Ethiopian expats mourn PM Zenawi

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Ethiopian expats mourn PM Zenawi

The Ethiopian Consulate and the community members in Dubai mourned the death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi who passed away on August 20 at the age of 53.


Afkar Ali Ahmed

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Published: Wed 29 Aug 2012, 8:51 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 11:26 AM

The funeral will be held on September 2 in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.

The late prime minister led Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) for 21 years. His body was flown home following his death in a Brussels hospital.

A large number of the 100,000 Ethiopians living in various emirates gathered at the Ethiopian Consulate on Tuesday to offer condolences over the death of Zenawi. During the meeting, Mesganu Arga Moah, Consul General of Ethiopia, received diplomats of African, Arab and Western countries who came to offer condolences.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Moah said Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, 47, who is also the country’s foreign minister since 2010, will take over interim power until the election in 2014.

He said that the sudden death of Zenawi was a great loss for Ethiopia and Africa as he was a visionary leader who had achieved political and economic development in Ethiopia and the region.

“All Ethiopians with their diverse ethnicity and religions are mourning the death. They all travelled to Addis Ababa to pay their respect. He had been serving the country with dedication and he was respected and loved by the people of the nation. He was not only Ethiopia’s leader, he was also a champion of African causes as he contributed to solving Somalia’s political issue and to peace agreement between South Sudan and Sudan,” Moah said.

“We are confident that the current leader will follow his footsteps to fulfill his vision.”

Fiseha Afewerki Gebre, Deputy Consul General, said: “The loss of Zenawi is painful for me not just because he was a great leader of the country but a close friend whom I knew since he was 19 years old. He was a very smart young man and he was always thinking of people and development of Ethiopia to be one of the most advanced country in the world.”

Gebre added: “He worked hard to save Ethiopians from poverty, ignorance and disease. He achieved equality for the 80 ethnic groups. He introduced political and economic changes and worked for peace and stability and for eradicating poverty. He also promoted democracy by allowing all 70 political parties to participate in the elections.”

Rena Pteros, a community member who came to the consulate to pay respect for the loss of the leader, said: “Words can’t express my grief; tears will flow every time I think about him and what he had done for the country and its people. He was not just a leader who was loved by his people, he was a father who cared for all of us.”

Nigusu Mekonnen, Vice Consul, said that the death of the prime minister was the loss of a visionary leader which had shocked every Ethiopian inside and outside the country. “I wish Ethiopians to continue the march towards development which Zenawi had started.”

Ibrahim Memari Molla, a consulate official, said: “It was a sad news, our late prime minister was a real hero who fought for freedom, democracy and the country’s growth. We will continue what he had started and achieve his vision. My message to Ethiopians is to keep our country united and peaceful. I wish the political parties to come together for the benefit of the nation and development of the country.”

Hussain Assfaw, Chairman of Ethiopian Community, said that Zenawi’s sudden death was a shock and all community members who had come to the consulate to pay tribute and respect to Zenawi were still in a state of shock as he worked hard to bring positive changes in the country and support the people who loved him.”

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