By Dawit Endeshaw

The reporter – After years of controversy and public outcry, the African Union has finally confirmed that it will finalize the construction of a statue in commemoration of the late Emperor Haileselassie I by 2019, The Reporter has learnt.

It was back in 2017 that the AU, during its 29th Summit, has decided to erect a statue for the former Ethiopian leaders: Haileselassie I and the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in recognition to his role for the establishment of the then Organization of the African Union (OAU) and to recognize the efforts and commitment of the later, respectively.

The issue particularly concerning Haileselassie and the monument has been controversial since 2012.  At the time, the AU unveiled a statue to the Ghanaian pan-Africanist, Kwame Nkrumah to recognize his role in the fight with colonialists and his contribution to the pan-African movement.

The move from AU’s part since then has drawn controversy, where many were asking why the AU failed to pay the same tribute to the last king of the Solomonic dynasty. The issue was even raised at the parliament where members of the lower house asked the then Prime Minister Meles on why the AU only erects a statue for Nkrumah.

However, following years of efforts from a number of groups, the Union has finally decided to retract its controversial decision and agreed to pay tribute to the late king. Not only this, but also the AU has also agreed to recognize the contribution of Meles for his efforts and commitment to fight for African causes in a different global forum.

In this regard, the organization disclosed this week that the construction of the statue of Haileselassie I will be finalized within few months. In pursuing this, African Union Commission’s Deputy Chairperson, Kwesi Quartey, met with Ethiopia’s Permanent Representative to the African Union, Woinshet Tadesse.

“This commemorative statue of Emperor Haileselassie I will be a symbolic recognition of his role and selfless contribution to Africa’s liberation and foundation of the Organization of the African Unity in 1963,”said Quartey.

“Ethiopia has been a host for the Organization of the African Union, now the African Union, for over 50 years. We extend our appreciation to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia for its commitment to ensure the AU Commission has a conducive working environment and conditions,” he added.

 The statue will be erected inside the headquarters of AU.

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