April 07, 2013
ADDIS ABABA: The launching of a new foundation in Ethiopia in honor of late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has left many activists in the country questioning the future of the country, arguing that dictators should not be given foundations in their name.
“This is horrible,” said Yussif Mohammad, a Muslim activist who was detained during Meles crackdown last year before he passed away. “I think this would be kind of like if Egypt would have a foundation for Hosni Mubarak. It would be unthinkable.”
In his opening address last month in launching the foundation, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn remembered the late PM as “exemplary leader in his unique leadership skills and flawless performance as chief of the executive” and added that “the establishment of the Foundation is deemed necessary as a thorough study of his life and his works and their implementation thus far is important to ensure the continuity of the renaissance of Ethiopia.”
Former First Lady, Azeb Mesfin, on the occasion noted that the Foundation will assist researchers interested to study Meles’s academic works through scholarships to ensure the continuity of the implementation of his vision.
The Meles Foundation aims to serve as a memorial of the prime minister’s great contribution in socio -economic issues, climate change negotiations and for his efforts aimed at ensuring peace and security of the continent among other things.
But activists like Mohammad told Bikyanews.com that this foundation continues the status quo and authoritarian nature of the Ethiopian government.
“We have fought for our rights over and over again, but now the foundation as a remembrance to a man who killed his own people and stifled freedom of speech is existing. It says a lot about where we are as a country.”