The Death of the Developmental State by Biruk Bisrat

March 28th, 2011 Print Print Email Email

What we are witnessing in North Africa and the Mid-East is the unraveling of the “Developmental State” model of regime building, which was conveniently espoused by the Meles Zenawi to prolong his minority rule. Of late, the Prime Minister even wrote his higher education thesis in defense of the old Machiavellian system of tyranny and domination of a group over the people by proposing that he be allowed to rule Ethiopia for 40 years.

Although his thesis is a waste of an opportunity to write what would have been beneficial to the people with new and constructive ideas, our prime minister used it for his narrow motive of allowing the TPLF to rule 40 years without interruption. His motive is unmistakably to convince us that TPLF/EPRDF should be allowed to rule without any hindrance with a lame argument that countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Syria, Iran and China are registering economic growth because their parties stayed in power for decades. As there are some who put Meles at the ceiling of their measure of a genius and an intellectual person, I would leave him with that honor due to him.

Some say the developmental state debacle has its perceived good sides, although this has been the nature of all other ideologies like Communism, Nazism, and Fascism, which were all sugarcoated often with one dimensional good sides that definitely stand to guarantee the domination of a few over the majority.

The developmental states we saw in Egypt and the others, which were the models for Meles Zenawi, have proved that the one party dominated governance is not sustainable. Meles, in his dreamlike cherry picking of reality, has been lecturing us (recently at Columbia University) that the liberal model of governance was dead and buried and unworkable in countries like Ethiopia. Meles was effectively saying that democracy, real elections and rule of law do not matter as long as the dominant party brings development. Meles was saying that the political atmosphere shall be carved in such a way as to allow the dominant party run over and smash all other opposition groups to bring uninterrupted economic growth. Meles was trying to convince us that elections are drama although the developmental state’s dominant party has to win, by hook or crook. Everybody knew that this was an attempt to sugarcoat the repressive and brutal dictatorship that Meles is reigning on.

But the events unfolding in North Africa and the Mid-East have buried alive what the good intellectual prime minister has been advocating. Look at Egypt. The Egyptian ruling party NDP has ruled the country since 1978. The country has enjoyed a relatively good economic growth with no other party allowed to have any meaningful role. However, when the people of Egypt claimed their freedom and dignity, the first thing they did was burn down the offices of the NDP. This has been true with Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Libya and Syria. These countries were some of the examples our good intellectual prime minister has been throwing around to justify his party’s domination with the developmental state theory. Meles is still working to make TPLF/EPRDF the equivalent of Egypt’s NDP as he is against people’s choice, multi-party democracy and rule of law – ideas which liberalism stand for.

However, as we are see now when these developmental states being buried right and left, it is a matter of time for EPRDF and its corrupt structure. The fate of the ruling party of deposed President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia, Rally for Constitutional Democracy (RCD) party was dissolution. Now the State Commissioner’s Authority of Egypt is calling for the dissolution of Egypt’s former ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) and the return of its assets to the State.

These recent events of North Africa and the Mid-East show us not only the death of the developmental state ideology, but also the underpinnings that hold such dictatorships have become unreliable for the dictators. The resources of the police, the security machinery and the military have shown that their eternal fate lies not with dictators but with the people and their country. We have seen how the rift between the upper and lower military officers of Egypt’s military finally led the military leaders to tilt to the lower level officers who supported the protestor.

Also look at the Yemeni military, which is typical of the Ethiopian armed forces where 99% of its generals come from the Tigrian ethnic group. In Yemen, the military generals that hold top posts come from the same tribes as President Saleh. Gen. Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, the president’s son, is the commander of the Republican Guard and Yemeni special operations forces. The general in charge of Central Security Forces and Counterterrorism Unit is Saleh’s nephew; the general in charge of the Presidential Guard is Saleh’s nephew; the general in charge of the National Security Bureau is Saleh’s nephew; the general in charge of the air force is Saleh’s half-brother; the chief of staff of the general command is Saleh’s half-brother; the general in charge of the southern military zone in Aden is a Hashid tribesman from Saleh’s village, Sanhan; and, the general in charge of the Eastern Military Zone in Hadramawt, is a Hashid tribesman from Sanhan. Recently, the biggest threat to Saleh within the military apparatus came from Brig. Gen. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, Saleh’s half brother, commander of the first armored brigade and commander of the northwestern military zone, when his forces defected and began protecting the protestors.

What this shows us is that even the military and security apparatus lined on ethnic and blood relationships would crumble and evaporate once these forces realize that defending an old dictatorship is worthless compared to the objectives for which they stand for and the self interest that no one had been a loser by aligning with the people. At such hour comes, even a half-brother would choose the people over a dictatorship.

Thus aside from the death and burial of Meles Zenawi’s “developmental state” theory, the threads of military and police force that hold a dictatorship together have seen the “prova” of what would come in Ethiopia in the future. No one, not even the good intellectual and genius Meles Zenawi, can change or take away the liberal rights of freedom of speech, free and fair elections, rule of law and the self-determination rights of people to choose how to govern themselves. The fate of NDP of Egypt and RCD of Tunisia are the previews of the fate of the TPLF/EPRDF. The choice that the military and the security apparatus took in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen is what awaits the conscience and hearts of the Ethiopians military and security forces.

The death of the developmental state in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, and Libya is a testament that the will of the people cannot be oppressed for eternity. Time is not on the side of dictators. It is a question of when, not if.

  1. wedi samre
    | #1

    Dear Biru Bisrat,

    Allow me to tell you that you confuse developmental state with one party rule. One party rule is not of course necessarily against a developmental state. But a developmental state is necessarily a rule of law state (or a rechtsstaat as the Germans would say) in the sense that the country in question is ruled not according to the whims of a strong man but according to the law . However, in none of the countries you cited has a developmental state existed. All those countries have been under kleptocratic (thief) regimes. A developmental state is inconceivable under a kleoptocratic regime. In countries like Libya and Yemen, it is not even possible to talk about a state. All you have there is a political system organized along tribal lines. When it comes to Ethiopia, Melis Zinwi invented the evil hoax, “developmental state” in order to rule Ethiopia, as you rightfully said, for forty years. The sad thing is that our political scientists have said nothing about the impossibility for the developmental state to exist in an Ethiopia under the total control of Shabia. If we had a state, our land would not be sold to foreigners with impunity while our country depends on foreign food aid. Our country would not be deprived of its sea outlet. Our land in north-Western Ethiopia would not be ceded to the Sudan. None of the Arab countries rocked by recent public uprising has been faced with the problems that Ethiopia has been facing. What makes the Ethiopian case very peculiar is that there is neither state nor one party rule. There is only an enemy rule. Even if this is the reality of our country, you, Dear Biru, seem to have a problem with the fact that 99% of the Shabia (TPLF) generals are from Tigray. I myself am from Tigray. And I tell you, I love very much my home region. But I don’t consider those generals as Ethiopians (Tigrayans). Because they are Melis Zinwi’s generals (servants). If they defended Ethiopia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, I would not have any problem with all generals being from Tigray. On the other hand, I would have a lot of problems with any army under Shabia control no matter whether its members happen to come from Tigray or from all Ethiopian kebelles. What I am driving at is this: I am not a tribalist. I don’t judge Ethiopians by the language they speak or by the region they hail from. I judge them solely by the fact whether what they do and say conduces to promote Ethiopian unity, territorial integrity and national pride. If we want to save our country, we should stop from looking at its problems through tribal lens. I say this so that we can save our country through our united struggle before Melis sells the whole country to foreign multinational corporations. It is of no use to continue bemoaning about Shabia rule in Ethiopia. We have talked too much for two decades. Now we should act.

  2. Zerayakob Yared
    | #2

    ዶርሆስያ ሓንቲ ደርፋ, እንታይ? ካኽ-ካኽ! ኣምጺኡ እንትገደፈስ እቲኣ እተለመደት ናይ ኣፍ መኽፈቲት ደርፎም!’minority’

    ትልሚ ንጉሰ ፅዮንን, ትምኒት ተላ ዕቁቢትን, ብዘበናዊ ስልጣነ ተክኖሎጂን ተጣሚረንን ኣብ ስራሕ ምውዓል ናይ ባዕልና ይኾውን እሞ, ካብ ወጻኢ ድማ ክልተ ነገራት ጥራሕ “ክንኩርጅ” ኢና:: ከማኻትኩም ኣብ ዝኾነ ዓዲ ሆሆሆ..በል ተራበሽ! ብዝመጽአ ቑጽሪ ደዲሕሪኡ ምህላል ከይኮነስ, ኣሽማትና መስተኻኸሊን, ኣብ ውሽጥና ኾይኑ ዝህውኽና ዘሎ ጠቐሜታ ዘየብሉ ወሽላኽ ናይ ስለላ ሓይሊ ንመጥፍኢ ዝኸውን ሜላን ጥራሕ ካብ ወጻኢ “ክንኩርጅ”ኢና:: ንሳተን’ውን ካብ ናሚብያን ካብ ጀርመንን እየን ዝኾና::

    (ይቕረታ, ዝኾነ ህጹጽ ጉዳይ ብሃንደበት ስለ ዝጸውዓኒስ ሓሳበይ ክውድእ ኣይክኣልኩን, ጽባሕ ክምለሶ እየ!)

  3. Zerayakob Yared
    | #3

    ሽረ ሜዳ ላይ ጫማችሁን ጥላችሁ ወደ አዲስ አበባ ከተፍ በማለትና, የቀበሌን ጽህፈት ቤት ገንዘብ ዘርፋችሁ, ቆልዓ ትግራይ አዲስ አበባን ለመቆጣጠር አምቦ ላይ ሆኖ የመጨረሻውን ዝግጅት በሚያጠናቅቅበት ጊዝያት, በሄሊኮፕትር ወደ ኬንያ ጠረፍ ፈርጥጦ በመድረስ,ከዚያም ኬንያውያን ነን ብላችሁ በማወናበድ ወደ አሜሪካ በአይሮፕላን ለተሻገራችሁትና,እንዲሁም ሌሎቻችሁም ብትሆኑ, ፈላሻውያን ነን ብላችሁ በመወስለት, በመጨረሻዋ የሙሴ ተልኣኮ አይሮፕላን, አዲስ አበባ ቦሌ ላይ ከተሳፈራችሁና እስራኤል ከደረሳችሁ በውሃላ, በሌላ ኣይሮፕላን ተሳፍራችሁ ወደ አሜሪካን በመሻገር, ኢትዮጵያን ከድታችሁና የገንዘብ ሰዎች መሆናችሁን ለጠቅላላው ህዝበ ክርስቲያን ካረጋገጣችሁ በውሃላ, አሁን ደግሞ, ከቀበሌ ግምጃ ቤት በመስረቅና, ከፈላሻዎች ‘ሽያጭ’ ገቢ የተገኘውንም ወደ አሜሪካን ያስተላለፋችሁትን ገንዘብ እየተጠቀማችሁ ከተጀነጀናችሁ በውሃላ,”ብቸኛ ኢትዮጵያዊ” “ትክክለኛው ኢትዮጵያዊ” እያላችሁ የጅንጀና መቡዋረቃችሁን, ሰሞኑን እንደ ተከሰተው የጃፓኑ የካንሰር ተሸካሚው ጨረር በጠቅላላው አለም መሰራጨት አይነት ነገር የሆነውን ጉራ-ከረዩዋችሁን መበተንን አቁሙ!!

    ሽሬ ላይም ሆነ ደብረታቦር ላይ ለደረሰባችሁ “በደል” ካሳችሁን ራሳችሁ በመስረቅ ወስዳችሃል:: አይበቃንም የምትሉ ከሆነም, የቀረውን ካሳ ማሌሊትን ጠይቅቁዋት!

    ኢትዮጵያ እንደሆነች ብቻ ከዚያ ከማሌሊት እንደምንም የሚገላግላት ቀን ያምጣላት እንጂ, ከእናንተ ምንም ቁም ነገር አትጠብቅም!

    ማስታወሻ: ከላይ ያለውንና ገና ያላጠናቀቁትን ሃሳቤን እንደምመለስበት ለሚመለከታቸው አስታውሱልኝ, አደራ! አመሰግናለሁ!

  4. Anonymous
    | #4

    ” Assta B. Gettu [Visitor]
    Eritrea- or Ethiopia-based Oromo movement is not for Ethiopia: it is against the unity of the Christian land of Ethiopia; therefore, such a foreign Oromo movement must be annihilated from its roots – Eritrea and Somalia before it roosts its chickens, young Oromians and be consumed by the birds of the air – the children of united Christian Ethiopia. After all, these new Eritrean Oromo movement is a Muslim movement that slaughtered the few Amhara movement in Eritrea.

    At this crucial time, Ethiopia does not need the liberation of Muslim Oromia; it is like creating a new independent Palestinian state that will become a future headache for the Jewish nation. Ethiopia has its own internal headaches – Meles Seitanawi (Zenawi), Jezebel (Azeb), Al Amoudi, Aba Paulos, the Jimma Muslims, and the Tigrean army.

    04/03/11 @ 00:56 ”

    le colonel,

    “and the Tigrean army.”ውንም ጭምር የችግሩ አካል አደረከው!?

    ሲመስለኝ, በጀኔራል ሳሞራ ‘የሚመራውን’ የኢዮጵያውን ብሄራዊ ወታደራዊ ሃይልን ማለትህ ነው:: አለሙ በሙሉ በስር መሰረቱ ተገንዝቦህ እንደምትገኘው, መጠነኛ ‘አክራሪነት’ ስለማይለይህ, “ድሮውንስ በእስላም የሚመራ ወታደር ምን ሊጠቅም” የሚል አባባል አድሮብህ ኢንደሆነ, አይዞህ ተረጋጋ:: ምክኒያቱም,አንድም,ሰውየው እንደሌሎቹ የስራ ባልደረቦቹ በመንፈሰ ፅዮን ነው የሚታጀበው, ሁለትም, ህልፈተ ክንፈ(ህወሓት-ሰኩሪቲ አለቃ ነበር) ከተከናወነበት ጊዜ ጀምሮ, ሳሞራ ከዚያን በፊት ከነበርው የፊልድ ማርሻልነት ክብሩ ወደ ተራ “የክቡር ዘበኝነት” ጎንበስ ቀና ባይነት ሚና ተቀላጣፊነት (አለ)መአርግ ደረጃ ወርድዋልና!

    ከእኔ በበለጠ አንተ ኮሎኔሉ ሊትገነዘበው እንደምትችለው, በኣረጋዊ በርሀ የተደራጀውና የተዋቀረው የበፊቱ የህወሓት ወታደራዊ ሃይልና, ከ1991 ዓ.ም. ጀምሮ ግን የኢትዮጵያ ብሄራዊ ወታደር የሆነው,ሁለት የጀግንነት ስራዎችን አጠናቅቅዋል:: በቅድሚያ ‘የትግሬን ማድቀቅ ነው’ ቀንደኛ ስርአተኞችን ደምሥስዋል:: ሁለትም ,ከ9/11 በፊት,ጠቅላላው የምእራቡ አለምና የአረቡ አለም በ’አል-ኢትሃድ ፎጣ ተሸፍኖ ኢትዮጵያን ለመበታተን በሱማሌ በኩል መጥቶ በከበበበት ስአቶች,የቀድሞዎቹ የኢትዮጵያ ኮሎኔሎችና ጀኔራሎች, ኢትዮጵያን ንብረትዋን ብቻ በመዝረፍ ትተዋት ስለሸሹ,አዲሱና የቀድሞ ይህወሓት ሃይል የነበረው ሃይልዋ በከመ ቅፅበት ደርሶ ስላዳናት ይሄው እስከ አሁን ጊዜ ድረስ ሁላችንም አገር አለን ብለን እየተኩራራን ነው::

    ኢትዮጵያን የማዳኑን የመተናነቅ ጉዳይን የተዋደቁት, በፊልድ ማርሻሎች ጻድቃን,ሓየሎምና, ሳሞራ, እንዲሁም በጀኔራል በርሄና ባለቤቱ ጀኘራሊቱ እየተመራ ጠቅላላው ቆልዓ ትግራይ ነበረ:: ቢያንስ-ቢያንስ ከዚህ የአገር ማዳን ጉዳይ ብቻ በመነሳት (በእርግጥም ኢትዮጵያዊ ከሆንክ)ልታመሰግናቸው እንጂ, ኢትዮጵያን በሚመለከት ጉዳይ እንደ የችግሩ አካል አድርገህ ልትወስዳቸው አይገባምና, አባባልህን አስተካክል::

    በእርግጥም ግን አንድ አንተ ያልጠቀስከው ችግር አለ:: እርሱም, ቆልዓ ትግራይ(የኢትዮጵያው ሰራዊት) ኢትዮጵያን ለማዳን ከአዳማ እስከ ጅጅጋ ባሉት ክፍለ ሃገራችን ላይ ከላይ ከጠቀስኩዋቸው ጠላቶች ጋራ በሚተናነቅበት ጊዜ, ጭንጋፍ ማሌሊቶች አትላንታ በሚገኘው የካርተር እንስቲቱውሽን(ፋውንደሽን) ሲአይኤ ያዘጋጀችላቸውን ኮርስ ሲከታተሉ ይገኙ ነበር::(አየሄውማ የሲአይኤ ታክቲክ, በአንድ ብኩል ኢትዮጵያን በመክበብ ተግባራት ትሳተፍና, በሌላ በኩል ግን ለማንኛውም በሚለው አስተሳሰብዋ ለ B-plan የሚሆኑን ሰዎች ታዘጋጃለች::) ኮርሱ የተሰጠው በሁለት አርእስቶች ላይ ነበር:አንድ ብጉድፈቻ ስም ህጻናት ልጆችን እንዴት አድርጎ መሸጥ እንደሚቻልና, ሁለትም ደግሞ, ፊልድማርሻሎችን እንዴት አድርገህ ከጀግንነታቸው ታጨናግፋለህ, የሚል ነበር::

    ኣብራ ሄዳ ስለነበረና ከዚህም በመነሳት ነው ያች ጭልፊት አሁንም ቢሆን, ገና አፍዋን ስትከፍት, መሸጥ ብሎ የሚያስጮሄት:: ፊልድ ማርሻሎችን ማጨናገፍን በሚመለከት, አንተም እንደምታውቀው, ፊልድ ማርሻል ሓይሎም በተራ መኪና ሸያጭ አድርገው አስገደሉት:: ጀኔራል በርሄን እንከነ ባሌበቱ አዲስ አበባ በገዛ ቤቱ ውስጥ, መቐለ ውስጥ ባደገ አንድ ባንዳ አስገድሉብን:: ፊልድ ማርሻል ጻድቃንን ይሄው ከሰራዊቱ አለያዩብን:: ፊልድ ማርሻል ሳሞራን ከማርሻልነት ቦታው አውርደው ተራ”የክቡር ዘበኛ” አጋፋሪ አደረጉብን::

    ማሌሊቶች የተማሩትን የመሸጥና የማጨናገፍ ተግባራትን በስራ በማዋልም ስላሳዩ, ለወደፊቱም ቢሆን ኢትዮጵያን ለማጭናገፍ ይጠቅማሉ ተብለው ከ9/11 በውሃላ በድጋሚ ምእራቡ አለም ክርስትና አንስትዋቸውና ለታማኝነትም በቅተው, በአሁኑ ጊዜ የተሰጣቸውን ሚና እየተጫወቱ ነው::

    የቀረውን በሚቀጥለው ከላይ ካለው ያልተጠናቀቀው ሃሳብ ጋር!

    ክህደትንና ጭንጋፍነትን ያውድምልን!

  5. Zerayakob Yared
    | #5

    አደራ በ’le colonel ትችት(comment)ላይ Zerayakob Yared የሚለው ስም ይጨመርበት:: አንዳንዴ ኮምፑተሩ ራሱን ስለሚያመው ነገሮችን ይገድፋል !

Comments are closed.