ADDIS ABABA, Sept 2 – President Mwai Kibaki on Satuday joined other world leaders for the state funeral of the late Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, who died on August 20 after 21 years in power.,
President Kibaki arrived at the Meskel Square, at the centre of the city of Addis Ababa where the funeral service ceremony was conducted, shortly after 8am.
The President was received at the Meskel Square by the President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Girma Wolde Giorgis and Acting Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn.
The final journey of the late Prime Minister began at the Grand Palace where the body had been laid in state.
At the Grand Palace, a guard of honour drawn from the Defence Force of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Federal Police saluted the body shortly after which the funeral procession proceeded to Meskel Square where thousands of mourners gathered to pay their last respects to the fallen leader.
The religious ceremony, which was held in accordance with Ethiopia Orthodox Church canons, was conducted by acting head of Ethiopia Orthodox Church, Abune Natnael.
Speakers during the funeral hailed the late Zenawi as an outstanding leader under whose tenure Ethiopia made demonstrable progress in many areas of national endeavor.
The late Zenawi was eulogized as a selfless, visionary and intellectual leader who sustained a double digit economic growth rate during his tenure. At the regional and continental level, he was hailed for his commitment to peace and for his accomplishments on environmental matters in the period he served as Chair of the Meeting of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change.
His efforts in strengthening the African Union, promoting peace initiatives and mobilizing Africa’s voice on climate change were cited as his enduring legacies in advancing Pan-Africanism.
After the funeral service and speeches, the funeral parade accompanying the body was held from Meskel Square to the Holy Trinity Cathedral where the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was finally laid to rest, thus closing the chapter on an illustrious career of an adept statesman that spanned 21 years.
President Kibaki was accompanied by Minister for Foreign Affairs Professor Sam Ongeri, Minister of State for Defence and Acting Minister of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security, Yusuf Haji, MP Mohamed Affey and Kenya’s Ambassador to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the Africa Union and IGAD, Amb. Monica Juma.