Ethiopia: First Year Memorial Service Held for Meles Zenawi


BY Nesru Jemal

The first year anniversary of the passing of Ethiopia’s late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was marked on Tuesday, with the laying of a commemorative stone in the presence of Heads of State and Government from IGAD neighboring states and dignitaries.

Among those present at the memorial service were President Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan, President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of Somalia and the Vice-President Edward Ssevandi of Uganda as well as the Foreign Ministers of Rwanda and of South Sudan and the Chief Cabinet Secretary of Kenya.

Prime Minister Hailemariam remembered Meles as a strong leader who build up the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and Ethiopia on strong democratic and developmental foundations.

He also noted that Meles was a strong advocate of Africa who pioneered the continent’s ability to speak with one voice in various international fora.

He expressed his government’s commitment to keeping alive Meles by realizing the renaissance of “this great nation”.

Azeb Mesfin, the widow of the late great leader underlined his commitment and absolute partiality to the people of Ethiopia. President Omar Al-Bashir said Meles Zenawi was a great African leader who did the best he could for the peace, security, development and democracy of Africa and the world.

He described Meles’ unwavering support to peace and stability in the Sudan as “unforgettable”, and added that his wisdom has done much to many of the contentious issues.

Other speakers, including the Presidents of Djibouti and Somalia, recognized the late Prime Minister’s immense contributions to his country, to the IGAD region and to the whole of Africa. They paid tribute to his outstanding efforts at both national and continental level to maintain regional peace and security, as well as his leading role in environmental protection and climate change negotiations.

Following the speeches, the first anniversary of the passing of Prime Minister Meles was marked by the laying of a commemorative stone in the presence of the over 800 local and international guests at a site in the newly designated and specially designed Meles Zenawi Memorial Park, which will be home to a state-of-the-art Library and Research Centre. The Memorial Park is a comprehensive concept that includes uniquely designed research and conference facilities, library, offices, and guesthouse; a special site for the Prime Minister’s tomb; artworks integrated into the landscape; and places that communicate details of the Prime Minister’s life to visitors as they walk along a path that leads through a restored indigenous forest comprising trees and plants from all over Ethiopia. The Meles Zenawi Foundation will support scholarly studies on the late Prime Minister’s life and works, taking forward his lifelong commitment to peace, justice, climate-resilient economic development, good governance, and democracy for the Ethiopian and African peoples.

In addition to the Library and Research Centre within the Meles Zenawi Memorial Park, the Meles Foundation will support environmental protection through advocacy and education and produce educational programs as well as provide study grants and awards for outstanding achievements.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs