Thursday, August 09, 2012

Ethiopians contemplate a nation without Prime Minister Meles Zenawi

(Aug 09, 2012, ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia)--When the summer rains come, as they have in cleansing torrents over recent weeks, the 3 million residents of Ethiopia’s smog-choked capital usually inhale a little more deeply and exhale a little more freely.But at this moment it seems the entire city is holding its breath.

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, the rebel-turned-technocrat who has led Ethiopia since 1991, is sick. And his long absence from public view has given Ethiopians cause to contemplate what their nation — now enjoying one of the longest sustained periods of economic development in its history — might look like without him.

“We are worried,” said Makeda Taye, who will enter college in Addis Ababa this fall having known life under no other leader. “This country has grown stronger and it’s not certain — did it grow this way because of Meles or in spite of him? In absence of knowing one way or the other, we prefer things the way they are.”

The U.S. government has long viewed Meles as a stable partner in a region peppered with despots and religious extremists. The United States has given Ethi­o­pia, which serves as an ally in the fight against terrorism and hosts a base for U.S. drones, hundreds of millions of dollars in aid over the years. Read more from Washington Post  » 

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