Meles Zenawi: One of World’s most enduring dictators, says World Watch – CBS

June 9th, 2011 Print Print Email Email

meles_zenawi1This is an installment in the WorldWatch series, “The world’s enduring dictators,” inspired by events in Tunisia and Egypt, in which CBSNews.com takes a look at the men who continue to rule their lands unimpeded by law. See a complete explanation of the series and a list of others profiled here.

Meles Zenawi, Ethiopia

Length of rule: 16 years. Zenawi helped lead the rebel movement that overthrew a brutal military dictatorship in 1991, and in 1995 was elected prime minister, a post he still holds. After heavily disputed elections in 2005 that featured his ruling party announcing victory in a close election before the votes were counted, Zenawi’s Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front and a small coalition of affiliated parties won 99.6 percent of all parliamentary seats in May elections this year which “fell short of international commitments,” Amnesty International writes.
Feature page: The world’s enduring dictators
Most despotic acts: While Eritrea was officially blamed for starting its infamous war with Ethiopia from 1998 to 2000, Zenawi did little to prevent the escalation of what many described as a pointless conflict that left at least 70,000 dead on both sides and cost two of the world’s poorest countries hundreds of millions of dollars. Zenawi has centralized control of many state functions within his political party, and while that has led to impressive economic growth, it has also spawned numerous reports of politically motivated killings, mass repression of freedoms and torture by state security services, which is saying nothing of the exclusion of non-party members from government services. After the disputed 2005 elections, security forces killed 200 protesters. Many claimed there was a clear victory for opposition politicians in 2005, but the ruling party said it won before results were announced, and it has maintained power since.
Outlook for change: In 2009, Zenawi indicated he was ready to step down, but his party “convinced” him to stay on to ease any potential transition. As many as 200 people in the political opposition have been arrested in recent months, apparently in reaction to the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. Zenawi has faced several insurrections and secessionist movements within Ethiopia in his time as ruler, but it is unclear whether he will step down willingly or be forced to step down any time soon. That said, dissatisfaction with the Zenawi regime must exist as, yet again, swaths of Ethiopia are facing a critical food shortage.
Ethiopia stats:
Population: 90,873,739; Oromo 34.5 percent, Amara 26.9 percent, Somalie 6.2 percent, Tigraway 6.1 percent, Sidama 4 percent, Guragie 2.5 percent, Welaita 2.3 percent, Hadiya 1.7 percent, Affar 1.7 percent, Gamo 1.5 percent, Gedeo 1.3 percent, other 11.3 percent; Median Age is 17.
Constitution and the Rule of Law: Federal republic; Everyday law based on civil law.
Economic Indicators: Overall GDP is $84 billion (world rank is 77); Per capita GDP is $1,000 (world rank is 214); unemployment rate is not available.
Press freedom index world rank: 139

  1. aha!
    | #1

    Neither the World Watch, nor the oblivious diaspora elites understand the underlying ethnic and secessionist politics and/policies in Ethiopia as inscribed in the constitution as the underlying Operating system with its utilities that helped to artificially divide the country into nine regions out of 80 ethnic regions of nations and nationalities, supported by totalitarianism of Dergue regime, along its own Marxisist inclinations of the oppression of nations and nationalities to adminster the country uner ethnic fedrealism and secessionism with dismal economic, political and human right violations does amount to a mere dictatorship. Therefore, it is ethnic dictatorship, whether it is the majority or minority ethnic group comes to power as long as the politics is based on ethnic agenda, rather than national agenda, that of unity, territorial integrity, soveregnity of Ethiopia and Ethiopians under liberal and/or social democracy; where the newly formed parties after the dismantling of ethnic feralism and secessionism through the ratification of the constitution and the autonomy of the individual is maintained as democratic unit, that is geared to Ethiopiawinet and the parties draft their platform upon Ethiopian Nationalism and Ethiopian National Intersts.

    Assuming the there is an accurate census, it behooves no political sense of enumerating the demogrphy of the 70+ ethnic groups to bring out the population of the very few ethnic groups, other than to revamp the majority and minority rule concept in the minds of the Ethiopians. The ethnic populations in Ethiopia have over centuries spread over hundreds and thousands of years over the previous states/provinces and have lived over these states much in the same way as the species populations of animals and plants in a ecosystem. Therefore this artificial boundry set in the constitution Article 46, need to be amended by resorting to the original provinces to begin with, and the individual rights need to precede ethnic and secessionist rights, second and the democratic government elected should rule by the consent of the goverened, and the independence to be stipulated in the constituion. Then and only then your worries of one individual acting as a tyrrant, and/or dictator will be of no avail, as long as the focus is on ethnic and/or seccionist politics and/or policies, the constituion and it is ratified to restore Ethiopian Nationalism and Ethiopian National Intersts in harmonious coexistence and every individual fights to preserve ones own individual rights, before the Supreme Court and/or engages in a non-violent uprising/reaction to freedom of all aspects.

  2. DRAMA
    | #2

    OH BY THE WAY THE SO CALLED GURAGE SPEAKING PEOPLE INCLUDING THE SILTIES ARE MORE BY POP THAT THE TIGRAY SPEAKING PEOPLE. A BIG LIE! THE CIA HAS ALWAYS BEEN ADJUSTING THEIR POP COUNTS TO FIT THEIR AGENDA, SO DOES THE SO CALLED ETHIOPIAN GOV. “LIKE FATHER LIKE SON”. NOBODY BUYS THESE FISHY OVER USED FIGURES FROM THE START. IN ADDITION, HALF CAST PEOPLE ARE FORCED TO SELECT THEIR ETHNICITY DIRECTLY FROM THEIR FATHER. WHO WANTS TO FOLLOW THIS DARK AGES EUROPEAN VIEW????????????????? WE KNOW WHERE MELES BROUGHT THAT VIEW FROM. THE EUROPEANS MADE THE MAN DOMINANT IN THE DARK AGES AND ALSO USED THE MAN’S LAST NAME AS A FAMILY NAME. WE NEVER FOLLOWED THAT DUMM RULE IN OUR HISTORY. IMAGINE WHEN YOU HAVE TO LEAVE YOUR MOTHER FOR YOUR FATHER? WHAT A BOGUS VIEW???? DO THEY THINK WE ARE THAT STUPID?

  3. aha!
    | #3

    Correction: ….. population census of 11 out of eighty ethnic groups, other than to revamp …..

  4. jambo
    | #4

    drama
    there is no more but to agree with most points you said, even though i have doubts on your dispute of population figures

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