Ethiopian prime minister Meles Zenawi is dead
Ethiopian State TV announced early Tuesday that Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has died at the age of 57.
The state media disclosed that Zenawi who had been ill for months, passed away as a result of an infection while being treated at a hospital abroad. The Ethiopian government declined to reveal his true condition.
Speculation about Zenawi's health and whereabouts had been raging ever since his notable absence from the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa several months ago.
Ethiopian government officials repeatedly denied Zenawi was facing a critical illness, citing on several occasions that the longtime strongman was just dealing with "exhaustion from the pressures of office" and most recently that he was "in good health and recuperating."
Meles Zenawi has been in power in Ethiopia since 1991. His regime known as one of the most repressive regimes in Africa. The Zenawi government has been condemned widely by international human rights groups for its harsh treatment of opposition members and media censorship.
In accordance with the Ethiopian constitution, Zenawi will be succeeded by his deputy, Hailmariam Desalegne, who will be sworn in later today after an emergency parliament meeting in Addis Ababa.