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Renowned opposition leader Hailu Shawel passes away at 80 years old.

October 7, 2016
1 min read
Hailu Shawel
Hailu Shawel

Engineer Hailu Shawel, a prominent opposition figure whose party nearly overthrew the incumbent government in the 2005 election, passed away on October 6 while undergoing treatment at a hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. He was 80 years old.

After holding various government positions during the Derg military regime, Engineer Hailu turned to politics following the rise of TPLF, an organization widely viewed as harmful to Ethiopia’s unity.

Hailu was a founding member of the All Ethiopia Unity Party (AEUP) and the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD), also known as “Kinijit” among the people.

After the controversial 2005 election, Engineer Hailu and his CUD colleagues were imprisoned on the orders of the late dictator, Meles Zenawi, who used violence and a state of emergency to overturn the election results.

During his time in prison, Hailu endured difficult days and nights in solitary confinement before being released after two years. He attributed his declining health to the harsh conditions of his imprisonment, spending the last two years of his life battling illness.

Despite being a successful businessman in the country, Hailu’s health issues, exacerbated by diabetes, forced him to step back from his business activities in his final years.

The remains of Engineer Hailu will be brought to Addis Ababa on Friday, October 7, as reported by VOA Amharic Service on Thursday. Details about the funeral arrangements were not provided. Engineer Hailu is survived by his six children.

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