Ethiopia : Prominent opposition leader Hailu Shawul dies at 80

October 7,2016

Video of interview with Hailu Shawul some time in 2010. Part II of the video is here

Toronto – Hailu Sawul, a prominent Ethiopian opposition leader passed away in Thailand where he went for medication, reported Voice of America Amharic Service.

He had been a key player in opposition politics for over two decades. Initially, he served in All Amhara Peoples Organization (AAPO)-a party which was founded by the late Professor Asrat Woldeyes who was jailed under circumstances of inhuman condition that led to his death.

When All Amhara People’s Organization was transformed to All Ethiopian Unity Party (AEUP), Hailu Shawul was one of the key figures behind the transformation. Some even say that he engineered AEUP.

In the 2005 election, Hailu Shawul was elected as a leader of opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD)- which actually managed to win a landslide victory against Tigray people’s Liberation Front dominated ruling coalition EPRDF.

When the regime in power swung to vote rigging, even wide spread outright ballot theft as some say, rather conceding defeat in the election, protest rocked the entire country. In the capital alone, 200 Ethiopians were killed in a single day. Hailu Shawul, along with other members of Coalition for Unity and Democracy, was thrown to jail where he spent a considerably long time.

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Although Hailu was released after a year or so, poor health he got from prison condition remained persistent. According to Voice of America Amharic service report, he was ailing for the last two years.

As is the case with any politician including in the opposition quater, he has got critics both within the opposition party he helped form and outside of it. Yet, Hailu Shawul has got a huge followers as well. For them, he is known as very patriotic, hardworking, astute organizer and charismatic leader with a deep love for Ethiopia. More over he is widely known for his Decisiveness.

So far, no word about funeral arrangement. VOA Amharic report says his body will arrive in Addis, from Thailand where he died, on Friday.

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