His death was officially announced Tuesday morning by Ethiopian government officials. He was 57 years old. He was reported to have died midnight of Monday, August 20, 2012 in a hospital abroad, but the country has not been mentioned.
The Prime Minister has been ill for some time, but Ethiopians were unaware of his specific conditions. Ethiopians were simply told he was resting after returning from a hospital in Belgium.
Ethiopian opposition figures in exile have rumoured his death in the last couple of months, and all the rumours were denied by Ethiopian public officials.
Mr. Zenawi took over the reins of power in Ethiopia in 1991 when he led a rebel group to overthrow Mengistu Haile Mariam. He has since ruled Ethiopia as president and then later as Prime Minister.
Under him, Ethiopia attained economic growth. The country is among the world’s 10 fastest growing economies with a GDP growth of above 7 per cent.
Reports from Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, however say there is disbelief among Ethiopians about news of the death, as his death has been rumoured so many times in the past. Most citizens are calling each other to confirm if it is true.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi