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Former Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn was awarded Ethiopia’s highest medal of honor on Tuesday April 24.
Hailemariam, who resigned his post in mid-February was awarded a national medal and given a citation at an official farewell ceremony held at the national palace.
He was accompanied by his wife Roman Tesfaye. She was also decorated with a medal and a national diploma in recognition of her social engagements during her tenure as the first lady of the country.
During the event attended by senior government officials and diplomats, Prime Minister Abiy thanked the former Premier for his contribution to the country and described him as “an academic who has a special quality that could be a model for all of us.”
“Hailemariam taught us a lot. He taught us that power should be used to serve the public, not for personal use,” he said.
The Premier further thanked former First Lady Roman Tesfay for her contribution for the success of the former Premier Hailemariam Desalegn.
Hailemariam Desalegn also thanked Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his staff for hosting the farewell event, and said the new Premier should be given time, support, and advice for the challenges that lie ahead.
“The Prime Minister is young and can contribute a lot,” he said, adding “I’m happy to see that our country is on a good hand.”
“Currently, the country is at good wind of change. We should do our best to make the change meet the needs of all of us,” he said.
Hailemariam until February 2018 was leader of the Southern Ethiopian Peoples’ Democratic Movement (SEPDM) and chairman of the EPRDF. The party’s head automatically fills the Prime Minister slot. He became PM in September 2012 till his resignation in February 2018.
He succeeded the late Meles Zenawi who was in charge from 1995 till his death in August 2012.