Why is Ethiopia poor? – By Alemayehu G Mariam

November 28th, 2011 Print Print Email Email

George Ayittey, the renowned Ghanaian economist and president of the Free Africa Foundation swears that “Africa is poor because she is not free”. Like Ayittey, Robert Guest, business editor for The Economist, in his book The Shackled Continent (2004), declares that “Africans are poor because they are poorly governed.” He argues that “Africa is the only continent to have grown poorer over the last three decades” while other developing countries and regions have grown richer. Much of Africa, it seems, was better off at the end of colonialism than it is today.

For Ayittey and Guest, the tens of billions of dollars in Western aid to Africa have done very little to improve the lives of Africans; at best, aid has served to “bankroll tyrants” and facilitate experimentation by “idealists with hopeless economic policies.” Statism (the state as the principal change agent) and dictatorship have denied the African masses basic political and economic freedoms while the few privileged kleptocrats (or thieves that have pirated the ship of state, emptied out the national treasury and plundered the economy) live the sweet life of luxury (la dolce vita), not entirely unlike the “good old” colonial times. As Ayittey explains, much of Africa today suffers under the control of “vampire states” with “governments that have been hijacked by a phalanx of bandits and crooks who would use the instruments of the state machinery to enrich themselves and their cronies and their tribesmen and exclude everybody else.” (“Hyena States” would be a fitting metaphor considering the African landscape and the rapacious and predatory nature of the crooks.) Simply stated, much of Africa languishes under the rule of thugtators (thugtatorship is the highest stage of African dictatorship) who cling to power for the single purpose of using the apparatuses of the state to loot and ransack their nations. Such is the unvarnished truth about Africa’s entrapment in perpetual post-independence poverty and destitution.

Could it be said equally that Ethiopia is at the tail end of the poorest countries on the planet because she is not free and gasps in the jaws of a “vampiric” dictatorship? In other words….

Is Ethiopia Poor, Hungry, Ill and Illiterate Because She is Not Free and Poorly Governed?

A couple of weeks ago, the Legatum Institute (LI), an independent non-partisan public policy group based in London, released its 2011 Legatum Prosperity Index (LPI) which ranked Ethiopia a pretty dismal 108th/110 countries.[1] LPI’s findings are sobering as they are heartbreaking. Ethiopia has an “unemployment rate [that] is almost 21%, which is the sixth highest rate, globally.” The “capital per worker in Ethiopia is the fourth lowest worldwide.” The country has “virtually no investment in R&D.” The ability of Ethiopians “to start and run a business is highly limited… [with a] communication infrastructure [that] is weak with only five mobile phones for every 100 citizens”; and the availability of internet bandwidth and secure servers is negligible. Inequality is systemic and widespread and the country is among the bottom ten countries on the Index. The Ethiopian “education system is poor at all levels and its population is deeply dissatisfied.” There is “only one teacher for every 58 pupils at primary level, there is a massive shortage of educators, and Ethiopian workers are typically poorly educated.” Less than a “quarter of the population believe Ethiopian children have the opportunity to learn and grow every day, which is the lowest such rate in the Index.”

On “health outcomes, Ethiopia performs very poorly. Its infant mortality rate, 67 deaths per 1,000 live births, and its health-adjusted life expectancy of 50 years, placing Ethiopia among the bottom 20 nations.” The population has high mortality rates from “Tuberculosis infections and respiratory diseases. Access to hospital beds and sanitation facilities is very limited, placing the country 109th and 110th (very last) on these measures of health infrastructure.” The core problem of poor governance is reflected in the fact that “there appears to be little respect for the rule of law, and the country is notable for its poor regulatory environment for business, placing 101st in the Index on this variable.”

But it is not only the LPI that has ranked Ethiopia at the rump of the most impoverished and poorly governed nations in the world. Last year, the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHDI) Multidimensional Poverty Index 2010 (formerly annual U.N.D.P. Human Poverty Index) ranked Ethiopia as the second poorest (ahead of famine-ravaged Mali) country on the planet. According to OPHDI, the percentage of the Ethiopian population in “severe poverty” (living on less than USD$1 a day) in 2005 was 72.3%. Six million Ethiopians needed emergency food aid in 2010 and many more millions needed food aid in 2011 in what the U.N. described as the “worst drought in over half a century to hit parts of East Africa”. The World Bank this past June concluded that “Ethiopia’s dependence on foreign capital to finance budget deficits and a five-year investment plan is unsustainable.” The Bank criticized dictator Meles Zenawi’s “dependen[ce] on foreign capital or other means of financing investment in an unhealthy, unsustainable way.” Ethiopia is the world’s second-biggest recipient of foreign aid, after Afghanistan, according to the Organization for Cooperation and Economic Development rankings of developing nations because its “leaders” have perfected the art of international mendicancy (panhandling).

That is not all. Every international index over the past several years has ranked Ethiopia at the very bottom of the scale including Transparency International’s Corruption Index (among most corrupt countries), the Failed States Index (among the most failed), the Index of Economic Freedom (among the most economically repressive), the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development Investment Climate Assessment (among the most unfriendly to business), the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (among the most poorly governed African countries), the Bertelsmann Political and Economic Transformation Index (among countries most in need of reform) and the Environmental Performance Index (among countries with poorest environmental and public health indicators).

Of course, none of that comes as a surprise to those who are familiar with the fakeonomics of Meles Zenawi. Zenawi says all of the Indexes, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are wrong. He boldly claims the Ethiopian “economy recorded an average economic growth rate of 11 percent over the past seven years.” But that incredibly rosy growth rate figure, often repeated and republished mindlessly and unquestioningly by the international media, is based exclusively on statistics manufactured by Zenawi’s statistics department. This past June, the IMF debunked Zenawi’s imaginary economic growth estimate of 11.4 percent for 2009 “saying 7.5 percent is more realistic.” The IMF “forecast is even lower growth of about 6 percent for the coming year” because of a “more restrictive business climate”.

Economic principles, facts and realities are irrelevant to Zenawi. According to “Zenawinomics” (a/k/a “Growth and Transformation Plan”), there are bottomless pots of gold awaiting Ethiopians at the end of the rainbow in 2015: The Ethiopian economy will grow by 14.9 percent (oddly enough not 15 percent). There will be “food security at household and national level.” There will be “more than 2000 km of railway networks would be constructed” and power generation will be in the range of “ 8,000 to 10,000 MW from water and wind resources during the next five years.” The “whole community has mobilized to buy bonds. This huge savings and mobilization is used for infrastructure development… We are getting loans from China, India, Turkey and South Korea, so all these foreign savings are also mobilized… So I think we can perform on the ambitious plans that are in place.”

Zenawinomics is the economics of a magical wonderland, very much like Alice’s Wonderland: “If I had a world of my own,” said Alice “everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary-wise; what it is it wouldn’t be, and what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”

Maybe you don’t see. That is the whole point. In what Zenawi describes as “one of fastest growing non-oil economies in Africa,” inflation is soaring, and by mid-2011, Zenawi’s Central Statistical Agency reported that the annual inflation rate had increased by 38 percent and food prices had surged by 45.3 percent. There are more than 12 million people who are chronically or periodically food insecure. Yet, Zenawi is handing out “large chunks” of the most fertile land in the country for free, to be sure for pennies, to foreign agribusiness multinational corporations to farm commercially and export the harvest. This past July, the U.S. Census Bureau had a frightening population forecast: By 2050, Ethiopia’s current population of 90 million population will more than triple to 278 million, placing that country in the top 10 most populous countries in the world. It just does not make any sense.

In May 2010, the Economist Magazine rhetorically asked: “Ethiopia’s prime minister, and his ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) expect a landslide victory in the general election due on May 23rd, and are likely to get one (they actually “won” it by 99.6 percent!). The bigger question is whether another five years of EPRDF rule will help ordinary Ethiopians, who are among the poorest and hungriest people in the world.”

Ethiopia Can Prosper Only If She Has Good Governance

The United Nations Development Programme and other international lending institutions define ‘governance’ as the “exercise of power or authority – political, economic, administrative or otherwise – to manage a country’s resources and affairs.” Good governance has to do with the “competent management of a country’s resources and affairs in a manner that is open, transparent, accountable, equitable and responsive to people’s needs.” There is substantial empirical research showing that political freedom, strong social and political institutions and proper regulatory mechanisms significantly contribute to economic growth. Stated simply, good governance and “good” (sustainable) growth are based on mutually reinforcing principles.

Where there is good governance, there is substantial political and legal accountability and much greater respect for civil, political and property rights. Leaders are held politically accountable to the people through fair, free and regular elections; and an independent electoral commission ensures there is no voter fraud, voting irregularities, vote buying, voter intimidation and voter harassment. Institutional mechanisms are in place to ensure the rule of law is followed and those exercising political power and engaged in official decision-making perform their duties with transparency and legal accountability. Where there is good governance, citizens have freedom of association and the right to freely exchange and debate ideas while independent press, and even state-owned media, operate freely along with robust civil society institutions to inform and mobilize the population.

Good governance is an essential precondition for sustainable development. Stable and democratic governing institutions protect political and economic liberty and create an environment of civic participation, which in turn “determines whether a country has the capacity to use resources effectively to promote economic growth and reduce poverty.” On the other hand, bad or poor governance stifles and impedes development and undermines competition in the marketplace. Where human rights and the rule of law are disrespected, corruption flourishes and development inevitably suffers as political leaders and public officials siphon off resources from critical school, hospital, road and other public works and community projects to line their pockets. But where there is good governance, not only is economic development and growth accelerated, even chronic and structural problems of food insecurity (famine) that have plagued Ethiopia for decades can be controlled and overcome. As Amartya Sen has argued no substantial famine has ever occurred in any independent country with a democratic form of government and a relatively free press.

Because there is little or no political accountability, Ethiopia suffers from poor governance and remains at the bottom of the indexes of the most impoverished nations in the world. Programs intended for “poverty reduction” have been misused for political mobilization and rewards for voting for the ruling party. The country has been unable to promote broad-based economic growth because business attached to the ruling party have a near-total monopoly and chokehold on the economy making fair competition for non-ruling party affiliated entities in the market an exercise in futility. Because there is little respect for property and contract rights, those non-aligned with the ruling party feel insecure and disinclined to invest. The ruling regime has made little investment in human resources through effective policies and institutions that improve access to quality education and health services as the LPI data shows. As a result, the rate of flight of professionals, intellectuals, journalists and political dissidents, is among the 10 highest in the world. The International Organization for Migration has said it all: “There are more Ethiopian doctors practicing in the US city of Chicago than in Ethiopia.”

Ethiopia is universally regarded as one of the least free countries in the world and ranks at the very bottom of the 10 most repressive countries in the world for citizens’ freedoms in expression, belief, association, and personal autonomy. The respected Committee to Protect Journalists says, “Ethiopia is the second-leading jailer of journalists in Africa.” There is little regard for the rule of law as the LPI data confirms. In other words, those who occupy official positions have little respect for the country’s Constitution or laws, or show any concern for the fair administration of justice. The judiciary is merely the legal sledgehammer of the dictator and ruling party. The judges are party hacks enrobed in judicial garb with the principal mission of giving legal imprimatur to manifest official criminality. In sum, the rule of law in Ethiopia has been transmuted into the rule of one man, one party.

Few should be surprised by LPI’s conclusions that the “levels of confidence in the military and judiciary are both very low” and “Ethiopia is the country where expression of political views is perceived by the population to be most restricted.” None of the facts above matter to the dictators in Ethiopia because they are ready, willing and able to do whatever it takes to cling to power.

LPI’s dismal ranking of Ethiopia merely augments what has been solidly established over the years in the other Indexes. The question is why Ethiopia remains at the tail end of the most impoverished countries year after year. Zenawi’s “Federal Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission” (FEAC) conflates corruption and poverty in seeking to pinpoint the answer to this question. FEAC says the major sources of corruption in Ethiopia are “poor governance, lack of accountability and transparency, low level of democratic culture and tradition, lack of citizen participation, lack of clear regulations and authorization, low level of institutional control, extreme poverty and inequity, harmful cultural practices and centralization of authority.” Not quite! Poor governance, lack of accountability and transparency (a/k/a corruption), lack of citizen participation and the absence of the rule of law are the root causes of extreme and widespread poverty, underdevelopment, aid-dependency, conflict, instability, starvation and injustice in Ethiopia. Have free and fair elections, allow the independent press to flourish, institutionalize the rule of law and maintain an independent judiciary, professionalize and depoliticize the civil service, the military and police forces and Ethiopians will be well on their way to permanently defeating poverty and making starvation a footnote in the history of the Ethiopian nation.

Ethiopia is poor, hungry, ill and illiterate because she is poorly governed and not free!

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[1] The Legatum Index is based on 89 different variables covering the economy, entrepreneurship and opportunity, governance, education, health, safety and security, personal freedom, social capital and so on. The Institute uses data collected by the Gallup World Poll, World Trade Organization, World Development Indicators, GDP, World Intellectual Property Organization, UN Human Development Report, World Bank, OECD and World Values Survey.

Previous commentaries by the author are available at:

www.huffingtonpost.com/alemayehu-g-mariam/ andhttp://open.salon.com/blog/almariam/

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  1. Mengistu Teshale
    | #1

    Simply, thank you for being a voice for the voiceless

  2. Dawi
    | #2

    The Negative:

    Ethiopia follows Pakistan on the Legatum Prosperity Index; 107 & 108.

    Nigeria & Sudan with OIL are 104 & 105 very close to land locked non oil Ethiopia. Big India is ranked 91.

    I think it is shame on all of the above.

    What is the direction to take and who do you emulate to become as country is what our opposition misses, as usual. Sorry Prof. Al – India’s path is too slow.

    The Positive:

    By following the right direction and people are happy with what they see, the chances of “Arab Spring” is low.

    Legatum 2011 ranks China 91st in personal freedom which is close to Ethiopia.

    At the same time, China ranked 52nd in Legatum 2011’s overall rankings. Year over year, it advanced 14 places (from 24th to 10th) in economic management, economic efficiency and economic prospects.

    How about public expectations? In “public satisfaction” China score reflects one of the most optimistic countries in the world.

    One thing you can say is that if the Chinese are that optimistic in life, the party in power will last for many years to come.

    We know the Meles Dictatorship’s direction today is following China & S. Korea path.

    Can the Meles Dictatorship achieve what China has reached in “public satisfaction” ?

    The answer is no for now but, that can change with how much of a reconciliation pill the dictatorship is willing to swallow?

    IMO, as Ethiopia today is amongst the worst hit in African Brain-Drain, taking “Messay’s Manifesto” as a mild pill is the right Prescription.

  3. ጉረኞች
    | #3

    Dawi
    You said Can the Meles Dictatorship achieve what China has reached in “public satisfaction” ? The answer is no for now but, that can change with how much of a reconciliation pill the dictatorship is willing to swallow?”

    Isn’t that the whole problem is, the die-hard woyane refusing all kinds of peaceful solution? What is your solution when woyane refuse to swallow reconciliation pill?

  4. Dawi
    | #4

    ጉረኞች says:

    “.. What is your solution when woyane refuse to swallow reconciliation pill?..”

    You have a point there my friend.

    Reading Meles’s interview in his visit to S. Korea today, he mentioned how much he admired General Park, my assumption is he won’t literaly copy the negative of Park that is – trampling of all human rights in S. Korea and imprisoning of anybody who would question his rule.?

    “President Park believed that South Korea was not ready to be a full democratic nation nor a free nation. As he stated: “Democracy cannot be realized without an economic revolution.” President Park believed that poverty of the nation will make it vulnerable, and therefore the most urgent task was to eliminate poverty rather than establish a democratic nation. During Presidency of Park era, the Korean Central Intelligence Agency became much feared institution and the government frequently imprisoned anyone that opposed them. Yet, his fierce leadership to save the South Korean economy led to enormous success.”

    I know you already think “Messay’s Manifesto” is hope against hope, unfortunately poor Messay himself is showing the fatigue he is going through on his latest write ups however, Meles repeating foolish activities such as the “cultural revolution” of China is unthinkable to anyone who is sane and who learns from history. One can do better.

    I think Meles has the capabilities of not repeating most of the draw backs of Developmental States of the past but, he may need to be encouraged by a lot more adversaries like Messay who are willing to forcefully call to give and take. So far what we see is mostly a zero sum game advocates who seem to be proficient in running and jumping for the throat of visionaries like Messay. IMO, that needs to adjust to equilibrium.

  5. ጉረኞች
    | #5

    Dawi says
    “my assumption is he won’t literaly copy the negative of Park that is – trampling of all human rights in S. Korea and imprisoning of anybody who would question his rule.”
    You can’t be serious!!! I thought he was giving direct order to silence not only serious but even the benign critics who have been writing against his unintelligent leadership. If you are one of those who think the law of the land is respected by Meles and his cronies, there is nothing much to say, except a day will come sooner or later all sadists will be held accountable to atrocities committed on innocent citizens.

  6. Shamfully rich
    | #6

    How can Ethiopia go forward and compete with other developing countries when dictators like Meles and Mengestu intimidate, incarcerate, beat up and kill her bright, brave, accomplished children?
    How in the world we except the country to get out of poverty when people like Meles and his thugs and other few Ethiopians literally rob eighty million Ethiopians and loot Ethiopia’s natural resources? Some of these shameless Ethiopians starting with Meles and his cronies, they live extravagantly among the richest people in the world while countless number of Ethiopians die for a lack of piece of bread and a cup of water a day. How disgusting!

  7. Dawi
    | #7

    ጉረኞች says:

    [[…If you are one of those who think the law of the land is respected by Meles..]]

    C’mmon man! What law of the land? :)

    Your problem is you have not gotten it yet that Developmental State is a Dictatorship?

    [[…” President Park believed that poverty of the nation will make it vulnerable, and therefore the most urgent task was to eliminate poverty rather than establish a democratic nation…]]

    Once we accept the most urgent task is to eliminate poverty then we apply “Messay’s Manifesto” that shall create a friendlier DICTATORSHIP.

  8. ጉረኞች
    | #8

    አይ አንተ ደግሞ አታድርቀኝ:: You can’t expect a solution from the dictators who created the problem. In majority of the countries, dictatorship resulted poverty and backwardness. Poverty is going to persist in Ethiopia as long as woyane dictatorship survives. You can not pick few countries here and there and conclude positive relationship between dictatorship and development. That is simply absurd!! Those countries are exception rather than rule, in my book.

  9. Anonymous
    | #9

    Let’s come to terms that, not only tyrant Melese and the TPLF blood suckers, the majority of rich Ethiopians have benefited by taking advantages of the desperate Ethiopian house maids and day laborers as slaves by paying them the lowest wages unimaginable. As a child, I never thought about it, but now when I look back, my own parents were one of those who have gotten ahead by using cheap labor. Growing up, we had a house keeper, a doorman and a gardener that also used to wash our father’s car every morning. Their ethnicity have nothing to do with it, except being poor, the hard working Ethiopian maids came from East, West, North and South of Ethiopia. Yes, Woyannes are the most inhumane than all of us, but most rich Ethiopians and their families should feel responsible directly or indirectly, for taking advantages of poor Ethiopians and never helping them to get out of poverty.

  10. Dawi
    | #10

    “አይ አንተ ደግሞ አታድርቀኝ:: You can’t expect a solution from the dictators who created the problem. ”

    Alternative is the core point. I don’t see you showing any. I don’t think there a ready ‘alternative’ in Ethiopian political system. As our problem been lingering before EPRDF existence, poverty induced life included as “anonymous” pointed out. … for centuries and beyond. Unless we put the frame of the problems beyond EPRDF’s existence, we may get entrapped in spiral of challenges that we have been fighting against until now. For me, EPRDF did create lots of problems but let us not forget most of the problems existed before it came (ethnicity, religion,dictatorship, corruption etc)

    Having said that, the alternative that we need is to re-frame Ethiopia’s challenges and answer them however, such things need dialog and reconciliation not extremism you & co. propose. “Messay’s Manifesto” hence is/was a responsible alternative. I could say more…but we have a serous homework to do…. extreme position is an easy way out.

  11. ጉረኞች
    | #11

    Dawi
    I thought we agreed that the show stopper is woyane, that is why Messay’s proposal doesn’t work. The proposal is neither new nor innovative, Woyane rejected it several times in the past. It looks Messay has backed off from his proposal. Two undeniable facts 1. woyane will not compromise 2. poverty intensified in the past two decades and will intensify under woyane dictatorship. Now, go figure the alternative, it is straightforward.

  12. Don
    | #12

    Dawi,.
    Meles and Co. didn’t become multimillionaires by accident, they have robbed the country blind, stolen Ethiopia’s natural resources and sell her land.

  13. Dawi
    | #13

    ጉረኞች:

    I think any other alternative should still be in line of reconciliation. History shows we have not benefited using violence.

    It is only in your & Prof. Al’s mind that “Poverty intensified under Woyane”. :-)

    Those who study such things for business say otherwise.

    The latest The Economist says: “..Ethiopia getting its economic development right despite becoming politically noxious…”. “..Ethiopia is expected to grow by 7.5% this year, without a drop of oil to export…”

    We do agree the Meles Dictatorship being autocratic.

  14. ጉረኞች
    | #14

    Dawi
    “I think any other alternative should still be in line of reconciliation.” አውቆ የተኛን ቢቀስቅሱት አይሰማም:: አለ ያገሬ ሰው:: አንተ አንግዲህ ከመላእክት የበለጥክ ቅዱስ ሰው ስለሆንክ እባክህ ሰይጣኑን ወያኔ እንደምንም ለምነህ ወደ እርቅ አምጣው:: ከዛ ወድያ ተቃዋሚዎችን ለመውቀስ ትችላለህ::

    “It is only in your & Prof. Al’s mind that “Poverty intensified under Woyane”. First friendly advise: when you visit Ethiopia, please open your eyes and look at those unfortunate Ethiopians in the villages. Don’t spend your time in አዝማሪ ቤት and tell the world the prosperity of Ethiopia.

    “The latest The Economist says: “..Ethiopia getting its economic development right despite becoming politically noxious…”. “..Ethiopia is expected to grow by 7.5% this year, without a drop of oil to export…” You forgot to mention the 15% growth claimed by Meles.
    You and Meles knows how a country grow without increasing exportable goods. Is the $$ from remittance count for economic growth? Woyane proudly has been proudly announcing the largest source of revenue is remittance not export of any goods. The fact is all economic indicators, education, health, etc consistently puts Ethiopia the first three in the bottom of all countries.

  15. Dawi
    | #15

    Dawi
    “አውቆ የተኛን ቢቀስቅሱት አይሰማም:: አለ ያገሬ ሰው:: አንተ አንግዲህ ከመላእክት የበለጥክ ቅዱስ ሰው ስለሆንክ እባክህ ሰይጣኑን ወያኔ እንደምንም ለምነህ ወደ እርቅ አምጣው:: ከዛ ወድያ ተቃዋሚዎችን ለመውቀስ ትችላለህ::

    That is good. You have a point there.

    What worries me is how many times can a country start from scratch. For me it has become as predictable as the sun rising each morning.

    Some armed group & mass street protests will arise, and a plane carrying the head of state will depart for Harare or London and CNN will broadcast the celebratory fanfare.

    Does an “Arab spring” make sense for Ethiopia? Or is it just an excuse to avoid the hard work needed to build an economy that sustains a democratic transformation?

    Throwing out everyone and starting from scratch was tried twice, and it was a lesson well learned. In fact I agree with Meles, we have had our “Spring” already.

    If we look at the Meles Dictatorship’s Developmental State as a transition to democracy we will be less interested in overthrowing it immediately. Once it builds confidence that we are not up to overthrowing the Dictatorship by any means necessary it will have to calm down & stop going around like dogs with rabies attacking democracy advocates such as Eskender.

  16. ጉረኞች
    | #16

    Dawi
    You said “Throwing out everyone and starting from scratch was tried twice, and it was a lesson well learned.” Taking over government by legally winning elections is in fact a democratic process, it is not “throwing out everyone” or “starting from the scratch”. That is what the opposition did, they won twice (forget woyane’s declared 99.6% victory, my a**). Those woyane who lost the election should have gone back to their other “ordinary” life. Meles/Woyane failed to do that. Meles/woyane by refusing to abide by its own rule, not only “starting from scratch” it took the country backward by many years to the dark age. Your personal bias to woyane couldn’t allow you to see the progress made by the people cut short before achieving its goal.

    You said “In fact I agree with Meles, we have had our “Spring” already.” I disagree the “spring” is still fermenting, woynae cannot contain it any more, it will explode sooner or later. You cannot avoid the consequence by allowing the notorious dictator to continue his misrule.

    You said: “If we look at the Meles Dictatorship’s Developmental State as a transition to democracy we will be less interested in overthrowing it immediately. Once it builds confidence that we are not up to overthrowing the Dictatorship by any means necessary it will have to calm down & stop going around like dogs with rabies attacking democracy advocates such as Eskender.”
    What do you suggest for people to do what you are saying? The lack of confidence is all woyane’s making, its double talk has to stop. Woyane has to declare its dictatorship just like Derg did, no more opposition parties and no more free media in Ethiopia.

    Dawi— what you are doing is blaming the victim rather than the perpetrator. I have strong suspicion why you chose to do that, if you know what I mean.

  17. Dawi
    | #17

    My starting point now is more or less G7’s position that is; we have a Dictatorship in Ethiopia.

    I just think we should look at the Dictatorship as a Developmental State one therefore, as friendly to our development. Let us take Meles to his words as in the thesis he wrote. We can support that as in line of Messay’s Manifesto or a similar one.

    Hence, we shouldn’t try to overthrow the Dictatorship by any means necessary; we just demand the Developmental State theory is implemented in the country as is done in South Korea and else where by applying it to our unique circumstances.

    Elections? We already know that it is an exercise in futility if it is done assuming power transfer however; it can continue to be a good mock democratic exercise for those who are willing to play the game.

    As far as “spring”, I agree with you that all systems may explode sooner or later. With a venue of the right kind of venting the damage can be minimized.

    Developmental State theory accepts that it is a transitional system to democracy at the get go. Hence, Regime change can happen with a minimum damage to the society as in South Korea.

  18. ጉረኞች
    | #18

    Dawi
    “I just think we should look at the Dictatorship as a Developmental State one therefore, as friendly to our development. Let us take Meles to his words as in the thesis he wrote. We can support that as in line of Messay’s Manifesto or a similar one.”
    Ok, let’s naively believe what you think has happened or will start to happen soon (if there was one 20 years is enough to see it). The proof of the pudding is in the eating. What do you have to show development is in offing and life is getting better in Ethiopia. If you are citing again to the government or international agencies, like World Bank and IMF whose interest are highly intertwined with the government, statistics—- I and many others particularly the Ethiopians who resides within the country never agree with them. Independent agencies who track economic development repeatedly stated worst records of all time for Ethiopia. What I objectively see is… the engine of economic development, the middle class squished and going down to poverty level. Life is getting harder and unbearable for both who runs small businesses and for those who survive by paycheck, unless one is an employee of foreign agencies and get paid in $$. At present, there are either poor people who are below poverty line or few extremely rich people who made themselves wealthy by corruption and extortion. Which ever way I look at it, the only way Ethiopia starts development is only by removing incompetent Meles (not to mention traitor) out of the way through, if possible, peaceful means. It looks that he doesn’t have competent advisers around him, he want to take it the hard way. As long as Meles and his yes men are in power, poverty will persist in Ethiopia.

  19. Dawi
    | #19

    ጉረኞች,

    [[..Ok, let’s naively believe what you think has happened or will start to happen soon (if there was one 20 years is enough to see it). The proof of the pudding is in the eating...]]

    My experience tells me what ever business you get into, the chance of failing is there. What you want to do is fail forward. Twenty years is long but with the kind of complicated problems the country is in, any system may fail forward or back words for that matter, several times.

    To me Meles seems to keep falling forward. At this moment he is advocating a Developmental State theory and I don’t see a better idea than that.

    When a country like ours with a serious internal tensions, a position Meles has reached after 20 years will help it resolve its conflicts in a more definite way than in “democracies”. The best alternative for me is G7 and its conflict resolution principle is great once it comes down to the ground. I don’t see it happening soon. Until the underlined problems are resolved we won’t have fast development just by replacing the Meles Dictatorship. In fact we may go back to square one because under “democracy” the minority can wait until conditions are met for them to come to power and once they do, take revenge on the other group, meaning escalating the conflict between factions.

    By letting the present Dictatorship run its course, where the ruler having total power, there won’t be power quotas to fight for anymore. We are concentrating mainly on development and will be able to reach a middle income country like Tunisia in a short time. That shall lay a better ground for Democracy of the G7 kind to take off. Therefore, to answer your question, the 20 + years struggle is not in vain.

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