Dictator Meles Zenawi has died at the age of 57: ESAT

ESAT: Dictator Meles Zenawi has died at the age of 57

July 31, 2012 — Prime Minsiter Meles Zenawi passed away from an unspecified aliment in a Brussels hospital, according to Ethiopian Satellite Radio and Television (ESAT) in its nightly raido broadcast.

Citing the International Crisis Group and western diplomatic sources for its claims, the Amsterdam-based news agency said the 57-year-old dictator's death is being covered up by the regime to buy time for a successor.

Meles, whose appearance is the daily diet of the State media, has not been publicly seen in 40 days, fueling speculations that his health has deteriorated. During his absence, he has missed key events, including the two-day AU Summit held in Addis Ababa and a number of state visits.

Last week, unnamed European diplomats told the AFP and the Telegraph news agencies that Meles was in 'critical' condition and may not survive his aliment.

The other day, veteran fighter and Tigrayan Peoples Liberation Front founder, Sehbat Nega, said Meles is still in a European hospital but is not sure to which country. This uncertainty comes two weeks after he said Meles would return within a few days.

Sources say a select few of TPLF bigwigs are in the know of Meles deteroriting health status. Even senior officials within the TPLF party are being kept in the dark to prevent a power struggle from within.

Talk of Meles' health troubles has Addis Ababa on edge. Recently, An Ethiopian court banned distribution of a newspaper that published front-page articles about premier's health on the grounds of endangering 'national security'.

Secret emergency meetings of senior TPLF officials are underway

Secret emergency meetings of senior TPLF officials are underway

July 26, 2012 — Senior officials of the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) have been holding a series of emergency meetings in the capital, Addis Ababa, over the passed few days, according to a source with ties to the secretive Ethiopian National Intelligence Security Service (NISS).

The ongoing meetings have predominantly focused on three main topics: Meles Zenawi's serious aliment; the possibility of needing a successor within the immediate future and on how to handle the ongoing Muslim demonstrations, according to a source who declined to be named for fear of reprisals.

TPLF bigwigs are reportedly split on how to deal with the massive Ethiopian demonstrators in the capital of late. Some party officials have cautioned if they do not meet some of their demands, it may intensify and become an Egyptian-style revolution. Getachew Assefa, the head of NISS, on his part, argued caving in to their demands will only embolden them. The 53-year-old chief officer suggested tougher measures as a solution.

Party officials also began preliminary deliberations on a successor in the event Meles fails to recover from his unspecified aliment that has left him absent from public light for over a month. Sources say senior officials have already began vying for support from party members to be the next Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, news agencies loyal to the government have been airing conflicting reports of Meles' whereabouts to confuse the masses. Last Sunday, government-owned Addis Fortune reported Meles was 'back in town', while Ethiopianreporter, a longtime mouthpiece of the government, said he was on vacation in the United States yesterday. Neither of their claims were independently verified and were largely dismissed by Ethiopians and western news agencies as propaganda.

Is it the end of an era? Dictator Meles Zenawi has been
absent for a month and is reportedly seriously ill -
In the event he does not make it, senior TPLF officials begin talks
to replace him yesterday 

The unusual absence of Dictator Meles Zenawi

Where is dictator Meles Zenawi? 

It's been 31 days and counting since Ethiopia's dictator has made a public appearance.  It seems everyone in Ethiopia is asking one question: where is Meles Zenawi? Given that Primer's appearance is the daily staple of state media, this has, understandably, raised speculation that he is seriously ill and perhaps, even, incapacitated.

Yesterday, citing an anonymous source, state-owned Addis Fortune claimed 'Meles is back in Ethiopia.' The report gave no details of his whereabouts or what he's aliment is; nor did it say when the ailing Premier will be back on the job. The entire claim felt as if it was done to calm the fears of regime loyalist; rather than a report based on facts. It is also important to note, Addis Fortune said Meles would be back within a week in early July but that claim never materialized.

Contrary to what the government and its many websites would want the people to believe, no healthy person takes 31 days off for 'exhaustion' at a hospital. Anyone who spends that much time off usually is battling something serious that tends to leave them bedridden and clinging to life.

Not surprisingly, unnamed western diplomats, who have nothing to gain in spreading disinformation, reveled to the Telegraph and AFP news agencies that Meles is in 'critical' condition and 'may not survive.' This seems to be the best explanation for his unusual absence. A person missing for that length of time at a hospital is surely not battling the common cold or exhaustion.

So where is Meles? As they say in Ethiopian politics: there is the opposition's claim, the regime's claim and then there's the truth. If you were to disregard both sides and strictly focus on neutral and credible sources, then your answer would be: Meles is in critical condition in a Brussels' hospital and may not survive.

In any case, Meles' illness has had social networking sites and search engines trending his name. A hashtag called #WhereIsMeles was created to poke fun of the regime's mafia-style silence by tweeting funny one-liners of his whereabouts. Additionally, for several days, Meles was even searched more on Google than Syrian President Bashar al-Assad; who is battling a full-fledged civil war with US-backed rebels.

Crime Minister Meles Zenawi is missing

Dictator Meles Zenawi has not been seen in public for 31 days

The Ethiopian revolution will not be televised

The Ethiopian revolution will not be Televised

For over eight months, hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian Muslims and some Christians have been demonstrating after every Friday prayer against government oppression and interference in their religious affairs. Despite some journalist calling these demonstrations "Africa’s biggest protests since Tahrir Square," little attention has been given to them by most western news agencies. Even the seemingly protest-obsessed Al-Jazeera English has been unusually silent about these massive demonstrations that have been rocking Addis Ababa of late.

So what gives you say? It's likely the United States is playing a key role in all this by politically shielding and financially supporting Ethiopia's one-man-regime. In fact, a 2009 Wikileaks cable written by Donald Yamamoto, the former  U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, candidly explains their unyielding support for the Meles-led Government, even after the regime shot and killed 193 unarmed protesters after the sham 2005 elections:
While Meles's comments about Getachew and Gen. Samora are clearly disingenuous, we do believe that this posturing reflects a genuine fear on the part of the GoE (Government of Ethiopia) that this "shift" will weaken their position domestically and internationally, thus opening the door for their "enemies" to gain more power and/or traction. This is not an unreasonable conclusion on their part given the de facto cover that the USG (United States Government) has provided them over the past few years -- particularly after 2005 -- and what it might mean if that cover was reduced. (emphasis mines)

Another reason why western media outlets are not covering the events is because the regime has sealed off the locations from the few western reporters in the country. When VOA's correspondent Peter Heinlein and his translator Simegineh Yekoye went to cover the demonstrations, Ethiopian security agents quickly put them in custody and charged them for 'illegal reporting'. More recently, William Davison, Bloomberg's correspondent in Ethiopia, attempted to gain access to the protests a few days ago, and he too was interrogated and blocked from covering the events by security officials (see picture below).

But in Ethiopia, not all reporters are treated equally. For example, Reuter's correspondent Aaron Massho, who is Ethiopian, has not only covered the demonstrations, but was given unprecedented access to the protest areas on more than a few occasions. This is particularly odd when you consider the regime has blocked access to all other western reporters and human rights organizations. In a country where critical reporting of the government can earn you decades in prison, one can only conclude Aaron has struck a deal with the regime. Indeed, reading Aaron's reports of the demonstrations and of the region as a whole, it almost reads as if government spokesperson Bereket Simons edited them himself. 

In any case, as the protesters gain momentum and demand an end to oppression and interferences in their religious affairs, the government will continue to intimidate, arrest and use violence to suppress them. The U.S. Government on its part will turn a blind eye and continue to politically shield the regime, while reporters such as Aaron Massho of Reuters will go on to give a distorted, biased and rosy image of the events for international consumption, even as several western nations have already started issuing travel warnings for their citizens in Addis Ababa, due to the heavy-handed crackdowns the government has unleashed.

Ethiopian security agents firing teargas on protesters

Ethiopian protesters cross their hands, signaling to the regime that
they may arrest them but can't stop their revolution 
Bloomberg Willam Davison being blocked from reporting
the massive protests in Addis Ababa - July 20, 2012
A sign from an Ethiopian protester reads: 'If answer to peaceful
request is prison, then know that we are ready to die'
Chinese made teargas fired on Ethiopian protesters. The
Government denies it used tear gas but this is damning evidence
it certainly did. 

Ethiopian Dictator Meles Zenawi returns to Ethiopia

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi returned from Brussels today

July 22, 2012 — Meles Zenawi returned to Ethiopia today, after being hospitalized in Brussels for an unspecified aliment, according to Tesfalem Waldyes, a Mekele-based reporter and a longtime regime loyalist.

Details of what Meles is suffering from were not reveled and no word was given on when he will officially return to his duties. 

It is likely the escalating Muslim unrest in the capital and fighting among senior TPLF bigwigs may have compelled him to return earlier than recommended.

The 57-year-old primer has not made a public appearance since June 19, 2012 when he attended the G20 meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico. During the event, he appeared visibly gaunt and emaciated, fueling speculation that his health was failing him.  

On Wednesday, several western diplomatic sources disclosed Meles was being treated in Brussels and was in 'critical' condition, prompting Communications Minister Bereket Simon to issue a press conference to dismiss the claims. 

Since Meles' absence, his handpicked Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, has filled in for him and attended a number of key events, including the two-day AU Summit, New Partnership for Africa's Development meeting and a visit to Beijing to attend the fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.

Prime Minster of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi
Addis Fortune Newspaper Reports Meles is back in town

Ethiopia cracks down on Muslim protesters in Addis Ababa

Ethiopia cracks down on Muslim protesters in Addis Ababa

July 21, 2012 —  Ethiopian authorities clashed with Muslim protesters Saturday afternoon in the capital, Addis Ababa, after police raided Anwar Mosque and began beating and rounding up demonstrators into custody, witnesses said.

“Police broke inside the mosque and arrested many people, including several members of the (protest organizing) committee. They also fired teargas at protesters outside,” said a demonstrator, who spoke on conditions of anonymity to Reuters news agency.

On Friday, during the first day of the Muslim holy month Ramadan, over 1.5 million Ethiopian Muslims protested in the capital over what they say are increased government oppression and interferences in their religious affairs.

Communications Minister Bereket Simon disclosed yesterday an unspecified number of Muslim leaders were arrested for last week’s disturbances that left five unarmed protesters killed and over a hundred in custody, after police raided several mosques throughout the capital.

Some of the 17-member Committee leaders detained yesterday are Imam Sayd Ali, Ustaz Ahmeddin Jebel and Ustaz Ahmed Mustefa. All three, along with a number of others, were charged on trumped-up terrorism charges today.

Amid escalating violence and growing unrest in Ethiopia, the United Kingdom has issued a travel warning for its citizens in Ethiopia today, asking its nationals to be`cautious' in public places.

Ethiopian protesters in Addis Ababa - July 21, 2012

Ethiopian protesters in Addis Ababa - July 21, 2012

Ethiopian protesters in Addis Ababa - July 21, 2012 

Meles Zenawi 'may not survive' - European Diplomats

Meles Zenawi 'may not survive' - European Diplomats

July 18, 2012 —  Ethiopian strongman Meles Zenawi may not survive his battle with an unspecified illness that's thought to be blood cancer, according to western diplomatic sources who spoke to the Telegraph news agency.

The 57-year-old dictator is being treated in a Brussels hospital as a private patient and is listed as being in 'critical' condition by European officials who asked not to be named.

"He is being treated as a private person and the information is confidential but it is understood that he is critically ill," a diplomat informed the London-based news agency.

The ailing premier is thought to suffer from a number of illnesses including blood cancer, brain tumor and type 2 diabetes.

After weeks of denial, the Ethiopian government admitted Meles was being hospitalized on Monday but denied he was in critical condition.

A scheduled news conference by the government to clear up his health status to the media Wednesday afternoon was postponed without explanation, leaving many citizens to wonder if the regime is buying time for a successor.

Meles Zenawi facing death

Breaking News: Meles Zenawi is in Critical Condition

Ethiopia: Meles Zenawi is in critical condition

July 18, 2012 —  Agence France-Presse (AFP) has just reported from Brussels that Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia's longtime ruler, is in "critical" condition and that his "life is in danger."

Citing several western diplomatic sources, AFP is the first major western news agency to claim Meles' health status as being in a critical state.

The Ethiopian government has also cancelled a scheduled news conference on Meles' ailing health today, raising further speculations that the regime is in no mood to admit the 57-year-old prime minister is gravely ill and near death.

Voice of America's David Arnold first reported the government would give a news conference on the premier's health yesterday, however, our sources in the capital confirmed it has been cancelled.

Meles, who has battled substance abuse his entire adult life, has not been publicly seen in weeks. Last Monday, his hand-picked deputy prime minister and foreign minister, Hailemariam Desalegne, confirmed Meles is in poor health, but declined to give specifics.

AFP reports Meles Zenawi is in critical condition and near death

Ethiopia cancels press conference on Meles Zenawi's health

Ethiopia cancels press conference on Meles Zenawi's health

July 18, 2012 — The Ethiopian government cancelled a scheduled news conference on Meles Zenawi's ailing health today, raising further speculations that the regime is in no mood to admit the 57-year-old prime minister is gravely ill.

Voice of America's David Arnold first reported the government would give a news conference on the premier's health yesterday, however, our sources in the capital confirmed it has been cancelled.

Meles, who has battled substance abuse his adult life, has not been publicly seen in weeks. Last Monday, his handpicked deputy prime minister and foreign minister, Hailemariam Desalegne, confirmed that Meles is in poor health, but declined to give specifics.

Just now, Capital FM, a Kenyan-based news agency has reported through its Twitter account that Meles is in a 'critical' state in Brussels. No further details were given and their claim has not be independently verified.

Meles Zenawi is terminally ill; not dead

Meles Zenawi is terminally ill; not dead

For several weeks, the regime in Addis Ababa has vigorously been denying reports of Meles' ailing health. Instead of being forthcoming and transparent like normal governments; the secretive oligarchy remained silent. But even under this strict mafia-style code of silence, loose lips were bound to sink their ship.

The first credible confirmation of Meles' aliment came from the Senegalese President Makcy Sall. After the aging premier failed attend the New Partnership for Africa's Development meeting last Saturday, President Sall informed participants he was unable to be present due "to health conditions."

The second credible verification of Meles deteriorating health troubles came from Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who sent a cable congratulating the ailing dictator for his "successful surgery in Germany."

The latest bit of information from the Telegraph news agency contradicts the Egyptian President's claim of Meles receiving surgery in Germany. Quoting an unnamed Western diplomat, the London-based news agency said: "Mr Zenawi is in Brussels receiving treatment.

Based on the scant information available, it's apparently clear Meles is in poor health. When you add the length of time he's been absent from the public spotlight, coupled with his severe weight loss and gaunt appearance of late, it's easy to conclude Meles' health has failed him and is battling some type of serious illness

Recently, the Texas-based Ethiopian National Transitional Council released an email press release claiming Meles had passed away. Our sources, however, indicate that he is still alive but is terminally ill from cancer.

Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how the regime tries to spin the mounting evidence that indicates he is gravely ill. Tomorrow's scheduled press conference to 'inform' the public on his ailing health will likely be nothing more than the usual disinformation or downplaying that Ethiopians have been accustomed to. What the regime fails to understand is their lengthy silence on this matter already revealed more than we could imagine.

Dictator Meles Zenawi visibly thinner and frail

Ethiopia: Meles Zenawi was in a coma

Meles Zenawi was put under a medically-induced coma in Germany

July 16, 2012 — Ethiopian despot Meles Zenawi was put under a medically-induced coma last Wednesday, while undergoing major surgery in an undisclosed hospital in Germany, according to a source with ties to NISS.

"I can confirm with certainty that German doctors had put Meles in a medical-induced coma late last Wednesday, while they operated on him for six hours," our contact said by phone. "He is now on his way to Ethiopia," he added.

Citing high ranking intelligence officials, our source also reveled Meles has been visibly depressed for several weeks, after doctors informed him he is terminally ill from cancer and likely has 6-12 months to live.

Government officials have remained silent on Meles' health troubles. Questions from western news agencies have been ignored, leaving many opposition websites to speculate the aging premier is seriously ill.

After failing to appear at the opening of the NEPAD meeting on Saturday, Senegalese President Macky Sall gave the first government-level indication to Meles' illness after explaining the premier was unable to be present due "to health conditions." 

On Sunday, western news agencies began airing stories of Meles' failing health, when for the first time since assuming office in 1991, he did not attend the AU Summit. In place of him was Hailemariam Desalegn, the deputy prime minister who wields no real authority.

Dictator Meles Zenawi is terminally ill with cancer 

Ethiopia: Meles Zenawi's deteriorating health confirmed

Meles Zenawi's deteriorating health confirmed

July 14, 2012 — Ethiopian despot Meles Zenawi failed to attend the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) meeting and the opening of the AU Summit in Addis Ababa, due to his deteriorating health problems, according to the President of Senegal.

In place of Meles, who is the current chairperson of NEPAD, Macky Sall, the newly-elected President of Senegal, opened the event and briefly informed members of Meles' poor health as the cause of his absence.

"PM Meles is not attending this meeting with us this afternoon for health reason. We would like to express that we wish him to recover soon to a better health," President Sall notified attendees.

Since attending the G20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico last month, Meles has not been publicly seen. During his absence, he has missed key events, including parliamentary sessions, TPLF martyrs' day ceremony, NEPAD meeting and the today's opening of the AU Summit.

Based on Meles' notorious tobacco and alcohol consumption, and on his recent thin and frail appearances, a doctor from Addis Ababa explained Meles' aliments are serious and could be potentially life threatening.

"I think Meles' weight loss and gaunt appearance, coupled with his excessive tobacco and alcohol consumption, all indicates to me he is suffering from something very serious and could potentially be life threatening," the Dr. said by phone, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

A visibly thin and frail Meles Zenawi at Los Cabos, Mexico - June 18, 2012

Ethiopia: Police kill at least 4 demonstrators in Addis Ababa

Ethiopia: Police kill at least 4 demonstrators in Addis Ababa

July 14, 2012 — At least four Ethiopian demonstrators were shot and killed last night in Addis Ababa, after police raided a number of mosques throughout the capital in an attempt to disrupt an ongoing anti-Ahbash movement.

“They broke the door and entered and started shooting at Muslims,” Ahmedin told Bloomberg news by phone. “Many were attacked and they arrested almost all of those there," he added.

The bloody crackdown lasted several hours and left hundreds injured and in custody. Witnesses report dozens of people were beaten severely and left for dead, while others were even shot after being apprehended by security forces.

In response to the bloody crackdown, thousands of mostly young Ethiopian demonstrators poured to the streets early in the morning and marched towards Anwar mosque, while chanting for the end of Meles Zenawi's 21 year rule.

It is to be recalled, six people were killed in a similar clash with security forces on April 27, in the town of Asasa in the Arsi Zone of Oromia region, after government forces raided the mosque in an attempt to end anti-Abash demonstrations.

Meles Zenawi is 'terminally ill' with cancer

July 12, 2012 — Ethiopian dictator Meles Zenawi is secretly receiving medical treatment in Brussels this week, after the 57-year-old former guerrilla fighter was diagnosed with a severe case of blood cancer.

Adding creditably to reports of his deteriorating health, Meles has rescheduled all public appearances for the last two weeks, including presiding over his rubber-stamp parliament, an unprecedented move.

Meles, who has battled substance abuse his entire adult life, has not been publicly seen in weeks, raising speculation that his health is to blame. Sources say Meles suffers from a number of aliments, including blood cancer, brain tumor, type 2 diabetes and depression.

"I've been tipped off by his inner circle that his rapid weight loss and frail appearance of late is due to radical treatment being given to Meles in an attempt to save his life. Belgium doctors have informed him he is terminally ill and likely has 6-12 months to live. To put it bluntly: he's only buying time," said a source with ties to elusive Ethiopian National Intelligence and Security Service (ENISS).

It is not clear who would take over Ethiopia if Meles' health continues to spiral out of control. Sources say TPLF bigwigs are split among two factions: General Samora Yunis and the Head of Government Communications, Bereket Simon. With the head of ENISS backing General Samora Yenus, and rank and file politicians supporting Bereket Simon, conflict almost looks certain.

Reports indicate rebel groups in the country have increased assaults on military position after learning of Meles health deteriorating. One military clash last week between TPDM and EDF inside the Enticho district killed 43 EDF members and wounded dozens more.

Meles Zenawi is "terminally ill" with cancer