Published on 23 August 2012

Zenawi's death leaves a ticking time-bomb

Meles Zenawi's death leaves a ticking time-bomb

The death of Ethiopian prime minister Meles Zenawi on the night of Aug. 20 will amount to no less than a time-bomb for the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and for its hard core, the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) because it will ignite previously restrained ambitions of his would-be successors.
Haile Mariam Desalegn, former adviser to the Prime Minister and current vice prime minister, was named as acting leader. But there's no saying Desalegn, an engineer from southern Ethiopia who was Meles Zenawi's favorite, will be able to impose his authority in lasting fashion on TPLF bosses from the north of the country.

Despite an appearance of calm, the fight for power has already begun behind the scenes. Some TPLF leaders like Meles Zenawi's widow, Azeb Mesfin, whose political ambitions grate on others in the party, could seek the top post for themselves or for one of their own. The leaders Amharas and Oromos from EPRDF are calling for the post to fall to a non-Tigrean. This report will help you examine the complicated equation of Meles Zenawi's succession.

This article may be accessed by subscribers and e-wallet holders (EUR 29)
Log in to read more

Subscribe or Pay-Per-Article
Discover our offers
ETHIOPIA 21/09/2012

Who will really run the country? 

Now that the posts of Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister have been distributed, the organisation of post-Meles Zenawi power is beginning to take shape. [...]

Spotlight ETHIOPIA 24/08/2012

Meles Zenawi's succession, a tightrope act 

While his sickness did not give Prime Minister Meles Zenawi time to prepare for his succession, he was nevertheless able to sow the seeds of it in the ministerial reshuffle that followed the general election in May 2010. [...]

ETHIOPIA 20/07/2012

The problem of Meles' successor 

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is currently in hospital in Belgium for a serious illness. This brings up a taboo subject – who is to succeed him! [...]

ETHIOPIA 22/06/2012

Meles controls everything but VSAT 

Filtering the Internet, banning Skype and monitoring cell calls and text messages: the EPRDF government wants its hand on all international communications. [...]


Meles tests Afeworki's reactions 

After several years of being not quite at war nor quite at peace, the two sparring partners are gradually coming round to intermittent armed confrontation. [...]

ETHIOPIA 10/02/2012

USA already looks to post- Meles 

Some Ethiopian opponents are convinced that the United States may have already begun to discuss the succession of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. [...]

Spotlight ETHIOPIA 15/04/2011

Meles Zenawi obliged to govern by fear 

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi learned one major lesson from the 2005 general election that he almost lost, which has since served as his guiding principle in politics: never let the opposition have any breathing space. [...]

ETHIOPIA 28/10/2011

Haile Mariam Desalegn is uneasy 

The Minister for Foreign Affairs feels a bit upstaged by his Secretary of State Berhane Gebre-Christos. [...]

ETHIOPIA 18/03/2011

Desalegn and Oqubay travel round USA 

The Ethiopian diplomats on post in the USA are discreetly preparing meetings with the Diaspora in several American cities. [...]

ETHIOPIA 08/10/2010

Political renovation a smokescreen 

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has made quite a few changes to his government team. However, the majority were promotions for his most loyal allies. [...]

ETHIOPIA 24/09/2010

Haile Mariam Desalegn 

The new Vice President of the Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF, ruling coalition), Haile Mariam Desalegn, is a loyal [...]

ETHIOPIA 23/12/2011

TPLF sets up in Mekele 

Some members of the central committee of the ruling TPLF have cornered land near Mekele on which to build luxury villas. Here is our exclusive report. [...]

ETHIOPIA 11/11/2011

The rise and rise of Azeb Mesfin  Free

Abadi Zemo, the CEO of the Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT), a consortium of companies linked to [...]

ETHIOPIA 18/02/2011

Is Azeb Mesfin Meles's weakest link? 

The Prime Minister's wife has become the pet hate of opponents in the Diaspora, because of both her taste for shopping and the role she plays in parliament. [...]

ETHIOPIA 22/10/2010

Azeb Mesfin harbours a stubborn grudge in Ethiopia 

Although he is a staunch supporter of the TPLF (hard [...]

Breaking news ETHIOPIA 14/09/2010

Debate over Azeb Mesfin's promotion 

The appointment of Azeb Mesfin to the executive committee of [...]

Spotlight ETHIOPIA 26/03/2010

Meles Zenawi bolts down the election 

While he is the darling of Washington and London because of the well-oiled free-market economic views that he holds forth in international inner circles, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi does not show the same openness of mind when it comes to [. [...]

ETHIOPIA 12/03/2010

Seye Abraha issues warnings 

The former minister for defence who became a dissident has spoken out in the debate on the past diversion of humanitarian aid by the TPLF. [...]

New: Sign up for real-time alerts and be notified of new editions!  

Once registered, you will be notified by a short message on your computer or mobile phone as soon as a new edition of our publication or an alert is published. Stay informed anytime, anywhere!

By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of cookies allowing us to adapt and enhance your experience. Read more