, the man. Meles was a very strong figure, he had a very strong cult of personality, and he was very involved in propagating the government’s message, or rather his message. What do you think was Meles’ legacy, and what might change now?

Asamoah: "I think his biggest legacy within the country and beyond has to do with the economic growth in the country since he assumed power.  And his ability to keep the country strong and relevant on the African landscape, both in the Horn of Africa and at the [African Union] level.

I think the country will also miss his very strong personality, as someone who did not only represent the embodiment of the institutions of the country, but as well as who pulled a lot of ministers on his ideology and a number of things that he stood for.

And then also one of his roles as a key actor in the Horn of Africa in the case of Somalia.  Let’s also remember that it was under his tenure that Ethiopia went to war with Eritrea.  So all these things are some of his legacies.”

VOA: Ethiopia’s really strategically located in the Horn, and has a lot of neighbors - Somalia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Kenya - and it’s also home to the African Union.  Could Meles’ death have any effect on these institutions and on these other nations and if so, what?

Asamoah:  “[The] African Union has lost one of its pan-Africanists, he’s one of those people who stood for the African vision, who understood very well what it meant and what it means to uphold the African ideals and how to push for it.  The Horn of Africa has also lost someone who was kind of pro-peace, even though I’m not sure all actors will agree that way.”

VOA: Meles has said, especially in recent years, that one of his greatest legacies was just maintaining stability and allowing Ethiopia to grow economically.  So what do you think the government’s priority should be right now to maintain to keep things stable and peaceful?

Asamoah: “I think they should try and deal with whatever internal push and pull for power to make sure to ensure that the country remains as one country, one strong country. 

And then I think it’s also up to the political leadership to continue to project the leadership role that Ethiopia has played in the region. Particularly it’s important for them to send out this message in the [event] of agitation or instability that there could be in the country. 

That has a lot of influence and impact on the economic outlook of the country, investor confidence and then overall perception that the international community has of the country.”

  • The casket containing the body of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi arrives at the Addis Ababa International Airport, Ethiopia, August 22, 2012.
  • The body of Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is escorted upon arrival in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa early August 22, 2012.
  • Ethiopian women in black gather to mourn as the body of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi arrived in Addis Ababa, August 22, 2012.
  • Ethiopians carry posters in Amharic reading "Meles We Love You" as they gather to mourn as the body of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi arrived in Addis Ababa, August 22, 2012.
  • Ethiopian national flags fly at half mast in Addis Ababa, August 21, 2012.
  • Officials move a portrait of Meles shortly after the announcement of his death in Addis Ababa, August 21, 2012.
  • Ethiopian government spokesman Bereket Simon (R) makes the official announcement of Meles' death in Addis Ababa, August 21, 2012.
  • U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Meles at the London Conference on Somalia, February 23, 2012.
  • The late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi arrives with his wife Azeb Mesfi for the 18th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, January 29, 2012.
  • Meles speaks to reporters after meeting with Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf in Cairo, Egypt, September 17, 2011.
  • Meles and other world leaders pose during a group photo at the G20 summit in Toronto, Canada, June 27, 2010.
  • Meles lifts his cap to salute supporters of the EPRDF party at the Meskel Square in Addis Ababa, May 25, 2010.
  • A poster featuring the prime minister displayed in downtown Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 2010.
  • U.S. President George W. Bush chats with Meles during a meeting with Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi for talks on combatting international terrorism, the White House, Washington, December 5, 2002.
  • German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder welcomes Meles to Berlin, Germany, February 5, 2002.
  • Meles and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Moscow, Russia, December 3, 2001.
  • UN Secretary General Kofi Annan with Meles before their meeting in the office of the prime minister in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, April 30, 1998.
  • Salim Ahmed Salim, Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity, meets with Meles in Addis Ababa, June 28, 1995.
  • Meles accompanies Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat as he arrives at Addis Ababa's African Hall to attend a meeting, June 26, 1995.

You May Like

Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: freed oromiya from: finfinne(addis ababa)
August 24, 2012 7:26 AM
meles had really finished so many oromo tallents,the greatest nation in the country and others. i think the creator has judged him.


by: Truth-or-death from: Addis Ababa
August 23, 2012 12:45 AM
Ethiopia has been cured of cancer!! .... doctors removed the "head" tumor successfully - that followed 21 yrs long chemo ......(that's a long chemo!). They discovered a new type of cancer and named it 'Meles'!! .... and, the Surgeon General is identified as Almighty God!!
Ethiopians indebted to Almighty God for life long gratitude!!


by: Solex from: Ethiopia
August 21, 2012 5:31 PM
RIP. Indeed what matters is the future. This volatile and troubled part of the world needs leaders like Meles who was endowed with leadership wisdom, charisma and a brilliant mind.
The future does worth more!


by: T.Gilbert from: Largo, FL
August 21, 2012 11:50 AM
Whats next, who's next? A wise Emperor once said...
"A qualified man with vision, unmoved by daily selfish interests, will be led to right decisions by his conscience. In general, a man who knows from whence he comes and where he is going will co-operate with his fellow human beings. He will not be satisfied with merely doing his ordinary duties but will inspire others by his good example. You are being watched by the nation and you should realize that you will satisfy it if you do good; but if, on the contrary, you do evil, it will lose its hope and its confidence in you."

Perhaps this type of person should be the next to govern..


by: ed van der meulem from: IN nature living
August 21, 2012 11:16 AM
He was dictorial and also jer pit journalists in jail

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Paradei
X
Anush Avetisyan
November 26, 2014 10:57 PM
Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid