ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia- The Ethiopian government revealed preparations to honour its former long-serving president, Girma Wolde-Giorgis, with a state funeral, as tributes continued to flow following his death on Saturday.
Wolde-Giorgis, who was the East African country’s president for more than a decade until 2013, passed away in the early hours of Saturday, at the age of 94.
Following the announcement of his death, tributes continued to pour in from various walks of lives, including senior Ethiopian government officials.
Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, in his message of condolence, said, Wolde-Giorgis “will be laid to rest in a state funeral.”
The premier also said, details of the former president’ state funeral will be shared soon, through a national committee that has been formed to oversee the memorial service.
“It is with deep sadness that I share the passing,” Ahmed said, in his message.
Wolde-Giorgis had been Ethiopia’s president for twelve years from 2001 to 2013. He had also performed various state duties throughout the country in different capacities for many years.
“President Girma rendered his service to people and country, through his knowledge and experience with an exceptional sense of service and determination, making him a role model for many,” Ahmed said.
Ahmed also extended “sincere condolences” to the family of Wolde-Giorgis, as well as to the people of Ethiopia.
Wolde-Giorgis, with a military background in the Ethiopian Air Force, had served his country in various senior positions, since the imperial period of Haile Selassie I, the last emperor of Ethiopia.
The late president had also served as the head of civil aviation in the federated government of Eritrea in 1955, as well as, the director-general of the Ethiopian civil aviation in 1958.
Wolde-Giorgis was also appointed as the director-general of the Ethiopian Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Planning, following his service at the Ethiopian civil aviation.
In 1961, he was elected to the lower house of the Ethiopian parliament, where he served as president for three consecutive years.
Apart from serving in government positions, Wolde-Giorgis had also an important role in a number of non-governmental organisations in Ethiopia, including board member of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and president of the Eritrean branch of the Ethiopian Red Cross.
Regarded as one of Ethiopia’s long-serving leaders, as well as, a renowned philanthropy, Wolde-Giorgis was survived by his five children.
Wolde-Giorgis, after serving two consecutive terms as president of Ethiopia since 2001, stepped down in 2013, and was succeeded by former President, Mulatu Teshome, who resigned in Oct this year.
The east African nation, on Oct 25 had elected its first female President, Sahle-Work Zewde, following the resignation of Teshome.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK