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The body of Alemayehu Atomesa, former president of Oromia regional state and chairman of Oromo People Democratic Organization (OPDO), one of the four wings of EPRDF, who died at the age of 45, was laid to rest at Holy Trinity Cathedral yesterday afternoon.
The man, who left both positions a few weeks ago due to health issues, led the region since 2010. He was also head of the party since 2009.
Even though his party and state media disclosed his death early Thursday morning, rumors had been circulating about his death early this week.
According to information released via state media, the body of Alemayehu, who was one of the youngest leaders in the party, arrived mid night on Thursday at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport from Bangkok, Thailand. Top government officials including Dr. Teshome Mulatu, President of Ethiopia and Hailemariam Dessalegn, PM of Ethiopia received the body of Alemayehu Atomsa at the airport.
Alemayehu, who became gravely ill a few months after he was appointed to the top of the party and the region, was popular for his strong actions against corruption and his promotion of good governance in the region, mainly in the surrounding areas of the capital city.
Within a few months of his appointment several top officials of Finfine Special Zone, Oromia, were arrested with allegations of corruption, which was one of the initial measures taken by the former head.
There were rumors that the former president was poisoned during the early period of his presidency, he never gave any comment and the government didn’t disclose anything about the issue. His party members and federal officials described the man as a strong leader who worked hard for good government in the country and the region.
Alemayehu had served the party for 25 years leading several regional and federal offices at top official levels.
The funeral ceremony of the strong leader was carried out at the Holy Trinity Cathedral on Saturday. Previously, on Friday there were mourning ceremonies in the capital city and regional towns, that were then followed by a big memorial at his home and Addis Ababa Stadium on Saturday morning. On Friday the federal Parliament ruled that the country’s flag should fly at half-mast to mourn the passing of Alemayehu for three days.
Alemayehu was born in Sere Village; Bello Boshe Woreda of Eastern Welega and was an elected member of the Oromia Regional state Council since 2009. He earned a law degree and a master’s degree in Public Policy from the Ethiopian Civil Service University and the Chinese Beijing University respectively.