18 July 2012 [ESAT]
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s health has been the hottest political talk among Ethiopians all over the world even more so in Tigray, says our reporter in the region. Since the reappearance of the Prime Minister after a month long disappearance last June at a G2 Summit in Mexico, his health status has been a subject of discussion among the public. However the level of public interest and the rate at which various accounts are circulating around metropolitan Mekele has reached a fever pitch since last week. There are two opposing rumours going around. One section of the community believes either Meles is terminally ill or may even is dead while others think Meles has only a minor health issue and will be back in control sometime soon.
Life is the same all over the region. Nonetheless given the level of public interest in the matter the situation could change easily if any of the rumours about the Prime Minister turn out to be accurate. A former comrade of the Prime Minister and now a member of an opposition party say ‘the government has to be forthcoming with the information about the health state of the Prime Minster. Any move to hide the truth from the public wouldn’t serve either the government or the country.’ The individual concluded his remark by downplaying the political ramification of the Prime Minister’s illness or death in the immediate political dynamics of the country.
Various account of the Prime Minsters health state is circulating at various outlets. Some speculation goes as far as declaring that he is dead. The speculation that has received traction is the account that he is terminally ill so much so he had to miss numerous important events ranging from Parliamentary sessions to AU and NEPAD meetings in Addis Ababa. Currently some say he is inside Ethiopia while others speculate he is still abroad getting treatment. Not long after Temesgen Desalegn of Fetehe Newspaper stated on his Facebook page that the Prime Minister is back in Addis, the London based daily Telegraph, quoting a diplomat in Addis, declared the Prime Minister is still abroad receiving treatment.
The public interest in the health of the Prime Minister is huge. Our news desk is receiving a more than usual public request regarding rumours circulating around. The Ethiopian social media scene is abuzz with rumours, cartoons and political statements.
Meles was born in Tigray, and the 17 year gorrilla war that brought him to power was initiated and waged from that region.
According to a Voanews report, the Ethiopian government is said to have organized a press conference for Wednesday afternoon to clarify the matter to the public.