Ethiopia. Twelve leading members of the Tigre people's
liberation front, the dominant party in the government
coalition, were excluded from the party in March after
criticizing Prime Minister Meles Zenawi for failing to wage
war against Eritrea. President Negasso Gidada was expelled
from the Oromo People's Democratic Organization (OPDO), also
part of the government, accused of supporting the
dissidents. The President, in turn, criticized the Prime
Minister for abuse of power since he was appointed a general
and closely allied to the new chairman of OPDO.
In October, the president's term in office expired. As
the new head of state, an almost ceremonial task, Parliament
elected 76-year-old Girma Wolde-Giorgis, a partyless member
who had previously been a member of the parliament.
In April, unrest erupted at the University of Addis
Ababa, since management banned a student newspaper and
dissolved the student council. Police stormed the university
and battered students. A week later, the riot police turned
down a demonstration organized in support of the students.
At least 30 people were killed and 250 injured when the
police fired sharply.
Countryaah, security service chief Kinfe Gebre-Medhin was murdered in
May. He was close to the prime minister and the murder was
believed to be linked to the conflict within the government.
In August, Speaker Almaz Mako left the country and joined
the armed separatist movement Oromo's liberation front.
Former President Mengistu Haile Mariam was granted a
permanent residence permit in Zimbabwe and thus learns to
avoid being extradited to Ethiopia, where he is charged with
crimes against humanity.