March 6, 2014 (All Africa) — Less than two weeks after resigning from his post as chairperson of the Oromo Peoples’ Democratic Organisation (OPDO) – one of the four member parties of the ruling EPRDF – and president of the Oromia Region, Alemayehu Atomsa died late on Thursday, March 6, 2014.
Alemayehu, who was an obscure figure – formerly with the EPRDF’s propaganda office and with little connection to the OPDO’s rank and file prior to his appointment as president of Ethiopia’s largest of nine regional states – was absent from office most of the time due to illness. On February 18, 2014, the OPDO disclosed that it had accepted his request to step-down from his presidency due to health related issues.
The Chinese-educated president had not previously received the go-ahead from the Party to step down, although he had tendered his resignation on several occasions. Alemayehu fell sick within months of his appointment, and had been rarely able to conduct his duties, travelling abroad for medical care for the majority of the last two years.
Alemayehu was pronounced dead at 1am on Thursday at the age of 45, after receiving medical treatment in Bangkok, Thailand. He was a father of two daughters and a son.
Born in 1969 in the Bilo Boshe woreda of East Wollega – one of the 17 zones in the Oromia Region – Alemayehu was replaced by Muktar Kedir, minister of the Civil Service & Good Governance Reform Cluster, with the rank of deputy prime minister, in both posts as chairperson of the OPDO and president of the Oromia Region.