Meles Zenawi is dead

July 31, 2012

by Abebe Gellaw

ESAT’s decision to report that Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is dead, according to reliable sources, has never been easy.Further discourse on the Washington DC undressing Meles Zenawi It was two weeks ago that we received the news from highly credible sources in Brussels. Our sources that want to remain anonymous as they were not authorized to speak to the media on this sensitive matter told us that the International Crisis Group (ICG) concluded that Mr. Zenawi was deceased. Headquartered in Brussels, with offices around the world, ICG is the leading independent think tank on conflict prevention and resolution around the world. It was hard to ignore information from such a highly reputable international organization.

As a responsible media outlet, ESAT tried to investigate and verify the tip meticulously before it decided to broadcast the news. To be fair to the facts, we have also scrutinized the conflicting and contradictory information coming out from the ruling TPLF clique. We have examined not only the statements and stories put out for public consumption by the TPLF, but also their conducts that tell their own stories.

As Meles Zenawi’s 21-year tyrannical rule has surely come to a screeching halt, the TPLF proved to be a heap of mess without its chieftain.  Ethiopia appeared to be leaderless and cheerless. In the absence of its head, the regime appeared to be decapitated, incapacitated, incoherent, disunited, disorganized and disoriented. This is typical of a one-man regime unlike institutionally sound democratic systems (like Ghana) that cannot be easily shaken by the death or absence of one man. Like an untrained ship crew with no captain in sight, the ruling elite seem to be at a loss for direction in the face of a gathering storm.

Look no further than the contradictory statements being issued by the high priests of the ethnic front on the well-being and whereabouts of Mr. Zenawi. While rumors are abounding on the death of the dictator, none of the officials has come out with a convincing explanation where the big man is.

“He is resting from exhaustion… He will be back in ten days…. He is in hospital….No, he is on holiday…. He is in town…No, he is in Europe… No, no, no…he is relaxing in America…,” TPLF officials told the public in the past two weeks. But Zenawi is nowhere to be seen. He was neither in the palace nor in his rubber-stamp parliament making and unmaking laws. And yet, TPLF’s creative stories change within hours and each weird story adds more fuel to wild speculations and rumors.

After the May 18th incident that became a turning-point in the tyrannical life of Mr. Zenawi, he was not seen in public for four weeks. On June 18th, he finally surfaced in Mexico City where he flew to attend a G20 meeting. Instead of quashing rumors about his well-being, the PR stunt unwittingly started a more serious discussion. He significantly lost weight and looked more like a ghost than the charismatic dictator he once seemed. The Chinese state TV, CCTV, broadcast his emaciated image, which was recorded during his meeting with Chinese president Hu Jintao, proved the suspicion of so many people. That was followed by a photo opportunity with Mexican president Felipe Calderon. It was another flop. He looked haggard, tired and gravely ill. The effort led by Berhane Gebrekirstos turned out to be a PR disaster.

On July 15th the newly-formed Ethiopian National Transitional Council (ENTC) issued a press release declaring the passing away of Mr. Zenawi. The news was received suspiciously. Some people questioned the motive of ENTC to declare the death of Zenawi. In fact, those of us in the news media also felt that ENTC should have passed the information to the media for further investigation. In any case, ENTC attracted more attention on the mysteries surrounding Zenawi’s puzzling health and final destiny spurred heated debate among Ethiopians across the world.

On July 14, 2012 Zenawi reportedly passed away after suffering a few weeks of agony and pains at St-Luke University Hospital in Brussels. The news was received with mixed emotions. While most Ethiopians welcomed the departure of a brutal tyrant that has caused so much pain and suffering on millions of Ethiopians, the news upset the TPLF camp. “Liars! Liars! Liars!..,” cried out camp TPLF without producing any evidence to disprove the news.

For a few days, TPLF chose to be quite. Finally, it broke its silence via the Voice of America. On July 18, Sebhat Nega appeared on VOA Amharic service and told the apprehensive public that Zenawi only suffered a minor illness. He said he was somewhere in Europe getting medical care. According to Nega, who was widely believed to be the mentor of the former dictator, in the absence of Zenawi the “democratic institutions” were working smoothly. Until the chief comes back, according to him, the “deputy prime minister” is in charge. As usual, the old guard’s answers were deliberately vague. They raised more questions than providing any serious answers.

Crisis communication management needs skills and some touch of professionalism. So TPLF felt the need to bring out its topmost communication expert. Unfortunately, the “expert” is the least trusted and one of the most detested members of the ruling elite. It was unwise of TPLF to send out the minister of miscommunication to convince the public that Zenawi is still alive and kicking.

After cancelling his appointments with journalists a couple of times, Bereket Simon, came on July 19th to meet and greet local and foreign journalists. He was flanked by none other than Shimelis Kemal, who insisted all along that news on the illness of Mr. Zenawi was fabricated by ESAT.

Mr. Simon said that Zenawi was exhausted after working restlessly for over thirty years. So an unnamed doctor forced him to go on sick leave. He dismissed reports that he was gravely ill. According to Mr. Simon, the big boss suffered no serious illness but exhaustion that needed a break. He assured us that he would soon be in office after enjoying his holiday. He also contradicted Mr. Nega by saying that Zenawi is in charge of running the country. It appeared that the deputy was not the task of ruling the nation even if the boss is exhausted and took a sick leave.

Mr. Simon was also asked why the Prime Minister’s health and whereabouts have been shrouded in secrecy. According to the communication expert, this is something to do with the culture of the ruling party. He explained that since its days in the jungle, the ethnic front does not dwell on such matters. He gave little weight to rights of the public to know about the health or death of a ruler. Mr. Simon, who was visibly nervous and sipping a glass of water quite frequently, gave inconclusive and bizarre statements that failed to convince us that Zenawi was indeed enjoying his holiday in an unknown tourist resort.

Addis Fortune is a newspaper close to the ruling elite. It is an open secret that the publisher, Tamrat Gebre-Giorgis, is a close associate of the minister of miscommunication and other officials. On June 22, it published a front page interview with a screaming headline: “Meles back in town.” The story, which the paper run as breaking news claimed: “A day after the Ethiopian government officially announced his ailment, Prime Minster Meles Zenawi came back to Addis Abeba, according to a credible source. The Premier came back to town on Friday evening, July 20, 2012, and he is recovering well, the source revealed to Fortune.”

Fortune’s publisher also told everyone that Zenawi is expected to surprise the public by appearing at a press conference. Apparently, the credible source feeding false information is none other than Bereket Simon, who probably thought that disinformation may work to manipulate public opinion. But the widely expected press conference where Zenawi would take center stage never materialized.

Former TPLF propaganda chief and publisher of Ethiopian Reporter, Amare Aregawi, is also very close to the ruling elite. He is widely believed to be a privy to TPLF’s top guns including security chief Getachew Assefa. He too had breaking news for us. Contradicting Addis Fortune’s “big story”, he had a different headline: “Meles on vacation abroad”.

The story dated 25th July declared: “Following the prescribed sick leave, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is currently on vacation outside Ethiopia, The Reporter learnt. Sources told The Reporter that Meles is enjoying the sick leave after he was ordered to take time outside office to recover from his illness resulted from “over workloads for more than three decades.” What was even bizarre was the fact that Reporter told us that Zenawi was enjoying his “holiday” in the United States.

That was not the end of the story coming from officials sources. On July 28, Addis Admas, another paper linked to the ruling elite published an interesting interview with none other than the famous TPLF veteran, Sebhat Nega. The stories keep on changing. But this time, it came to a full circle. He told the paper that Zenawi is having a speedy recovery. “Where is the Prime Minister,” asked the journalist.

“He is in Europe,” he answered. “Where exactly in Europe?” queried the journalist.

“I don’t know exactly ,” says Sebhat Nega, who was supposed to be in the know.

Tyrants are supposed to be seen in full control. How is it that the most visible and domineering man in the last 21 year vanishes into thin air? He is Europe, he is back in town…No, no, no…he is on holiday in the U.S.  Who should the public trust? This must be one of the worst disappearance cases ever known in the history of tyranny.

As a journalist who tried to sift fiction from facts, Meles Zenawi is not back in town, nor is he on holiday in America. As far as I am concerned, our sources at ICG are more credible. I admit that I have not personally seen a death certificate or the dead body of Ethiopia’s former dictator.

Based on the credible information we have received from Brussels, I am convinced that Meles Zenawi is dead. I do not believe that such reputable think tanks like ICG will get this wrong. For the record, ESAT never quoted ICG. It quoted anonymous but credible sources working at ICG in Brussels. We are aware of ICG’s Twit.

Unlike Aigaforum and Tigraionline’s claim’s ICG statement does not disprove the story that Zenawi is gone. The Twit in question reads: “Crisis Group is not in a position to speculate about the fate of PM Meles Zenawi, nor have we commented on it to date.” ESAT never relied on a speculation or comment from ICG. We only had privilege to access confidential information held by ICG that conclusively claimed Zenawi was dead.

I personally challenge the TPLF high command to disprove this fact instead of fabricating conflicting and contradictory stories to convince us that he was alive and kicking. Though some TPLF officials may believe that Zenawi is a superman who can be in Addis Ababa, Europe and America at the same time most Ethiopians do no buy such a fantasy.

The Ethiopian people has a right to know the whereabouts of its ruler. This will help the people of Ethiopia to make critical decisions on the future of the country. Bring Meles Zenawi out alive or in a coffin for a final farewell. Then we will stand corrected.

Whatever the case, Meles Zenawi’s grip on power is over. The political dynamics has changed permanently with his long absence and the rise of competing forces for power and control. A vicious power struggle has already begun in earnest within the TPLF clique and its servant parties.

It is fair to say good riddance to a brutal tyrant that has tortured our people for over two decades…


38 Responses to Meles Zenawi is dead

  1. bilali

    August 18, 2012 at 1:17 am

    First, to tell you the truth God can use anyone to fulfill His Goals! This time He Has used Abebe Gelaw! Abe! ™ you were not alone! He was in you and with you! He gave you the courage to roar like a lion and send that evil to hell! Believe it he is done and rest assured! Believe me I have seen it in my dream and was also fortold about four decades ago this is the end for woyanes, they are done! Just patiently watch when they are going to disappear in a way hard to believe. Difficult times are ahead of us! Our Unity is a must at all cost! Let us find a way to safeguard our country’s wealth before too late! We must be able to block all four corners of our country, Ethiopia and alert the international community to help us!

  2. I am a shin

    August 6, 2012 at 12:46 am

    I donnot care the brutal cadres admits their leaders death or not.If they under stand what they did to this country and ethiopian people he died 2005.melese and his cadres dont belong to us/ ethiopians.
    secondly we have to be united and dedicated our self to save this country and serve this great people with respect and
    all intellectuals please help this nation to lead with the sake of them ,on for power.this was the main problem in the past.
    any qulified party or personwho want to lead this great country please please —-put your bag before to be a cndidate.

  3. nuruye beyan

    August 4, 2012 at 4:14 am

    red,you wake me from my stupid sleeping as i was getting hopelessness and bitter due to this tyranny government.for sure he must be dead.our dreams is realizing.abie the great,i have no sufficient words to express my thanks to you. may allah fulfill Ur wish of patriotic feeling.waw….

  4. karakore

    August 3, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    Abe,my hero,you shake him up, you did everything.All we have to do is prying for good leader in future

  5. Goban Gergo

    August 3, 2012 at 11:39 am

    The death of dictators always not peaceful ,let him die daily in such away.there would’ve no funeral ceremony ,supporters and corrupters continue with claims that he was not died

  6. Belete

    August 1, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    The prime minister was he deceased in Brussels or Addis ababa? If he passed away in Addis Ababa, your conclusion is possibly correct. It appears that what you are expressing is that he died in Brussels. In this case your assumptions are questionable. The hospital has to report the death to some governmental organization, and the death could not be a secret since such records are readily available to the public.

  7. Daitu

    August 1, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Great journalism – Thank you Abe.

    First and foremost I am grateful to God for the knock out that was instigated by your roaring voice. The pain was intense we all saw it on his face,interesingly enough we also saw shame for the first time – He knew it in his heart that it was the final blow and fear set in. After all he was an expert at causing many deaths from his day’s in the bush so he knew it was over.

    Abe, God used you to send the last blow and to wake us all up from our lack of will and intens anger & fear. Anger is good to motivate but when you buy into the anger it can incapacitate as it did our departed dictator.

    Hope is waking us up, our hearts is steering with hope of a better day to come and for that we are truly grateful to your determination and love of freedom. However, we all need to realize that we need to believe in the Ominpresence and Ominpotent just as our forefathers did to save Ethiopia and the future generation –

    Gorgis was with Menelik and all was possible @ Adwa.

    So I put out a demand for all opposition forces to stop their petty squabbling and for a change think of the bigger picture come together agreeing to disagree but to save Country First…. and allow and respect the people to make the right choice. We have paid a heavy price so far…leave your egos at the door and sit down and iron out a strategy. There is enough for all the Universe is plentiful if we just allow and believe in a Higher Power.

    To both the religions in Ethiopia Muslims and Christians of all dinomination. It is time to call for Peace and Prayers for the country – Egzio Maherene Kristos & Allaha wu Akebere should be the cry put out by all Leadership’s that people shout out from every hamlet to village to town and cities, and all over the Diaspora. Evil has been struck down and we give thanks and raise our hands towards God. Father,shine your grace upon us and endow us with the wisdom of Understanding Peace & Love so that Freedom, Decency and a Better Life for all can ring in Ethiopia with total respect to one another. Than we can ignore the paymasters.. and find our own solutions.

    Once again Abe and all members of ESAT thank you for being the voice of the voiceless.

    ECADF thank you for your love and committment as a forum lets hold all stack holders accountable demand that they make a commitment not to their organizations but to Ethiopia First – Then all will follow.

  8. enquyaya

    August 1, 2012 at 4:52 am

    Very good,very good Abebe.What has already occured to Zinawi is only the beginning,and it is first phase;the next phase is to bring zinawi to justice,although dead.Death can not exempt zinawi from being tried in the court;therefore,we must lookforward to bringinng zinawi before the public and award him additional punishment.

  9. Gizachew

    August 1, 2012 at 4:03 am

    Thanks all for sharing your opinion specially Abebe Gellaw for your professional piece of writting.
    I just want to know what exactly happened to Meles Zenawi, He is a butchery who killed innocent young Ethiopians in 1997. That was the time for him to go for good but we couldn’t make it and that was the golden opportunity to kick TPLF out. Now he is gone unexpectidely , wishing to have a smooth transition for our innocent people.

  10. Getinet

    August 1, 2012 at 2:41 am

    Thanks Abebe. This is an excellent and convincing piece for me.

  11. asmare

    August 1, 2012 at 2:29 am

    desta said that the cristian to pray for Meles.God givis himthat havey illness becausehe killed the cristians for 20years and distroyed the cristians wealth never ever before.

    but why Tagay paulos the number one woyane cadere for 20years in orthodox church never pray MELES?

  12. Desta

    July 31, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    If Meles is very ill in hospital why didn’t as Christian person send him a priest to his bed side to do a special prayers for him? The truth is it was all to let to have any proper treatment he must have died instantly.

  13. Belayneh

    July 31, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    Abe, Even after you said that ” Meles Zenawi did crime aganist humainity,…Food without freedom is nothing…. Freedom, Freedom, Freedom!!! was the warning sound from God using you to teach all of us! The coming leaders must learn from that….

    Meles was declare that the opposition is trison, death sentence,life in prison, 18 years, 10 years etc. Even Mengistu alive, while Meles in hell hiding. Now let the others eviles in EPRDF taste the drink of Meles without any bullet…God is coming to visit by his time soon with some Evil. No Mercy…after 2005 election the God gift of Mercy is over… let some wake up if they can, but pride is their cloth. It is not fair the Tigrians owns a lot in Army, wealth, posts in Ethiopian the others ( Oromos, Amaharas, Sidama, Somali, etc) much, much less, It is unfair, unfair, unfair. People must stand up for their right now!
    Let chenge starts within us, if we see unfair thing nobody quite! If we quite then we will do again a historical mistake…

  14. Askale Dama

    July 31, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    Meles Dead, July 14, 2012


    You are a model for what we must do and how to do it. True Ethiopian, brave and professional. Books will be written on what you and others at ESAT are doing. Now, it is the task of all Ethiopian not allow another Woyane PM tomorrow or come Meskerem 1st.

  15. Teddy Fikre

    July 31, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    USELESS International Criss Group aka @CrisisGroup on twitter

    ICG is useless if they cannot ascertain whether or not Meles Zenawi is alive or dead. They most likely take US tax payer money, yet they can’t tell us where the Ethiopian tyrant is after 40 days…yup…going to write about them next…you think what I wrote about AESA One and Ethiopian Diaspora Business Forum was vicious, let me get to some research. I am about to shake and wake them to take action instead of sitting on their ICG asses!

    I just realized who yet another leech of Ethiopia is. Most likely they are holding on to information (which I have heard from multiple sources that they have an internal documents which they are holding back most likely at the behest of the TPLF government). I will do my research and make calls to my sources here and back in Ethiopia…if what I suspect is true, tomorrow I am going to unleash hell on Crisis Group the likes of which you have yet seen.

    This is why ESAT sent out the information, because duplicitous ICG is not doing their jog and telling us what is going on in Ethiopia. 40 days and Crisis Group has yet to make a formal announcement? I did not realize that Crisis Group was self-referential! I am tired of the world not paying attention to the plight of Ethiopia and it seems that Crisis Group has joined a list of many that are pillaging Ethiopia in the name of good governance..

    If you are on Twitter, tweet ICG at @CrisisGroup and tell them to do their Goddamn job and tell us what is going on in Ethiopia!

    Thank you Mistella Mekonnen for inspiring me with the post you posted about ICG. HEBRET

    Check tomorrow at 10:30 AM EST for new devastating piece about these useless bandas by the name of International crisis Group.

  16. Elohie

    July 31, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Our hero Abe, u did it well the bandas year is over. We Ethiopians need our heros Eskindir nega, Andualem Aragie to be with us. The dictator is realy expired. We hv a dream to see u… Abe you are the real jornalist .

  17. Hopeful

    July 31, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Thank you God! One less evil tyrant in the world!!!!
    Words cannot express my gratitude to my Ethiopian brother Abebe Gelaw. I will never forget that day when you scared the living daylights out of that mass murderer,what a thrill to watch! From that day forward, that so called leader never been the same. And now, gone out of our lives forever. Abebe Gelaw, Thank you and God bless you and your loved ones. Keep up the excellent work you and the likes of you are doing. You guys give Ethiopians hope.

  18. Tenesa

    July 31, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Great Job, Abebe.

    We all have noticed the dumb tricks TPLF have used in the past four weeks to hoodwink the Ethiopian public as well as the world. They keep pumping one lie and one liar at a time. Journalists, TPLF newspapers, Sibhat Nega, Bereket Simon and on and on. They continue to lie, but they refuse to show him. All they have to do is show Meles Zenawi. Bring this tyrant out for the world to see through that window that Zenawi loves so much. We will then believe them. It is easy.

    But the fact of the matter is that there is nothing to show. The logical conclusion is that Zenawi is dead. There is nothing to show anybody. And there is a reason why they are lying. They know the impact of the death of Zenawi on TPLF and its power structure. When a dictator goes out, the whole thing collapses. And it is dangerous for them.

    For example, if it is clear that Zenawi is dead, the command structure in the military can be broken and low level officers with grudges may refuse to take orders. Or TPLF lovers who have become millionaires may decide to run away with their money. Or disgruntled TPLF members at the highest level may consider a government takeover or an assassination attempt against those inner circles of Zenawi. Or it may spark a violent uprising in Ethiopia that may turn into a nation wide revolution because Ethiopia is already pregnant with a revolution.

    The impact of a dictator’s death like Zenawi is countless and all of these possibilities work against TPLF. So, they need to buy time at this critical period to settle and reorganize themselves. This is a golden break and a psychological upper hand they have to have if TPLF is to survive in the future. They will say and do anything to get this priceless break. It is a matter of life and death to them. And we should deny them this break by hook or by crook.

    Please read Abebe Gellaw’s logical conclusion on the attached PDF entitled, “Meles Zenawi is dead.”

  19. Merdasa

    July 31, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Magnificent journalism Abe!
    The burden of proof is now in the hands TPLF’s ruling clique.Let them bring him in person to convince the people.

  20. Beza

    July 31, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Abebe –

    Thank you for your bravery and clarity of journalism. Regardless of what happened to the fascist Meles, Abebe we Ethiopians are deeply indebted to your courage, professional excellence and outstanding citizenry.

    In case he is still alive, I wish the once brute tyrant, Meles Zenawi & family, suffering in death. The pain and suffering he caused to millions of Ethiopians over a span of 21 years is immeasurable – now Ethiopians have to concentrate in how to bring his criminal family and collaborators to justice.

    Death to Woyane and Long Live Ethiopia!!!

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