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Veteran Ethiopian Political Activist Mesfin Woldemariam Has Died

The founder of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council, Professor Mesfin Woldemariam, has died from COVID-19 complications at age 90.

Ethiopian activist Professor Mesfin Woldemariam and founder of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council has passed away. Woldemariam reportedly passed away on Tuesday in the capital city Addis Ababa reportedly from coronavirus-induced complications. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has since expressed his grief upon hearing the news and extended his condolences to Woldemariam's family and all Ethiopians at large.


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Professor Woldemariam was a humanitarian, renowned activist and academic who studied in the USA and India. A propellant of law and order through politics, he critiqued Ethiopia's tradition of ethnic appointments for government officials. In 2005, he played a crucial role in the formation of the "Coalition for Unity and Democracy" (CUD) which opposed the TPLF-led government and defeated the ruling party at the ballot box.

Woldemariam endeavored scholarship and continued to offer philosophical and political critique on Ethiopia throughout his career. He was the voice of the country in 1990 when Ethiopia was going through socio-political upheaval. When blogging gained popularity, Woldemariam seemlessly transitioned to the online world. In the past ten years alone, he published several books in Amharic on Ethiopian politics including Mekshef ende Ethiopia.

Ethiopia continues to face political unrest as ethnicity still remains a factor for government appointments. Internet shutdowns have been constantly used to diffuse social demonstrations and protests. Oromo musician Hachula Hundessa was allegedly shot and killed in public in an alleged government-ordered assassination. Hundessa's music criticised the government and allegedly roused Ethiopians to challenge the ruling party.

Professor Woldemariam of having tested positive for the coronavirus emerged only eleven days ago. He was 90-years-old and served as a geography professor at Addis Ababa University.

Those on social media reacted to news of Woldemariam's passing below:





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Follow our East African Grooves playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.

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Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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