A 5- billion dollar baby Semhal Meles: Is she Ethiopia’s version of Imelda Marcos?

“Doesn’t the fight for survival also justify swindle and theft? In self-defense anything goes.”

– Former Philippines first lady Imelda Marcos.


“The amount I earn is well known. My riches, my most prized possessions are my books.”

– The late Ethiopian ruler Meles Zenawi Asres.

The Horn Times opinion July 31 2013.

By Getahune Bekele, South Africa

Semhal Zenawi & her Mom
Semhal Zenawi & her Mom

Imelda Marcos
Imelda Marcos

Semhal Meles Zenawi is known in Ethiopia for her lavish and jet-setting lifestyle. She starts her morning off with delicious breakfast different to her late father’s steak and scrambled eggs accompanied by heavily spiced red tea, strong enough to remove paint.
The lady always looks for best nourishment. Her Holland trained eunuch private chef from Adigrat knows how to make challah French toast and cast iron waffles but the billionaire princess prefers a bowl of vegetal touch traditional soup, with four boiled eggs and roasted red pepper swimming in it.
Then Queen Marie Antoinette’s breakfast would be washed down with her favorite single malt whiskey known as the 10 year old Ardbeg, which delivers flavors of cooked apples, orange marmalade, clove and cinnamon, set against smoke and vanilla.
Semhal, who often boasts about nosing and tasting all finest malt money can buy including the limited edition of lemon and honey flavored Lagavalin; is famous for empting a couple of Ardbeg or Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban bottles in just one sitting.
In the beginning, we all (journalists) thought that, at the rate she churns out her ill-gotten wealth, the young lady will soon squander all her inheritance and join the miserable world of infamy where stars turned slaves and kings turned paupers beg death to take them away.
However, thanks to a whistleblower in the form of Dr. Wondimu Mekonnen, an exiled Ethiopian academic, today we know that Semhal Meles Zenawi’s net worth is 5-billion USD; all by virtue of being born to family of a thieving tyrant and a cunning knave. No matter how she spends, lady Semhal will never run out of cash.
The extremely wealthy TPLF warlords were quick to condemn the patriotic academic Wondimu Mekonnen, calling him ‘terrorist’ and ‘a nasty piece of work.’ But they didn’t utter a word when celebrity Net worth site, respected for its accuracy earlier made a startling revelation that the dead tyrant Meles Zenawi Asres got a net worth of 3-billion USD.
This means Without speculating how much his corrupt widow Azeb Mesfin is worth or without including the enormous wealth of Bereket Kinfe- their real-estate mogul step son, or without guessing how much money is stashed away in offshore accounts for Zenawi’s two other children Senay and Marda, the tyrant who once told Ethiopians that his only priced possessions are his books; had stolen more than 8-billion USD from the indigent people of Ethiopia.
But how did he manage to carry off such a staggering amount of money unnoticed and undetected?
Just few months ago his widow Azeb Mesfin, in her attempt to bury the Zenawi myth once and for all and move on with her life, told the world that her late husband had no identity document, driver license or fixed salary; not knowing that other notorious backward despots such as the late Mobutu Sese Seko of former Zaire and the late Idi Amin Dada of Uganda had no fixed salaries as well, because they didn’t differentiate their own money from the budgets of their respective nations. They used state coffers like their private bank accounts.
Hence, in the absence of any form of accountability, for African despots past and present, stealing such huge sums has been as easy as stealing candy from a baby.
This massive heist by the Zenawi family, one of the biggest in recent memory, is the carbon copy of what the legendary Filipino thieves Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos did to the Asian nation’s downtrodden between 1965 and 1986.
After imposing Martial law similar to Zenawi’s draconian anti-terrorism law, Imelda and her let husband Ferdinand, who ruled the impoverished Philippines for 21 traumatic years, stole more than 10- billion USD from state coffers.
The money sponsored the ostentatious style of Imelda Marcos who owned more than 3000 pairs of designer shoes and funded the controversial stem cell research project in her burning desire to beat ageing and preserve her timeless beauty which once mesmerized Chairman Mao, Fidel Castro and the eccentric Gaddafi.
Today at an advanced age of 83, she is the second wealthiest Filipino politician after boxing hero and congressman Manny Pacquiao with net worth of just under 22-million USD.
Where is the other money? Would Imelda ever tell?
The Filipinos are still struggling to obtain the 600-million USD traced to a Swiss bank account and corruption remains endemic in their country as it is in Ethiopia. Although hunger for justice has not ebbed, in Ethiopia’s case, the judiciary itself is weak and extremely biased to crack the whip on the spectacular corruption which inhibits development in the world’s poorest nations.
The government of puppet premier Hailemariam Desalegn will never have the courage to go after the well-connected Semhal Meles Zenawi to recover the stolen billions.
For now, she will remain richer than US talk show Queen Oprah Winfrey and the most powerful man in Hollywood, movie mogul Steven Spielberg. Facebook founders Dustin Moskovitz and Eduardo Saverin need to work more if they are to catch up with Semhal.
The question is would stolen wealth last like the hard-earned one?
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    This is the most retarded story I never read in long time.

  2. Shame on you Getahun!
    You smear this young lady just to satisfy your pervert ego. Don’t you have children? What are we turning into to – Animals?

  3. I agree with Akalu. It just does not seem right. Should the children pay for their parents mistakes in such public way? If the 5 billion check indeed true then the banks and the depositors should answer for that. I doubt the amount could be true because Ato Wondimu quotes Ethiopian Review; I am suspicious every time someone quotes Walta, Ethiopian Review, etc.

  4. Let them steal , but would it not be enough to steal a few millions., why billions? These woyane dogs are not going to eat /spend all this money in their life time.

  5. This type white lie is insulting to the diaspora intellectuals. Am really afraid is this type liers come to power hey are worest than TPLF

  6. Dear Getahune,
    I really sympathize with you that you are in this state of mind? I do not know what you are going to achieve by violating the right of others in this way. Is this politics too? is this also about democracy? yesew sem matfat? mesadeb, mawegze, metalt, …. ere besmeab bele yene wondimiye.You can not or will not win war or politics in this way. Who is going to be your fan if you degrade, insult, defame, slander, blaspheme, … people whom you hate so much? Rome was not build by hate? There is no country that has prospered by extreme hatred? What is your objective? If we make you the prime minister of Ethiopia tomorrow? are you going to act like this? Can you tell me the particular bank she deposited in? I would be more than happy to call them and even go to thier office to talk to them about your allegation? Otherwise, you are swimming in an ocean of deep hatred. It is a negative force that can destroy people. Even yourlsef could be your own victim. Good luck man. Imagine someone accused you falsely? what would you do and how would you feel? Are you also ready to defend yourself if Semhal Meles drags you to court? you must know this is the highest degree libel or yesew sm matfat at global level. The bible says: our tongue is the mistress of evil, good, life and death. You may not know but people watching your words and you acts. If your claim is real, do not say anything, just post the evidence for us. I personally need from you the name of the bank? I wanted to call them? unless the bank is on Mars? You answer your readers now. Please post for me the name of the bank . I will be waiting for you to post it here. I need it.

    • Hi dear, did you say you will call the Bank ? You have to know that – no body will give any information even if you know the bank. But Semhal has the right. If you are this much concerned about her name, if you think this article is not true tell her to file a defamation law suit – but I doubt if this will ever happen ! Because it is true.

    When hate too much you lose balance you lie, when you lose balance and lie you expose your self, when you expose yourself you lose your sense of direction and purpose in your life, then you not only defeated but lost tthe basic moral compass.

  8. wow,
    it is sad enough we have an idiot thinking it is a real check but we also have idiots believing him. no wonder Susan Rice called diaspora oppositons “FOOLS AND IDIOTS” this is one proof. the so called “professor” is so blinded by his hate to TPLF he is making a full of himself and his opposition friends. shame on you for bluntly fabricating evidence. and these are the people that want to rule Ethiopia???? I prefer the current gov’t than this idiots.

  9. so called dr wendimu killed the diaspora oppositions cruely,,,,and mr getahun (mr wendimu’s shanta teshekami), is carrying the legacy of the killer dr,,wendimu,,,he is adding a feul on the dead body,,i hope next u gonnn turn the dead one ash,,,good job,,mr kuntakunti

  10. I do not think the 5 billion dollar deposit is right. It does not look realistic. The likes of Wondimu must be careful to quote evidences from Ethiopian Riview. Ethiopian review is the Aiga version of the opposition camp – their mission is just to spread hearsay. I do not like both of them. If the 5 billion news comes from ESAT, I will believe it. I did not hear ESAT saying that; so the accusation is most likely rumour.

  11. your report looks real in the land of imagination. I and any other ethiopians know Semehal is a means to distract the focus from your judah leader Birhanu Nega for selling the people of Ethiopia for a mere five hundred thousands dollars for his Egyptian and Eritrean Bosses. With any standard the treason committed by Birhanu is not going to be covered by any unfounded disinformation you come up with. Do you know the western countries track the finances of the likes of the likes of meles and his family members and if there was anything real they could have made it public. You may fool those hot headed supporters of yours but not the minds of real ethiopian who are focused on fighting the greatest enemy of our country and people: poverty

  12. It’s the money that was token from our brother and sister, it does not make it right beau use it has been deposited in the child account, the main point is how do we get that money back to the nation who has paid a hard price and ensure spend appropriately.
    Maria or Senay have a quit pretty life for a long time, I strongly believe Azeb also will have double amount of money in some where, why we are worried bout these greedy people, right is right wrong doing also has a consequences. Why the government is watching this as normal? Means it is normal for all political group to have billions in their bank. While people struggle to have a two meal a day.

  13. we all know Woyanes are corrupt and stolen money and live lavish life however your reporting is stupid and shows how cruel and ignorant person you are, I really feel sorry for you and the people around you,
    People like you are the reason for the failure of diaspora politics, You guys have no shame to write white lie and you are doing the same thing by writing your stupid lies reflects your delusions
    You should rather write about the mother who is obviously corrupted why you chose to write about the child who had no part in the struggle? if you were a father you would know this , this girl had never been in any government position and you must be one cruel person to write this for a young girl who never had any crime except being born from a dictator and corrupted family
    please write things that makes sense and your friend Dr WOndimu kkkk is also ignorant like you he had the courage to tell us he had the check of the 5 BILLION DOLLAR kkkkk they might have Billions but who is going to give him the check or the info of that much money kkkkk ay Doctor what an ignorance?
    BTW can you ask DR WONDIMU about the check or the Info of the 3 or 5 BILLION DOLLAR? he did not say much about the 5 BILLION dollar eko, i mean how did he get it or show us it is real
    DOMA negeroch nachu tinish enkuan mamezazen yemataku

    Yes TPLF may have made mistakes, but the current opposition is a million times worse. They talk about ethnic division and you can read about the deep hatred they have for anyone who does not respect their views. They will sell you and me to a foreigner any day. They have no vision for Ethiopia, but a deep thirst for power. They sound patriotic to the Amhara and Oromo, but the agenda is to make the rich richer and poor poorer. They speak of freedom, democracy, but the words are just false gestures for people to support their hidden agenda. Yes, TPLF may be bad, but these people including their propoganda machine is worse. They call themselves Ethiopians, holding a fake foreign passport. They are slaves of the 21st century. Awaken Ethiopians and don’t take anyone that says democracy and freedom face value. Look at their works, examine, before you give them a penny. Two wrongs do not make right. Ethiopian Review, Zehabesha, ESAT belong to the same “pit”.
    The true Ethiopian accepts his role in society. The true Ethiopian believes in diversity. The true Ethiopian thinks collectively. The true Ethiopian is not at the mercy of Washington Post, BBC, Human Rights Watch and foreign advocacy groups who have one mission – a failed state in Africa. The true Ethiopian stands for the poor and aspires to change the nation to a middle income country. How can these pathetic , low life’s represent Ethiopia when they go and sell your soul to Egypt to release a bunch of jounalists that are imprisioned.
    In the end, these pathetic liars want Oromo country, Tigray country, Eritrea Country, Amhara Country. If that is what you have in mind, death to your principles for Ethiopia’s interests come first and foremost behind any fabricated lies you present. Take your camouflage off, because we true Ethiopians know when we see sincerity from hypocrisy

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