“Simon accused Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT), without naming it, of engaging in a “campaign of spreading massive lies and hearsay” about Zenawi. He alleged that ESAT had falsely cited ICJ (sic) [ICG- International Crises Group] as its source of information on the demise of Zenawi which, according to Simon, the ICG had denied. Simon, in characteristic manner, misstated the facts. What the ICG stated in its press release is quite different: “Crisis Group denies media reports about PM’s fate. International Crisis Group has no direct knowledge about the state of health of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.” Any sophisticated reader knows that the phrase “no direct knowledge” is a term of art commonly used by journalists and researchers to protect their confidential sources. “No direct knowledge” simply means the “knowledge” the ICG has on Zenawi is not based on personal observation, direct investigation or surveillance but derived from reliable informant(s). In other words, the ICG does not have direct photographic or physical evidence of Zenawi’s health or fate, but it has indirect informant-based information. This elementary journalistic technique seems to have escaped Simon.
The key constitutional question about Zenawi’s “absence” is not whether he is in “good condition”, “recuperating”, “resting”, on vacation or if he plans to come back tomorrow, next week or next month. The dispositive question is whether Zenawi as “prime minister”, for whatever reason and for whatever length of time, is unable or disabled from performing the “powers and duties of the Prime Minister of the Federal Republic” under Article 74(1) (namely serving as “as head of government, chairman of the Council of Ministers and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces”) within the meaning of Article 75(b). All of the available evidence points to one, and only one, conclusion: Zenawi is not in a position to discharge his powers and duties under Article 74 and has left his office without constitutional leave of absence. ..”
Are There Constitutional Remedies in the Case of an AWOL Prime Minister?“