Late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi Buried

Filed under: Africa |
Meles Zenawi Funeral photo

Meles Zenawi procession to Meskel Square

Late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was buried on Sunday in the capital Addis Ababa at a funeral attended by 20 African leaders and 60 000 ordinary people.

Over 600 government representatives from across the world also attended.

Meles succumbed to an undisclosed illness at a Brussels hospital on August 20 aged 57.

The funeral started early in the morning with a special prayer procession from the royal palace to the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church.

After the church ceremony, his body was taken to Meskel Square where over 60 000 people from across the country were gathered.

Various African leaders addressed the ceremony.

Benin President Thomas Yayi Boni who is also the African Union chairperson spoke on behalf of other leaders.

“Meles was a special Pan African. He did a lot for Africa,” Boni said. “It is a loss not only for Ethiopia, but also for Africa.”

Leaders from South Africa, Sudan, South Sudan, Rwanda and Uganda United States representative to the United Nations Susan Rice also addressed the mourners.

They urged Ethiopia to continue pursuing development programmes initiated by Meles and taking an active interest in regional security.

Meles Zenawi photo

Tens of thousands attended the funeral

In his bid to achieve regional security, Meles played key roles in the AU integration process and the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development.

He was also a key mediator in the talks between Sudan and South Sudan and deployed troops to fight Arab funded Islamic extremists in Somalia.

Meles also deployed peacekeepers to Rwanda, Burundi and Sudan.

Meanwhile, Acting Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has vowed to finish the work started by his predecessor.

“All his-Meles’ initiatives will keep moving forward, all the transformation plans will progress,” said Desalegn who will be sworn in later this week as the new PM.

Meles was popular at home for his strong leadership especially on the economic front but was criticised for lack of tolerance to opposing views.