Ethiopia is a unique country because it is the oldest independent country in Africa, and among the oldest in the world, as its history can be traced to more than 2,000 years ago. It is located in the Horn of Africa and borders six countries including Eritrea, Djibouti, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, and Somalia.
Ethiopia is a federal parliamentary republic. The president of the country is elected indirectly by the two chambers of the parliament for six years with second term eligibility. The first president of Ethiopia was Mengistu Haile Mariam. Here is a list of presidents that have served throughout Ethiopia's history.
Mengistu Haile Miriam (1987-1991)
Mengistu Haile Miriam was born on May 1, 1937, and joined the army at a young age. He rose through the ranks to become a Lieutenant Colonel. He was installed to power in 1974 after the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie. He was in power for 17 years, and he attempted to introduce the communist rule but instead plunged the country into a reign of terror. He became known as the butcher of Addis Ababa, and it is estimated more than 150,000 died from his repression and torture.
Meles Zenawi Asres (1991-1995)
Meles Zenawi was born on May 9, 1955, in Adwa, in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia. He took over the office after Mengistu. Zenawi was also the prime minister of Ethiopia from 1995 to 2012 when he passed on. He served as the president of the transitional government of Ethiopia from 1991 to 1995 when he became the prime minister. Zenawi dropped out of college in 1975 and joined Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in opposition of the Derg. After the coup that toppled the military regime, Zenawi was elected interim president and later as Prime Minister. Zenawi’s government is credited with reforms such as the introduction of the multiparty in the country and the introduction of the private press. During his regime, there was a significant decrease in child mortality rates.
Negasso Gidada (1995- 2001)
Ngesso was born on September 3, 1943, and holds a doctorate earned in Germany. He joined the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) when he was still in Europe and later became a minister in the transitional government. He was elected president of Ethiopia on August 22, 1995, and left office on October 8, 2001 at the expiration of his term. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 2005 general election. In 2008 he was among the founders of the Forum for the Democratic Dialogue (FDD).
Other presidents of Ethiopia have include Girma Wolde-Giorgis, who served from 2001 to 2013, and the current president Sahle-Work Zewhe, who is also the first woman to ever hold office.