The appearance and speech by superstar Ethiopian athlete Haile Gebreselassie at the ruling junta (Woyanne/EPRDF) conference in early September, had caught many by surprise. Throughout his career as an athlete, Haile has tried to distance himself from the Woyanne regime, as all the other star Ethiopian athletes. So what has caused him to show up at the ruling party’s conference now? The answer is not shocking or surprising.
According to Ethiopian Review sources in Addis Ababa, Meles Zenawi’s wife Azeb Mesfin (commonly known as the “Mother of Corruption”) and her business partners are going after Haile’s enterprises with demands for partnership.
For a long time Haile has been heavily investing in real estate development and this year his new five star hotel in the town of Awassa was inaugurated. The 4-story, 150-room hotel was built at the cost of 200 million birr. Haile is also preparing to build 200 condos in Addis Ababa on 40,000 square meters of land.
Recently, Meles Zenawi’s puppet mayor of Addis Ababa, Kuma Demeksa, who is a close ally and business partner of Azeb Mesfin, has ordered the confiscation of the land that has been leased to Haile. Apparently, his company, Haile & Alem Real Estate, is competing with other companies who have Azeb as partner.
The reason Kuma gave for confiscating Haile’s land is that construction of the planned condos has been delayed. Haile said that he was unable to start construction because the Addis Ababa City Administration, led by Kuma, would not demarcate the land for 4 years after it was leased to him.
It is to protect his business interest against the Mother of Corruption that Haile has suddenly appeared at the Woyanne conference, according to observers.