President Girma Passes Away at 94

Former President of Ethiopia, Girma Wolde-Giorgis, who has been under treatment at the Nordic Medical Centre, passed away yesterday at the age of 94.

Hospitalized for the past two weeks, Girma entered into a deteriorating condition last Monday, according to his private nurse, Asnakech Kebede.

He was kept alive on a life support system since last Wednesday and died at 4:00am on December 14, 2018.

“They removed the life support at 5:00am,” she told Fortune.

A month ago Girma was admitted to Tor Hailoch (Army) Hospital and stayed a week under medical treatment before returning to his home as his condition showed improvements. When his health deteriorated about two weeks ago, he was admitted to Nordic where he passed away.

His remains has been taken to Ayat Hospital where it will stay until a funeral date is set. A committee has been formed to oversee and organisethe ceremony.

“The committee members have requested three days for the funeral arrangement,” Asnakech told Fortune. “The date and place of the funeral has not been fixed.”

The family had been organising a special birthday for the former president, who was born in December 28, 1924, in Addis Abeba and served in public service for half a century.  He first attended class at Ethiopian Orthodox Church and later joined the Ras Teferi Mekonnen School in Addis Abeba where he pursued his education until the Italian invasion. He then entered the Italian school, Scuola Principe Piemonte, in Addis Abeba.

Girma graduated from Genet Military School in Holeta as a sublieutenant in 1944. As a trainee in the Ethiopian Air Force between 1946 and 1947, he studied air traffic management and control in Sweden and Canada and became an instructor of air navigation and flight control in Ethiopia in 1948.

He was then appointed as head of civil aviation in Eritrea in 1955 and director-general of Ethiopian civil aviation in 1958. Until he assumed the presidency in 2001, he served at different public office under different capacities including as member of the lower house of the Imperial Ethiopian Parliament, a Deputy Commissioner of the Peace Programme and member of parliament.

Girma served as the nation’s third President, succeeding Negasso Gidada (PhD), for two terms until 2013, when he retired from public office.

Apart from government offices, Girma served at different civil society agencies including as member of the Red Cross Society and head of its international Logistics department. He also launched an environmental protection association called Lem Ethiopia in 1983, serving as vice president of the board of the association.

Girma was multilingual and proficiently spoke Afan Oromo, Amharic, Tigrinya, Italian, English and French.

Hours after of his death, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) expressed his sympathy.

“I would like to extend my sincere condolences to the family of H.E. President Girma Wolde-Giorgis and the People of Ethiopia.”






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