Rwandese Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo Pays Tribute to Meles Zenawi

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Photo: Rwandese Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo

By Frank Kanyesigye

Former Ethiopian leader Meles Zenawi was a friend, comrade, great leader and a true son of Africa with exemplary dedication to Ethiopia and to the African Continent, Louise Mushikiwabo has said.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, in a glowing tribute, also commended Zenawi’s visionary policies and his belief in the ability of Ethiopians to transform their lives.

Mushikiwabo was speaking during Zenawi’s first memorial service at at Gulele Botanical Gardens in Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

Zenawi, who ruled Ethiopia for 17 years, died on August 20, last year, in a Brussels hospital after a long illness. He took power after toppling Mengistu Hailemariam.

Representing President Paul Kagame at the anniversary, Mushikiwabo said: “Meles Zenawi dedicated his entire political life in the service of his people, always searching for answers to Ethiopia’s development challenges, and what would propel Africans forward. In this search, he was steadfast, selfless and uncompromising.”

She commended Zenawi’s policies and belief in the ability of Ethiopians to transform their lives.

“We take pride in Meles Zenawi’s transformational leadership that led to impressive levels of social and economic development in a short time. We have to have the conviction that it can be done, the will to do it and the ability to rally our people to this need.”

Upholding Zenawi’s dream
The minister added: “Zenawi had all this and the progress that Ethiopia has made and continues to make is an unmistakable sign of his great leadership and that of his successor.”

“We must do everything possible to ensure that the many contributions he made to the emancipation of our continent will never be forgotten. We must uphold and promote his message that Africa must make its own decisions.”

She called for honouring of Meles Zenawi’s legacy through action.

The occasion brought together, Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, President’s Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, Ismail Guelleh of Djibouti, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of Somalia, Edward Ssekandi, the Vice President of Uganda, Joseph Lenku, Cabinet Secretary of Kenya and Barnabas Benjamin, Foreign Minister of South Sudan.

The event saw the unveiling of a cornerstone for the construction of a public park and library in honour of Zenawi as well as a photo exhibition of key moments that marked his life.

Contact email: frank.kanyesigye[at]newtimes.co.rw