The Horn Times News 25 April 2013
(Getahune Bekele- South Africa)
“He is fit like fiddle and in perfect health. Never been to any hospital recently and no doctor has diagnosed him with heart condition.” The former ruler’s son-in-law who extensively travels between Johannesburg and Harare told the Horn Times in Pretoria asking for his name not to be published for security reasons.
“At his age he is very mobile and remains a physical fitness enthusiast.
I don’t know the person behind such campaign against the old man who is leading a very quiet and modest life with his wife Woubanchi Bishaw and granddaughter, Helina in foreign land.” The son-in-law who is married to Mengistu’s relative added.
His former body guard who is also a resident of Harare simply laughed off any rumor of illness let alone death when contacted by the Horn Times.
“The old man is no longer smoking. I have never seen him drinking either. The last time he got seriously ill was way back in 1998 where he declined to go to Cuba for treatment and travelled to South Africa to see a specialist. Since he has been healthy and strong.” The ex body guard said.
Another close associate of the former leader and a well known business man in Harare whose name and physical address is known to the Horn Times said he met the elderly couple over the weekend (20 April) and again on Tuesday 23 April. According to the business man, the 75 year old Mengistu is not even aware of the news of his death going viral on the net and various social media sites.
Described as part of the generation of US educated African leaders with the likes of Charles Taylor who later ruthlessly turned on the US and became an avowed enemies of imperialism, millions remember the firebrand communist Mengistu H.mariam among other things for verbal exchanges he had with the late US president Ronald Reagan in early 80s .
Mengistu, the man who imposed doctrinaire Stalinist Marxist ideology on Ethiopia, publicly belittled and humiliated Reagan by repeatedly referring to him as “Mr. Reagan”, an insult both the president and the state department find it difficult to stomach after the fiery Reagan accused him of taking Ethiopia from being Africa’s bread basket to a miserable hungry nation.
Although Mengistu tried to mend relations with the west after the collapse of communism through his moderate Prime Minister Tesfaye Dinka, both the Arab world and westerners hasten his down fall by arming and financing secessionist groups such as the rapacious Tigre People Liberation Front, TPLF.
His 17 years of chaotic and bloody rule was ended in May 1991 when he ultimately fled to Zimbabwe.
However, the false news of his death which was widely disseminated by his enemies didn’t draw celebrations as they expected, even from the victims of his red terror campaign and victims of collectivization, nationalization and brutal repression.
Here are some of the comments made by Ethiopians around the world
from all walks of life… on face book…
Kalid Ibnu Welid-“Long live Mengistu.”
Mesi Tesfaye-“Chastised when alive and praised when departed, oh man.”
Bilisuma Fikiralem Ethiopiawit-“Mengistu and woyanne are not the same at all. Mengistu, if it is true that you are dead, rest in peace.”
Eshetu Zemach-“F***k Mengistu”
Tata Messi-“I love Mengistu.”
Dave Wase-“Even though he was a dictator, Mengistu is still my hero. Is the woyanne any better because they detain secretly and massacre under the guise of democracy? Mengistu’s open practice of killing was better. Death to woyannes!”