Aklilu Habtewold would have turned 105 today

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Teshafi Tizaz Aklilu Habtewold would have turned 105 today.
Born in Adda, Shewa in 1912, Aklilu became a prominent statesman for over three decades in Atse Haile Selassie’s government, including serving as Prime Minister from 1961-1973.
The youngest son of a humble priest family, Aklilu first studied in the French Lycée of Alexandria, then in Paris, Sorbonne and a l’école de science politique. Starting his career as Press Attaché in 1936, he consequently served as Secretary and chargé d’affaires of the Ethiopian Embassy in Paris. During the Italian occupation, he was the Emperor’s personal representative to the French capital. On his return from exile in 1941, he was first named Minister at the Ministry of Pen and later Minister of Foreign Affairs. It was in this capacity that he took the leading role in important negotiations, including one that led Eritrea to be federated with Ethiopia in 1952. He also played a major role in the preparation of the Charter of the Organization of African Unity and the establishment of the organisation of on 25 May 1963.
“Aklilu was the product of Western civilization with the French touch. He was married to a French lady and lived like a Frenchman than an Ethiopian,” Seyoum Haregot, later to become a minister, wrote of him. “He was suave, debonair, affable, and urbane, and immediately put people at ease. He was a man of extreme patience, who never lost his temper (…) His patience was so extreme that it could make his colleagues impatient, but completely disarmed opponents,” according Asfa-Wossen Asserate’s book King of Kings: The Triumph and Tragedy of Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia.
This rare photo provided by Aklilu family to Ethiopia Observer shows the late Prime Minister with his wife, Colette and General Abiye Abebe, one his closet friends. When Prime Minister Aklilu Habte-Wold sought to resign his post in 1973, he reportedly suggested to the Emperor that he be replaced by General Abiye. However Abiye consented to becoming Prime Minister only if his nomination, and those of his cabinet, were approved by the Ethiopian parliament, a condition Emperor Haile Selassie found unacceptable. The post was given to Endalkachew Makonnen.

Arefayné Fantahun
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  1. Seifu Daba says:

    Great man, great personality and great statesman. The more I read about him the more I respected him.

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