Meles Zenawi, Ethiopian Prime Minister Dies at 57 – Now What Happens to Ethiopia?
Aug 21, 2012 10:51 AM EDT
Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, died on Monday according to the state run television. He was 57. According to reports the African leader was being treated for an undisclosed illness and died of an unexpected infection during treatment in Brussels, Belgium.
"Prime Minister Zenawi suddenly passed away last night. Meles was recovering in a hospital overseas for the past two months but died of a sudden infection at 11:40 (on Monday night, or 4:40 p.m. ET)," according to the State television as reported by NBC News.
Like Us on Facebook
Ethiopia's Ministery of Council released a statement making the announcement, "with great sadness the untimely death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi," according to BBC News.
Meles, who has ruled Ethiopia for over two decades, has been accredited for being the nation's primary protector from Islamists insurgencies across the borders. Now with Meles gone people, fear of stability of Ethiopia and its consequential affect on the overall region has ceased people from within and outside the country . In an article titled "Ethiopia: What Might a Post Meles Era Bring?" writer, Yohannes Wokdemariam says "The stability of Ethiopia's regime is anchored on the strength of its military, support from the U.S., and the individual intelligence and charisma of Meles," as it appears on thinkafricapress.com.
Meles rose to power in 1991 where he fought on behalf of the military group called Tigray People's Liberation Front and over threw the Mengistu Haile Mariam's Military Junta. He served as both the president and then prime minister of Ethiopia and is responsible for steering the nation's economy in a positive direction.
His ties to the U.S. have made Ethiopia the largest beneficiary of US developmental assistance in the sub-Saharan region and the second largest in the world. Fortunately for Ethiopia, analysts do not see the death of Meles to affect this rapport with the US.
UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, said the leader was "an inspirational spokesman for Africa," while Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf hailed Meles as the "intellectual leader of the continent," as reported by BBC News.
However, the spokesman of Somalia insurgent group al-Shabaab, Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage, said, "We are very glad about Meles' death. Ethiopia is sure to collapse," as reported by NBC News.
With belligerent neighbors and a perennial infiltration of insurgencies from Sudan, Somalia and Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia faces an uncertain future.