(Medeshi)- Meles Zenawi ( born 8 May 1955) has been the Prime Minister of Ethiopia since 1995. He was President of Ethiopia from 1991 to 1995. Since 1985, he has been chairman of the Tigrayan Peoples' Liberation Front (TPLF), and he is head of the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).
|Meles Zenawi at the World Economic |
Forum Annual Meeting 2012
Meles was born in Adwa, Tigray in Northern Ethiopia, to an Ethiopian father from Adwa, Ethiopia, and a mother from Adi Quala, Eritrea.He graduated from the General Wingate high school in Addis Ababa, then studied medicine at Addis Ababa University (at the time known as Haile Selassie University) for two years before interrupting his studies in 1975 to join the TPLF.While a member of the TPLF, he founded the Marxist-Leninist League of Tigray. His first name at birth was "Legesse" but he is better known by his nom de guerre Meles. He later changed his first name to "Meles" in honor of a University student and a revolutionary radical who was executed by the previous government in 1975.
The TPLF was one of many armed groups struggling against Lieutenant Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam. Zenawi was elected Leader of the Leadership Committee in 1979 and Leader of the Executive Committee in 1983. He has been the chairperson of both the TPLF and the EPRDF since the EPRDF assumed power at the end of the Ethiopian Civil War in 1991. He was president of the Transitional Government of Ethiopia (TGE), during which Eritrea seceded from the country and the experiment of ethnic federalism started.
Meles Zenawi is married to Azeb Mesfin and is the father of three children. Azeb Mesfin is now the chair of the Social Affairs Standing Committee of Parliament, and in January 2007, she was given the "Legacy of a Dream" award for her leadership against HIV/AIDS during a ceremony held in memory of America's civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King.In addition, Azeb Mesfin and various government agencies have addressed child mortality issues in Ethiopia. According to UNICEF, the child mortality rate in Ethiopia has declined by 40% since the current ruling party took office.
In July 2012, questions arose concerning the Prime Minister's health when he did not attend African Union summit meetings in the Ethiopian capital.Opposition groups claimed that Meles may have already died as of July 16 while undergoing treatment in Belgium. Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn attributed Meles's absence to a minor illness. A press conference, during which the government planned to clarify the Prime Minister's health status, was scheduled for July 18 but postponed until later in the week. Meanwhile, the government acknowledged that Meles had been hospitalized, but that his condition was not serious. Diplomatic sources claimed that Meles was in critical condition in a Belgian hospital.
The fate of Meles is not known yet , but the chances are that he may never make it to the PM's office again .