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Year after leader dies, Ethiopia is little changed
By KIRUBEL TADESSE
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Residents in Ethiopia's capital awoke to the sound of a 21-gun salute Tuesday to mark the first year anniversary of the death of long-time ruler Meles Zenawi.
The ritual underscores the approach Meles' successors have employed during the last year: a continued lionization of the late prime minister, whose portrait still appears in every public office across the country.
Candlelit vigils and the launch of over two dozen parks were organized across the country for the late leader. In the capital a cornerstone for the Meles Zenawi Memorial Museum was laid in a televised ceremony.
During the ceremony, attended by regional leaders such as the presidents of Somalia and Sudan, Meles was praised as "Africa's voice." His successor Prime Minister Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn praised Meles as a "champion of the poor."
"Meles did a remarkable endeavor in the green economic development. He also led a successful party and government to establish a widely defined democratic system that has recognized and observed rights of individuals and groups at the same time," Hailemariam said in a speech.
Meles became president in 1991 after helping to oust Mengistu Haile Mariam's Communist military junta, which was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians. Meles became prime minister in 1995, a position he held until his sudden death last year.
The United States long viewed Meles as a strong security partner and gave Ethiopia hundreds of millions of dollars in aid over the years. U.S. military drones that patrol East Africa — especially over Somalia — are stationed in Ethiopia.
David Shinn, the U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia from 1996 to 1999, says he hasn't detected any changes in the U.S.-Ethiopian relationship since Meles' death.
"From the U.S. side, the policy seems to be one of maintaining cordial but not excessively warm relations. This situation varies somewhat from topic to topic. There continues to be especially close collaboration on issues such as counterterrorism and regional conflicts in Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia. At the same time, there are significant concerns about the future of democratization and human rights practices," said Shinn, now a professor at George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs.
Ethiopia is increasingly looking to China as a model. Chinese companies are behind the country's drive to expand infrastructures such as road and telecom networks. In recent months Chinese companies have signed two billion-dollar deals with state companies to expand the country's telecom and power lines.
Thought credited for advancing Ethiopia's economy, Meles was accused of killing and jailing opposition members and rigging elections. Rights groups say the oppression carried out under Meles has continued in the East African nation. Meles was responsible for the closure of 72 independent newspapers, according to the press freedom watchdog the Committee to Protect Journalists.
"At the time of Meles' death, there were eight journalists in prison in Ethiopia. Today, there are nine," said Mohamed Keita, advocacy coordinator for CPJ's Africa Program.
Former ambassador Shinn says that the U.S. lacks suffient influence to effectively press Ethiopia for reforms in areas of freedom of speech and protection of the free press.
"Many countries, including United Nations Security Council members China and Russia, have no interest whatsoever in encouraging reform. This gives Ethiopia considerable leverage," said Shinn. "I think the United States has the interest in encouraging reforms. I don't think that it alone has the required leverage that will result in reforms over either the short-term or long-term."
CPJ should count the journalists who are being gunned down on the streets of Cairo, instead of meddling in Ethiopia’s internal issue.
The so called journalists inmates of Kaliti prison are people who broke the country’s law and caught with terrorist acts.
Our govt EPRDF have proven again how strong, smart and perfect they are, and some light years away from our enemies’ decayed mentality. We will never yield to our enemies from outside or inside.
The hopeless diaspora opportunity seeking coward enemies will keep crying for the ages. As long as you stay in your hole where ever you’re, it is your right to cry and make noise.
Ethiopia is on the right track on our way to a democratic prosperous nation equally to all the people of Ethiopia regardless of their ethnicity, religion and language.
We will carry on through the path put forward by the great brilliant visionary leader PM Meles Zenawi. Nothing will stop us.
The horrible human rights situation in Ethiopia under Meles Zenaiw’s 21 years of bloody rule has been documented by various independent human rights groups and victims of the minority regime in Ethiopia.
The regime of Meles Zenawi in Ethiopia has committed untold crimes against its own people in the last 20 years. The genocides in the Gambela, Ogaden and Oromia regions of Ethiopia have been documented by various human rights organizations including Survivors International and Genocide Watch.
Some of his crimes include:
Gondar Massacre (1993)
Massacre in Hararghe (1993)
Loque massacre in Awassa
Massacre in Yeki (2002)
Massacre in Addis Ababa (2005)
Massares in Oromia (2008)
So, all should come to terms with the heinous crimes of the Meles Zenaiw regime instead of showering the dead tyrant for praises that he is not worth of. No amount of cover up by anybody could hide the tears, blood, and skulls millions remember whenever the bloody tyrant Meles Zenawi name is mentioned…….
How stupid are you?. EPRDF is not a government. It is a party.
Marking his first year anniversary is the right thing to do but it looks like he is still the chairman of the party, the prime minister and still ruling from his grave. I don’t think the current prime minister has the power of the office at all. That is a big problem.
You are absolutely right, sir. I’m very much saddened by the illiterate staggering comments and anti Ethiopia by the idiot few diasporas. Indeed He was a brave man, world class mind as reality indicates, and yet some see him as if he is outsider, he fought for Ethiopia to achieve what She has archived now, He sate a road map for the success that we underscore since the overthrowing of the oppressor .
We will celebrate every time keeping PM MZ in our heart and mind, no matter what, we are plenty enough, they might desire us but we are stronger more than ever.
Long live Ethiopia, we will keep our late PM words.
Mindin nw yehe hulu girgir…ZTE ye zare 5 Amet lebichaw 1.6 billion project tesetew min ayen? Minim… ere sintu benedet mobayelu endeworewore betu yekuterew. Ahunm ZTE edia Albezam ende…minw jal
Meles not only killed innocent Ethiopians but also he killed Ethiopia. Read this letter:
ደብዳቤ ከመለስ ዜናዊ
ይድረስ ለጓድ ጠቅላይ ሚንስተር ሃይለማርያም ደሳለኝ፤
You stink dude! May be you’re opening your ass when you say something instead of your mouth.
You reminded me of some asshole loser who is MIA lately from this website.
Take it easy anyway!
If you strongly believe in the comment you wrote ( DC Mayor …) You shouldn’t have rewrite it again. You changed from a pin pointed group of people to A& B. Shame on you. We all make mistakes. You did indeed made a mistake. If I were ( happy I am not) will ask an apology.
Melese’s life was full of “MACHEBERBER” and his death & his leagacy also follows the same pattern. Leave alone the Ethiopian people,his close friends don’t know him as a man except as a leader of the party. His life was behind evrybody & he can’t be missed all of a sudden. He should have earned it by working hard toward togethernes as much as he work for our differnces!
MZ was smart and shrewd party leader of TPLF. We give him a credit for that. But He used his smartness to enrich himself, his family, and the rest of his cronies.
This is the guy who used divide and conquer strategy to perfection.
We know you well, Mamo. You were in Derg’s court. No body would be shocked or dismay by your comment. It is well known that you the most unhappy monkey.
Yes, I am also celebrating the anniversary of the sudden demise of the head of all evils, Meles Satnawi. I wish the gun salute was doubled. I am confident, however, that our celebration to grow exponentially with the wiping out of TPLF very soon.
Addis Gomen, are you still barking?
The 21 gun salut is wrong.
Adgi ,patriotic journalists jailed by your then looter masters or those shot in the Streets of Cairo deserved the same consideration .So what is accomplishing CPJ whether you like or not .What kind of change can we expect after the Death of the Evil Tyrant ,with the same bandits and bandas ,who did serve him faithfully by the past times ,still remaining in power .The greatest “JOKE” is that
the first year of the Tyrant’s Death is saluted with 21 Gun Salute .21 Gun Salute of “JOY” or
a “SARROW” but surely anouncing the “DEBUT” of the END of 22 years Agazi Bandits and Tigre Mafiosis Tyranni .
Meles never used his heart, he relied on books he read and experience that enabled him to maneuver whichever way he tends to argue about and wins! I give him respect for that, unlike butcher Mangistu who relied on his revolver shigutt, Mengistu’s private office shelves full of selection of guns, Meles’s private office shelves full of useful books. Meles loaded himself with books to win, mengistu loaded himself with guns. If I was God I forgive Hailesilasie and Meles for wrong doing if they confess their sins, But I will never ever forgive the evil nature of Mengistu.
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