Hailemariam hails ‘exemplary martyr’ Alemayehu Atomssa

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Addis Ababa, 8 March 2014 (WIC) – Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn hailed the late Alemayehu Atomssa as an ‘exemplary martyr’ during a memorial service for the former President of Oromia Regional State and Chairman of the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO).
In his condolence speech in front of thousands of mourners gathered at the Addis Ababa Stadium, Hailemariam praised Alemayehu for his lifelong service to Oromo people in particular and Ethiopians in general.
“Alemayehu Atomssa was a fighter and a comrade who worked tirelessly till the end for the people of Oromo and Ethiopia,” Hailemariam said.
“The roles Alemayehu played to ensure democracy and good governance as well as his anti-rent seeking struggle is exemplary to us all,” the prime minister said.
Hailemariam said Alemayehu’s ‘martyrdom’ should be replicated by others and urged all to “renew their vow” to work for the good of the people and the country.
The memorial service was also attended by senior government officials including President Dr. Mulatu Teshome and regional presidents.         
The memorial service was attended by thousands of mourners including President Dr. Mulatu Teshome.    
Proceedings started early in the morning at the residence of the late Alemayehu in Addis Ababa. The coffin carrying the body arrived at the Addis Ababa Stadium escorted by a Marching band. 
At the Addis Ababa Stadium, the ceremony was marked by a series of speeches of condolences by regional presidents and Mayors of the Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa city administrations and heads of affiliate parties of the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).
Alemayehu died of his recurring illness at the age of 45 on Thursday. He is survived by his wife and four kids. Alemayehu’s body will be laid to rest later today at the Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Alemayehu joined the struggle to overthrow the Derg regime in 1989. Three years later, the struggle succeeded in ending the 17-year dictatorial rule of the regime. Alemayehu has been serving his country and Oromia region in various positions ever since.
Born in Bilo Boshe wereda of eastern Wollega zone of Oromia Regional State, Alemayehu was elected chairman of OPDO in June 2010 and became president of Oromia region in September that year.
Shortly after his elevation to these political heights, he was struck by illness which forced him to seek continuous medical attention. However, Alemayehu continued to serve the nation until his resignation on February 17, 2014.   
Following his resignation, the party elected Muktar Kadir, Civil Service Minister and good governance reform cluster coordinator with the rank of deputy prime minister, to be the next chairman of the OPDO.
House of Peoples’ Representatives yesterday has declared national and regional flags will fly at half mast for three days to mourn the passing of Alemayehu Atomssa.