What’s wrong with Ethiopia’s prime minister?

He is ill, said his government – at first. Then contrary statements denied that he was ill, or that he was ill but not seriously so, though all levels of government refused to go into detail, so spurring further speculation still.

By Thursday the most credible reports placed him in a Brussels hospital best known for treating blood cancers, undergoing treatment for a condition on the wrong side of serious, but with no clear prognosis.

The fate of Zenawi is of more than passing interest to a significant swath of Africa, as well as to the United States and incoming African Union head Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Loved by some, loathed by many, Zenawi has kept control of Ethiopia for more than two decades, seeing off Islamist rebels and keeping the country relatively stable amid the chaos that engulfed Somalia, Eritrea, and threatens to worsen along the border between Sudan and South Sudan.

While his tactics of intimidation and persecution of opposition figures won him few accolades, his willingness to go to war with al-Qaeda aligned forces in the region won him the support of Western powers.

He was due to remain in office until 2015.

There is no clear line of succession for the top post.

His wife, Azeb Mesfin, has been mooted as a successor, but at least three other high-ranking officials are also thought to be in the running.

Each has sway over different constituencies within the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front.

But diplomats have been loath to make any predictions on success.

"It's a big-man situation," said one. "After so long it's difficult to imagine anybody else in control."

Advertisting

Aggett tormentor had a ‘morbid’ obsession — Barbara Hogan

The former minister told the inquest into the trade unionist Neil Aggett’s death that security branch interrogator Stephan Whitehead was voyeuristic

ANC and the state step back from taking action against...

Despite alleged abuses of power and people’s trust, the ANC appears to have abandoned plans to reform the controversial Ingonyama Trust Board
Advertising

Press Releases

UKZN scientists make the grade

Dr Veron Ramsuran and Dr Lenine Liebenberg have been named in the African Academy of Science's top 40 list.

Wellcome Trust award goes to UKZN mental health champion

Dr Andr? J van Rensburg, a senior researcher in UKZN's Centre for Rural Health, received the Wellcome Trust Discretionary Award.

MTN gears up to deliver improved customer service

On 28 January, the first batch of MTN contract customers will be migrated onto the new customer service platform.

Request for expression of interest on analysis of quality and outcome indicators for regional and district hospitals in Lesotho

Introduction The Ministry of Health of Lesotho with the support of the World Bank funded Nutrition and Health Systems Strengthening...

MiX Telematics enhances in-vehicle video camera solution

The company has launched the gold MiX Vision Bureau Service, which includes driver-coaching tools to ensure risky driver behaviour can be addressed proactively and efficiently.

Boosting safety for cargo and drivers

The use of a telematics system for fleet vehicles has proved to be an important tool in helping to drive down costs and improve efficiency, says MiX Telematics Africa.

Silencing the guns and firearms amnesty

Silencing the guns and firearms amnesty

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity