Amb. David Shinn, in an interview with the Voice of America regarding the government presser about Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's health, said "You wouldn’t make a statement like that - that is so open-ended - unless the problem is significant" Shinn said. He noted he has no information about the prime minister's health.
He added that Meles is the kind of leader who plans ahead. And if he is ill, he says the 57-year-old prime minister likely has a plan in place.
"I'd be willing to bet very good money that he has been planning some way to deal with this issue in order to ensure some kind of reasonable succession of government in Ethiopia," said Shinn.
I for one think that only time will tell if there at all was a plan of succession or PM Zenawi was an extraordinarily farsighted statesman as Shinn claimed. If Zenawi had a succession plan for the time when he would be gone out of the Ethiopian political scene for good, it couldn't be anything different than, Hailemariam Desalegn, the current Deputy PM and Foreign Minister might be appointed to serve as a de jure PM and Berhane Gebre-Kirstos to run the apparatus, de facto, from behind the screen in a capacity as Deputy PM and Foreign Minister in the place of Desalegn. But if he survives, the original plan remains in tact, viz. for him to run the state apparatus from behind the screen, which I might call the Putin Plan. I wish I had money to bet the good ambassador!