Revisiting the Notion of the Developmental State: Refuting it, and suggest an alternative forward! By Anteneh Shiferaw
The political analysis/ or manifesto/or platform of Dr Messay Kebede’s of June 13th, 2011 article [The Developmental State] had been one of his interesting articles that had drawn the attention of many Ethiopians who are surfing the web; but most possibly TPLF’s leader Meles Zenawi may find it most timely as it can be taken as the last option at a time when it is impossible to sustain in power in such barbaric condition against the Ethiopian people. Meaning, it is very much so important to him, than the Ethiopian People, as it shows him the way out of the political stalemate, and give him another chance to fool us and fiddle around with the notion of the developmental state paradigm.
Note that, when I said interesting I don’t mean that the political manifesto is neither attainable by Meles nor helpful to our people, but interesting only from the in-depth theoretical analysis base point of view.
Frist of all, what I would like to make it clear is that had I directly interfaced with Dr Messay on a private bases on the issue I’m pretty sure that Dr Messay would have entertain my different opinion in a civilized manner. Nonetheless, thinking to reach all his unquantifiable rejoinders such as [Prof Minga Negash], I had preferred to use the public domain, the web!
I still remember, a little bit earlier than his 13th June 2011 article, Dr Messay had made/provided/gave a wonderful interview with DW Radio Amharic program on May 22, 2011 confronting with another TPLF’s propaganda machine/TPLF’s foreign ministry spokesman/, Dina Mufti. In that interview Dr Messay had told the TPLF’s cadre that the “resentments in the diaspora are the direct result of the unspeakable misery of our people in Ethiopia” and remind him that if his master, Meles, really wants to reconcile with the diaspora, stop the joke and got to bring tangible change in the status quo; a change that brings a real democracy, peace and prosperity inside Ethiopia. i.e., without addressing these fundamental issues the political stalemate in both ends will continues to the point of deadlock; and the diaspora will keep on demanding the democratic and human rights of its’ people be respected and criminals face justice.
In spite of his wonderful interview with DW Radio, I had emailed to Dr Messay how I was amazed by the way he eloquently argued with the shameless TPLF cadre, in which Dr Messay had quickly replied to my email with dignity and respect, and even included an attachment that invited me to read what he was doing over the days. In fact, to encourage him to reinforce the whole idea of the interview he made with DW Radio I had asked him why he does not write an insightful article that may help our politics go forward. Then, he replied that a ‘popular agenda’ is needed to do so; in which I had accepted it too. By saying the popular agenda he had soon came up with the notion of the developmental state!
Meanwhile, during that email I had also mentioned about his another wonderful political analysis titled “Which Way Ethiopia?” dated back on the 7th Feb 2009 to share his apprehension what TPLF could do in the future using the “pretext” to suffer innocent Ethiopians, peaceful oppositions, political activists, etc., for another more years to come; as a consequence of the declaration of an ‘All Types form of Struggle’ against TPLF. To make it clear, I’m not opposing of any Type of Struggle – - – as long as that brings democracy, peace and ultimately ends TPLF’s war – - – if it is really materialized by the proponents in action, than a token of words. Nonetheless, what my worst fear was that the declaration ‘before putting the formative stage on a strong foundation’ would be rather giving an arsenal to TPLF to make our people a hostage, which we witness more clearly now!! Very determined peaceful politician and journalist like Andualem Aragie and Eskinder Nega and many more others are now suffering under TPLF inhuman prison being falsely alleged of executing Ginbot 7’s act of terror. The reason why I mentioned this is that, according to my understanding, one of the key factors why Dr Messay come up with this popular agenda, the developmental state, is totally based on the facts stated on his paper titled “Which way Ethiopia?” back on 7th Feb 2009.
Dr Messay had presented and analyzed key attributes that features the developmental state, such as: Market Economy, Bureaucratic Autonomy, Development-Oriented Elite, Nationalist and Elite Education, and I have no any objection on his characteristics of the developmental state; I profoundly adopt it as it is. Nonetheless, the purpose of this paper is to show the other side of the prism that could not be attainable from the Ethiopian context/situation – - – given the nature of TPLF leader and the time we are living in – - – and instead I will suggest an alternative that put our just cause forward.
Although Dr Messay’s paper, the developmental state, been released on June 13th, 2011, the reasons why I am encouraged to revisiting it so late now is because:
- Dr Messay’s continuous intent and effort to discourse his manifesto on different media outlets,
- President Barak Obama’s speeches during his visit to the Asia Pacific on mid-November 2011, – - – “prosperity without freedom is another form of poverty”,
- Meles’s visit to the South Korea in a believe that the notion of the developmental state paradigm be accepted, and last but not least,
- To suggest an alternative that puts our just cause forward.
To begin with, first of all, when we talk about the developmental state we have to underline/consider/ the political era how these developmental states came into being? To come to the point, these developmental states were created out of the Cold War era to spin around in the sphere of U.S.A. They were heavily financed by U.S.A. to contain the proliferation of socialism/communism in the region. As Cold War was a war of ideology between the then super powers, two prominent camps, USSR and USA. USA was encouraging those countries to adopt the path of democracy but most importantly to eradicate/or contain/ the spread of communism in the region. In other words, as long as these countries wages war against the new thinking, communism, their respective country government (mainly: South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore) was free to do any savage crime against their citizens, in this case notably against the communist. Note that, the Japan’s case is somewhat different to the above three or the six tiger states, which I will show shortly.
The encouragement of the democratic path and economic supersede in the region, in those countries, brought an alternative new type of regime, namely called “New Authoritarianism.” [R.E. Feinberg & Others, 1990, p.140]. The name new authoritarianism was coined to sideline/depart from/ the main stream authoritarianism as well as the Rigid Authoritarianism. Caution, Rigid authoritarianism is the other name of Stalinism, refer any dictionary for details.
The concept of “New Authoritarianism” regime was new because: at one hand the regime works at its full capacity to build strong economy and safeguard the sovereignty of the nation while on the other hand deploys a harsh punishment against the communist; where most of the case the degree of harassment was to please USA, the one who subsidize their economy, but not all from the inhumanity nature themselves. That is why the term “New” is prefixed to it to distinguish it from the above two types of authoritarianisms, the main stream and the rigid one, as there is an intent of semblance of democracy.
Now, to underpin the difference, the new authoritarianism states were encouraged and financed by the USA to follow the path of democracy but entirely legitimize their long term ruling by the strength of their respective economy performance using the above mentioned characteristics, and above all with a very strong nationhood as well as by the magnitude of their harsh/crude/ punishment against communist minded too.
As the main stream and rigid authoritarianisms are known in their own terms, it is not important to define it any more here now. What would be rather more important now is to note the fundamental different between the TPLF ideology (and its leader, Meles) and the above new authoritarianism state characteristics.
Given TPLF and its leaders, including Meles, came into being from cursed womb that seriously threaten the existence of Ethiopian Nationhood: First, by marginalizing and eventually extinguishing the Amharic Language Speaking society and later against every other ethnics that don’t accepts TPLF’s ethnic supremacy over others/theirs, there won’t be any hope that the characteristic of the developmental state be workable in Ethiopia. More importantly, while the enmity of citizens on the bases of ideological different be reconciled and eradicated by strength of democratic means and principles, like what has happened in the developmental states, one has to question himself how ethnic’s radicalisation and hatred among each other would bring: economic development, a strong nationhood and democratic equality?
Note that, I knew very well how Dr Messay reached to this conclusion! It is out of a desperate situation and hopelessness that Meles won’t cede power without a ferocious fight; a fight not a type of ‘fair fight’ in a genuine & democratic election, but another fight! On the other hand Dr Messay had also closely assessed how weak and fragile the opposition camp is to resist such fight/confrontation. Above all, I had traced back one of his papers “Which Way Ethiopia?” written back on 7th Feb 2009. This paper was the fundamentals of his developmental state paradigm. Dr Messay wrote:
“When the TPLF seized power in 1991, I remember a television interview in which Meles bluntly declared that those who oppose the new power have only to do what the TPLF did, that is, become a victorious army. In so saying, Meles was actually revealing his idea of legitimacy: the TPLF deserves power because it defeated the Derg militarily; if you want power, you will have to do the same thing and defeat us militarily. Entitlement to power resides in the readiness to fight and defeat, it does not lie in the will of the people. In other words, power is up for grab for all those who are ready to fight and die for it. Consequently, power is never handed over; the only way by which it can change hands is when it is taken away.”[Which Way Ethiopia?, Feb 7th, 2009]
“In light of the opening of the political field for free and fair election in 2005, it is reasonable to assume that Meles and his supporters had caressed the idea that they would easily emerge winners. Meles allowed free election, not because he was ready to cede power after a fair fight, but because he thought that the opposition was too weak and its popular support too fragmented and numerically feeble to constitute a serious challenge.” [. . . the developmental state, June 13th, 2011]
However, we have to come down to earth and cut the cackle; i.e., the supremacy of an ethnic group over any other had never been entertained as a normal political phenomenon, even in the Cold War era. i.e., it is a serious disease never been entertained in normal human mind. Specially, it is not acceptable in the era where we live in now. So, whatsoever the misery TPLF and its leader Meles deploys against our people is so tough and frustrating, whatsoever the opposition camp is fragile and divided we should not legitimize Meles’s ruling by offering him and his group a long lasting absolute power guarantee in Ethiopia.
We must bear in mind that unjustly legitimizing Meles’s ruling is far worse than being ruled by a forceful foreign colonizer, though it is not our culture, at least in the long terms. Because, once you abled to overcome and defeated the foreign colonizer you could soon, certainly, develop a sense of Unity and Nationhood that brings everyone from the corner to grow up together; while offering Meles more years in power will neither re-brings the strong Unity of our people nor guarantees the creation of strong Nationhood. Mind you, Meles is TPLF’s leader since in 1986, for the last 26 years.
The Japan case
Obviously after the end of the 2nd World War Japan was one of the recipients of the Marshal Plan and later one of the beneficiary of the Peace Corps that had stimulated the Japanese Economy and created friendship between the two nations respectively, USA & Japan.
Despite Japan be friendly with USA on a new political order, the most interesting and nationalistic strategic it had implemented after the War was engaging with a series of discussion in convincing its intellectuals in the West to return to their motherland and help rebuild Japan. The most noticeable one among was the prominent figure Dr William Edwards Deming. Unfortunately, Deming was not an easy figure persuaded easily by the then Japanese government to accept the request of his return to Japan, from USA, without putting his own terms, prerequisite, to conclude a binding agreement.
As Isaac Newton (1643 – 1727) was one of the most gifted human minds that Mother Nature had offered to the Human Earth, he had clearly stated the Universal Law of Gravity, the Light Spectrum and Reflecting Telescope and as a Cambridge University Mathematician he was also the inventor of Differential Calculus which remains, for ever, as heart and centrepieces of Mathematical science at a very high level. Similarly, Dr Deming (1900 – 1993) was one of the most gifted minds that had transformed the then Japanese infant industry into a modern high tech one. However, before doing so, had he decided to return to Japan, Dr Deming had convinced the Japanese government not to interfere in any of the Japanese industrial sector and the whole economy, except giving a helping hand when it is only needed most. As the Japanese nationalistic government had accepted the binding agreement, Dr Deming had courageously returned to Japan and implemented his methodology called “Continual Service Improvement” in each and every sector of the Japanese industry.
To deploy the “Continual Service Improvement” process/method Dr Deming had had a methodology called DemingCycle. [Deming Cycle], [Another Deming Cycle Example]. These are some of his cycles at a lower level, just to show how his cycle is deployable to any industrial sector, effective more at the Engineering firms, Software or any other big Industrial Projects/plant/firms too. The centrepiece of his methodology is “Plan-Do-Check-Act” Cycle. If you are not getting me wrong, or said me don’t write your Curriculum vitae (CV) I had in-depth studied his methodology and used it for a very big full yearly Software Project at the industry level, for my final year for a program of Bachelor of Engineering in Software Engineering, BEng, in 2004 by merging together with another influential person Prof Watts S. Humphrey of Carnegie Mellon University of USA, the God father of Software Engineering. He is the one who had designed the whole course structure of Bachelor of Engineering in Software Engineering Program. For that matter, he is internationally known on his PSP and TDP methodologies; processes that work for Personal Software and Team Development levels to address the needs of Industrial based Software, big project. According to his methodologies course enrolment in BEng at one time is strictly 20 students, no more and less. The high-tech companies that clustered/flourish at the Silicon Valley are all the results of such gifted minded individuals.
When the then Presidential nominee candidate Barak Obama visited the Google Centre, he was extremely amazed with the progress of the technology and how key for the development of America; and wished America have had more engineers than lawyers; being he himself was the first African-American President of the Harvard Law Review and distinguished graduate of it too.
Possibly one may not believe when I said that Prof Deming’s methodology had transformed the Japanese economy from No Where to a Very High Tech one with in a short span of time. I remember, in 2003 my Signal Analysis subject Prof had said in a class that “Japanese are not Scientific Inventors but are the Best Improvers.” Note, how competitive their Electronic Industries, The Car Industry, etc., all are everyday scrutinized throw the Prof Deming methodology. For the profound job he did to his nation, the Japanese government in return had established a prestigious foundation by the name of their distinguished son called Prof Deming Foundation.
As I said above, being the nationalist Japanese government managed to convince Dr Deming returned to his homeland, within a short span of time, Japan had completely transformed its economy to a higher level and took the 2nd place in the economy power house, not in the Asia Pacific but worldwide. The cooperation of the two richest nations in the land had helped the other satellite states in the region, i.e., mainly South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore served them as a source of their human labour forces in the region. South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore were first started with a responsibility/task of packing computers and high tech components, then started assembling it, then producing computer chips and high tech products, and spare parts. At the moment in time, it is needless to try to explain the magnitude of their economic transformation in all aspects the industry. Meaning, knowledge has fuelled their economy too! i.e., knowledge becomes the source of their power and pride that had transferred from the rich nations (USA & Japan) to poor nations until in the 70th.
Obviously, besides the transfer of knowledge and finance from USA to those countries in many ways, during the Cold War, the richest nation of the land, USA, were also subsidizing their economy as necessary as possible to defuse the proliferation of communism/socialism in the region. For instance, even President Barak Obama had stated in his book how it was fearful the situation in Indonesia during his four years stays. The Suharto government was summarily executing 100 thousands of innocent citizens being alleging them as communist and was in return used to get more than $100 billion in the form of aid, from the USA government. Although Indonesia was not part of the six tiger states there could have been a case of such scenario that had happened in the other developmental states.
That may be the case why President Barak Obama had said: “Prosperity without freedom is another form of poverty.” [B. Obama, Nov 17th, 2011]. The point is that, although experiences tell us that all the deposed dictators in Middle-East were recipients of USA’s killing arms and money, whether President Obama had spoken it above his neck or from the bottom of his heart, the statement what he had said during his visit of the Asia Pacific Countries was absolutely true and timely.
Kissinger was everything: Whilst his portfolio was Secretary of State, he was also used to act as the President of USA and War Minister too. While he was negotiating with USSR to end the war in Vietnam, at the sometime he used the leverage to order the military to use B52 bomber to rain the massive bombs so that as possible as many Vietnamese be killed in a given time. So, what would the surprise if many communist minded individuals in: South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore were being summarily executed with the backing of USA different time governments?
At a time when the South Korea’s economy were nearly to collapse, due to the leaking out of corruption information within the higher state apparatus (that is first time in its history) during the late 1990th, (1997 – 1999), as a result, USA had almost rescued its friend by using it influence within the IMF to supply it US$40 Billion loan, in July 1999 just within a short time. As a result of that rescue action by USA, South Korea was again revived from the ash and been the 10th richest nation of the world in 2004 and one of the homelands of best young mathematicians and Science students in the world too in the International competitions. It is only Japan and Finland that competitively computes with it in such fields.
I’m also extremely amazed how the Taiwanese science and technology institutions transformed to high quality. Its’ professors and Drs are the regular contributors of IEEE, a high research papers in computer algorithms equivalent to: Austria’s, Finland’s, Japan’s, USA’s, UK’s, Germany’s, and France’s counterparts. They design and implement the computing algorithm for very high critical real time systems. South Korea’s and Taiwan’s computer and mobile industries are the most competitive technology of the day.
They are no more dependent on USA and Japan economies; as the time is not favourable for bad governance and economic dependency either. It is a time for democratic change and mutually growth. That is why the past developmental state paradigm is not workable to our today’s era. So, why Meles is deceiving himself being thinking that the Cold War Era way of thinking works for Ethiopia at all times. No, stop the joke!!
The Asia Pacific Region
When we talk about South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore it is an absolute imperative to overview the situation of the most populous nations of the land, namely India & China. I put them according to their relative democratic order but not in their population wise. While we are cooking the sectarian war to feed our people with misery and destitution, nations of the world at different levels had been engaged to put their technological foundation at its strongest place as possible. For that matter, Indian and China early stage negotiation and engagement with USA’s high-tech firms justifies this.
1. India: “India’s effort to advance its science and technology create opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation. Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi declared that ‘Science and Technology’ is the heart of the Indo-U.S. relationship.” [A.S. Ahmed Meer, July 4, 1988].
“As of December 1989, it had approved eighteen projects in the areas such as Computer Software, agriculture, and Chemicals.” [R.E. Feinberg & Others, 1990, p.127]. Most importantly the foundation of civil liberties in India had had helped India as a country and its citizens as individual to be exposed to a knowledge of such paramount projects, relatively at the early stage, at its own region standards.
The good relationship between the two nations gave a free movement of people and access to knowledge from different sides of the globe. Most apparently, India is the most beneficiary of this kind. “India – like China and unlike the USSR has the advantage of a large overseas population with ethnic ties to the country. In the United States alone, there are some 600, 000 ‘non-resident Indians (NRIs), many of whom are scientists and engineers.” [John Echeverri-Gent, unpublished paper, 1988]. During the same year there were 2.2 million scientists and engineering at home. This number was in 1988, so one can imagine what would be the actual number of scientists and engineers living overseas and back home at this point in time? The research made in Atomic Energy, Space, and Microelectronic Engineering takes the lion’s share of their general research budget.
The Silicon Valley is predominantly controlled by Indians, while their home based outsourced software engineering products expected to generate revenue of more than US$100 billion in a single year. This diversified knowledge had had helped India fully built its brand computer since last year and planned to reach every poor villages as fast as possible, while Singapore abled producing all computer chips is a fantastic achievement by its own standard. Last but not least, ¼ of the international call centres are expected to be based in India. Indian Mathematics and Physics teachers teach over a video link worldwide, including USA. Consequently, this helps them to acquire the key knowledge of how to professionally interface with 21st century client handling and treatments techniques. In short, the Indian Economy is absolutely fuelled by IT industry and natural science knowledge.
2. China: The China’s leaders had learnt lessons from the negative impact of the early Cultural Revolution and tried to adjust things at the level of any communist party standards. Particularly, Deng Xiaoping’s “One Country Two Systems” policy had relatively relaxed the communist party power structure within the central committee as well as at the regional level too; and made good relationship with Hong Kong and its rebellion region, Taiwan, in the economy aspect.
More importantly, the new approach had provided regional party leaders the power to act with its full autonomy and encouraged by the notion of creating a very strong Nationhood, China: by re-designing and improving the poor domestically grown technologies; and eventually, deep-seated China’s leaders decided to close the technology gap with the West by engaging dialog with; as a result, it had established Multifaceted industries called High Technology Zone, Science Parks, and Research Centres funded by World Bank.
On the other end, being the Chinese government had reformed its Land Policy and had provided an incentive for local farmers to own their farming land and be self-sufficient in food production and sell over limit as well as protects the environment, the result achieved in the land reform had initiated the publication of the Beijing Review Publication book called “Progress In Urban Reform” of the early 1980th which gave the roadmap for the cooperation between Urban and Rural production lines.
They first drew up a general plan to streamline the factory’s management, personnel affairs, production, and distribution practices. Due to the amicability of the two production lines, i.e., demand and supply were well monitored and simultaneously growing, despite the lack of political freedom, this had improved the standard of living of its citizens quite significantly.
As it is mentioned above, what was more astonishing thing is that, although there is lack of political freedom in China, the millions of Chinese Citizens living in the West do compromise with their government due to the strong sentiment/belief of the Chinese government determined to create a Super Power China. As a result, many Chinese Profs, Drs, and academicians who teach in the Prestigious Universities of the West do support their fellow citizen counterparts in the Chinese universities, in many ways. Meaning, the Chinese economy is fuelled by Export Market and knowledge. In spite of this, the world economy power house is certainly shifting from North American to the Asian Pacific, in which South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore will be a beneficiary too.
To sum up this section, the millions overseas living Indians and Chinese Citizens are certainly the most reliable assets of both respective countries.
The Ethiopian Situation
First of all, unlike countries mentioned above, the fundamentals of TPLF and its leaders are born out of a ‘Disease of Inferiority Complex’ with no justification that one is superior over others; astonishingly, if there was any sentimental, it was the so-called superiors that had first torched the struggle for the democratic equality of the Ethiopian societies. However, sadly, instead of supporting the democratic equality and the rule of law, the racist TPLF’s leaders changed the course of struggle and saw the seed of racism and determined to avenge Ethiopia and its’ loving societies. Its ethnic political structure has no any similarity with any kind; it is simply savage, backward and hateful; a hateful that is hatching racism, and radicalizing ethnics! As it has no any political structure that matches with the modern way of thinking, it fears democratic institutions, peaceful, fair and worthy competition in the ballot box. Instead, its survival/existence depends on divide and rule principles, as it is backward and remote. So, here we see how TPLF and its leader, Meles Zenawi, departs from the main stream ideology of the developmental state. Because: he is the simply born as enemy of the nation (Ethiopia) and its people – - – full stop.
Meles claims that TPLF, and his ethnic clone mafia groups, have 5 million members; while this is an illicit way of bribing innocent citizens by way of forcing them to pay in the form of membership contribution for being they are working with the tax payers money under TPLF lead government. One can imagine that if each one of them is forced to pay a minimum amount of $10 – $20 birr a month, TPLF is getting $50 to 100 million birr in one month. If we assume that its’ (TPLF’s) actual members be 0.25 million to the maximum, the 4.75 million has to be bribed citizens that are contributing $47.5 to $95 million birr each month direct to TPLF’s coffer. Mind you, all civil servants of the nation, including University Lecturers has to pay the monthly payments for TPLF out of their monthly salary. Is this how a nation is built? Every university and college graduate has to fill in TPLF’s membership forms to get any kind job! No matter whether he is from South, East, or West part of Ethiopia! The nation’s economy is all plunged under the control of TPLF and its’ affiliated firms in which the adoption of the market economy policy have little impact for long term – - – although Meles won’t accept it – - – unless and otherwise justice is done how and when all is appropriated.
The other thing is that, we had already seen an overview of how knowledge was transferred to the above stated developmental states, including India and China. Nonetheless, given the nature of TPLF and its leader, there won’t be a case of that kind of scenario expected to happen in Ethiopia; because, TPLF/Meles is neither computable with the characteristic of the notion of developmental state nor even with the rigid/Stalin one, as TPLF is simply a creation of the Dual Highbred of the Rigid one with Dominant Factor of Tribalism/Racism. Even, if one tries to study/assess how fair the business relation b/t TPLF and China is, it is extremely frustrating and saddening scenario. Let leave alone to expect the transfer of knowledge from China to Ethiopia, astonishingly, China is using its own labour working forces brought from China; sadly, most of them were released from Chinese prisons cells for this purpose. Besides, as experience shows us, Meles and his clone are always anti Knowledge and access to knowledge. He fears the IT industry the one that fuels the whole economy of any country. If there is any, it is all controlled by the lunatic fringe/his ethnic group/ for a wrong purpose. So, Meles won’t be happy with any kind of genuine power sharing arrangements with the oppositions, it is a risky enterprise to him; and I don’t understand why individuals try to portray him as an intellectual?
At the same token, TPLF were getting all kind of handout including quite a lot of billions dollars in the form of loan and aid, for the last 21 years, Nonetheless, reliable sources shows that the aid and loan money are both ended up at a few TPLF’s elite hands, like Meles [illicit-financial-outflows-from-Ethiopia]. Needless, to mention about the national economy, it is embezzled since they subdued the nation by an ethnic military means!
In spite of this, no matter how naïve and weak the opposition camp is? Or conversely, no matter how strong the sectarian TPLF’s army armed to its neck against Ethiopia and its people is? How on earth one thinks giving Meles an absolute power for another more years will guarantee economic development and later brings democracy to all Ethiopians? If we are not able to purge the total ethnic’s radicalization beliefs and TPLF organization structure, to bring a complete new and genuine political establishment in Ethiopia, we have to at least . . . at least think Ethiopia without Meles and Bereket. The two are notoriously destructive elements and ultra-separatists who cannot come to the middle way as they are constantly bickering differences and hate among our people. This is the minimum requirements what Ethiopia needs to forge a reliable future that brings democracy equality, peace and prosperity to all. So, Meles and Bereket ‘shall’ resign/cede/ power without any condition; the word shall is a mandatory requirements in this case!!
When I thought about Prof Deming, being Deming was a Statistician Professor, I always remember many of our Addis Ababa University Professors expelled by Meles Zenawi. Apparently, I remember Prof Ayenew of Arat kilo, Science Faculty, who was the most disciplined Statistician Professor I had ever seen. He was also well known, international, by his Statistic Theorems!! When Meles expelled them, the new opportunists who came from overseas never raise a single question for the justification of his action either – - – very bad and shameful!!
Please allow me to say one thing about Prof Ayenew! I still remember, one day, Prof Ayenew asked us to have one extra statistic lecture/class time/ with him, before the end of the semester, and he had suggested his preferable time slot. Then we replied that “we have a common course called ‘historical materialism’. Then, Prof Ayenew was laughing for more than a minute for being historical materialism is given for science faculty students. Then, he said “leave your historical materialism and read newspaper.” The day after, the then historical materialism lecturer Mr Pele, Mr Pele is an Ethiopian, while he was teaching, over a sadden, he had raised a serious question to all of us. He questioned: “Here, if you go straight down to the Palace, across the road, you read a very big slogan written over a sheet that reads ‘the Red Terror is part of the Green Revolution’ I know that red terror is killing young generation while green revolution is meant to be production. So, I wonder if any mathematic students among you tell me where an intersection between killing and production could happens/lays?” Every one of us was frightened to tell that it was empty, but Mr Pele did not and explained more!!
The whole point of the above paragraph is to substantiate that Meles had dismissed prominent academic figures like Prof Ayenew for a simple reason that he hates skilled and independent thinking individuals; otherwise, Prof Ayenew and most of them were never been a supporter of the Derg regime either. Moreover, unlike today’s situation, one can imagine how the then Addis Ababa University was relatively free from the then government’s interferences too. Everyone was there because of his/her merit! Nevertheless, under Meles leadership, it is very difficult to get a lecturer with merit; especially all those new universities and colleges are filled with TPLF’s cadres and clones who don’t know the ethic of professionalism is worth than serving a racist mafia group who will be dumped to the dust bin of Ethiopian History. In 2006, when I met with Dr Taye W/semayat at a public meeting, I had asked him what a generation is the Ethiopian Universities Lecturers producing that doesn’t have the courage to say a single word when Meles destroys the whole economy with his wrong policy? These intellectuals meant to be the one who guides the policy formation of the nation. Whatsoever the case is, the Addis Ababa University’s Profs dismissal is an act of genocide against our Nation, Ethiopia.
Despite this genocide, I’m pretty sure that Ethiopia has many Prof Deming likeminded experts within the diaspora as well as in side Ethiopia who can transform our country’s political and economic systems within a short period of time. What we do not have here is just the will of the two most hated individuals, Meles and Bereket, to cede power peacefully. If the two do, we will get the momentum to liberate the TPLF army from a dirty game of: treason against a nation, backward adventurism, racism politics, and convert them to a disciplined national army part and build the nation economy like a miraculous.
After putting a lot of unimaginable efforts: our most precious time and knowledge, and going up and down with a lot of obstacles to create a viable force (just from scratch, only by the committed party members resources) that speaks with the language of Meles’ choices, and the achievement was extremely with promising results, but, unfortunately fallen at the enemy hand (at the Sudanese & TPLF’ men in the Sudan) with the sabotage of the so-called opposition leader that portray itself as democratic (D), and finally was forced to go to a third country – - – after suffering many months in the Sudan prison, I was thinking that my mind will accept the inevitable and settle down and do some of my private affairs, like studying. However, besides the obvious political misery of my people, when I had more realized how far my country is left behind in the modern technology industries and natural science sector, I’m now everyday sadden and frustrated thinking that our country will be remaining as begging nation unless and otherwise a dramatic and fundamental political change is made very soon: a fundamental political change that should respects the democratic rights and the choice of the people in the ballot box. At current state, let leave alone Ethiopia to compute with international innovative firms its case is the most backward one by African Countries Standard; in some aspects even worse than the stateless Somalia’s.
To show a little bit of how wide the technological gap between Innovative Nations of the world and Ethiopia is, please allow me to give one shorter case scenario. To begin with, after I stayed two months in my new third country, I was offered a new program to study in a university. During the congratulation speech – - – for being we were offered the program – - – Prof J. D, the then Director of Software Engineering Institute in the Asia Pacific, was waiting us in the room with a very big projector displaying the skeleton of Boeing stretched across the wall. After the congratulation speech, with no spending time, he directed his hand held electronic beam to the internal skeleton of Boeing, and said that “The Americans Engineers are working Day and Night to fly Boeing with cables, just without any fuel.” Soon, I had realized that, as a result of their serious technological competition between them, I read a desperate and anger in his face and speech, though it was, however, he continued and said “in this Boeing, there are around twenty thousands of different sizes of cables, and a programming code that covers around 20 km of length if we put the printed paper on the road. Though the achievement to improve Boeing is so remarkable, the American Engineers are working day and night to fly Boeing without any fuel, using programming code (technology) that run as a blood in it. So, this is our responsibilities to maintain and also add new functionalities in the existing technologies.”
Prof J. D, was known in designing the method to capture the behavioural scenario to launch a space shuttle in his methodology called Behavioural Tree. Outside of the Conference scheduled time, i.e., during the break/and launch/ time Prof J. D, was showing his methodology and the actual design technique during an International System Engineering Conference in 2004. As I was one of the volunteer team representing my batch (the final year of Bachelor of Engineering in Software Engineering students), to do the Networking and the whole arrangement of the Conference Avenue, around 30 rooms and server computer, which was in Sheraton International Hotel, I was privileged to attend the 3 days conference and during the break/tea time, a participant from South Africa had greeted and asked me where am I from? When I told him that I’m from Ethiopia, he immediately told me about the situation in Ethiopia, needless to mention; at the same time, he had told me how some African Countries are trying to cope with the modern technology, such as: Nigeria, Egypt, and Ghana. His comment was absolutely true, nonetheless, I replied to his comment: “Ethiopia had had helped the ANC and its leader to liberate South Africa from the apartheid racist misrule, and now, once we liberate our Nation/Ethiopia from locally born and grown apartheid group, which is the Meles mafia group we will step up into the modern technologies and science engagement big tasks”. Although he was a bit uncountable during our first minutes of conversations, he had encouraged me to do more, and finally gave me his business card if I wish to contact him or need any resources. When I got time, I had rung to late-Engineer Kitaw Ijigu and told him the comment about our nation. Then, he replied to me, as that was the reason why he “had decided to quit NASA and determined to bring the political change – - – at his best capacities – - – our Ethiopia needs most.”
So, while innovative nations are working day and night to embark and embrace new ideas and thinking, Meles and his clone, including China and some private firm from India, are working day and night and spent a lot of money to block the access of a simple public informative websites and jam genuine media outlets like ESAT, VOA, DW and others.
Therefore, what truly Ethiopia needs most is not the conversion and extension of Meles’s from racism to an absolute power coupling with long term ruling, but, rather his unconditional resignation and cedes power peacefully and faces justice.
An Alternative to the way forward
My alternative is not a bullet proof and a smooth road forward; but it is with its own problem that needs determination and courage to overcome it. Obviously, again and again time had showed us that dictators don’t resign with grace when they ought to do so; especially racists like Meles and his clones will wait till the last minute to be thrown to the dust bin of history. So, to put the momentum against Meles and his mafia group the so-called oppositions inside Ethiopian should come up with real alternative political party platform and leadership capability attributes, ‘New Mentality’, to fit to lead the struggle of the Ethiopian People to liberate itself from the backward and racist mafia group of Meles.
Here by saying an alternative political party platform and new mentality is to say: a political party platform that completely departs from TPLF’s tribal/ethnic believes and sentiments and a new mentality that abides by the Modern Democratic Political Principles and Rules. Without having these key political parties’ manifesto ideas and beliefs there won’t be any feasible result that ends the Meles mafia group ruling. Once having these political party’s key attributes put in place, design a very strong organizational/party structure that meets the challenge of the day. Besides, there needs the capacity and determination to use all available legal avenues stated under TPLF constitution, such as: peaceful demonstration and challenge TPLF by all available media outlets and means.
If there is a will and determination from the opposition side TPLF can be challenged in way it come /chooses/ ups. As a matter of fact, there were times that TPLF was seriously challenged in its ethnic ruling, since it came into power: The first was while late-Prof Aserat W/yes lead the All Amhara People Organization (AAPO). Although Prof Aserat was forced to use the name Amhara, the party platform of AAPO was completely designed as secular, to work Ethiopia Wide. As a result of that, most people used to see it as a viable alternative and organized under its platform, in which TPLF was in a state of frustration/shock due to the mass mobilized to be AAPO members. Reliable source leaked information that TPLF was planning to infiltrate AAPO by pushing its core members to be AAPO members too. However, how lucky Meles is, at that critical/high time between AAPO & TPLF whether it was deliberately or innocently Lidetu Ayalew had helped TPLF by creating confusion within AAPO in his plan to form the then newly formed EDP. Though I disagree with the name Amhara to be used by Prof Aserat, Lidetu’s untimely action to form EDP had had changed AAPO from the point of No Return Position into state of Disarray and Confusion, and TPLF got out of it what it wants most!! The second was during the era of Kinijit. The unchallengeable source of power of Kinijit was its democratic and unity political platform! As the then platform was a real alternative to TPLF the Ethiopian people had accepted the platform and supported its leaders to the point of accepting: death, imprisonment, and facing harassments. However, despite its leaders had passed throw a lot of hardship and difficulties imposed by the mafia group/Meles, what had affected it most was that the sentiment of the coalition within its leadership had created another big collision that had effectively ended the life of Kinijit itself; both most favourable times lost unwisely due to lack of modern democratic and capable party leader who can cope with situation as it comes and whatever the case priorities the will of Kinijit/party but never be personal gain and fame. This is what I mean by New Mentality!
So, the whole idea of my alternative is spinning around leadership issue, creating a modern democratic and capable party leader inside Ethiopia. Who meets the stated criteria was Ms Birtukan! We all of us knew how Birtukan had suffered and incarcerated under Meles direct order for nearly two years. Given the culture of our society, that was challenging for a young mother and female gender.
The legacy of Birtukan is always peaceful and by democratic means; that is why she is fit for the political situation inside Ethiopia to lead the ‘True Peaceful Political Struggle’. True Peaceful Political Struggle mean: a struggle that use at least every peaceful means stated under TPLF constitution, at least is to say call: a frequent peaceful public demonstrations and support against TPLF ethnic ruling, for freedom of assembly, to challenge the control of media outlets by TPLF, to oppose the detention of innocent Ethiopians for political reasons, etc.
By the time I’m pleading with her to go back home and lead the peaceful struggle, I know what is going on against the peaceful political party leaders like Andualem Aragie and journalist Eskinder Nega and many more others, needless to mention names. Nonetheless, whatsoever the state of her incarceration under Meles order was so frustrating and shocking; given she was a unifying figure, leaving UDJ in that state of divided condition and her supporter behind was absolutely a big mistake. To find a solution to bring the dividing groups into one party umbrella was ultimately Birtukan’s leadership responsibility. Whatsoever the walk to freedom is so tough she must accept all sorts of the challenges deployed by Meles ruling. To give you/her an insight of courage and determination don’t forget that some of us had been incarcerated in an enemy country’s prison in the Sudan, in which you cannot see any family member or friend during the long time stay. What kept the mind very strong and intact were: the unwavering Love of Ethiopia and its suffering People, the quest for democratic equality, peace and justice to all.
So, Birtukan’s return to home is a “Nation Salvation Call” to save Ethiopia from the break of collapse. The renaissance of Ethiopia is achieved only through the realization of democratic equality, peace and justice to all but never be by guaranteeing Meles and his group an absolute power for long term. Above all, stripping the power of Meles by peaceful means is an absolute necessity to save Ethiopia from the break of collapse. And this happens if and only if: courage and skilful democratic opposition leader is there in the forefront/foremost part/ of the struggle to lead the struggle with convictions, which is inside Ethiopia! Although her stay in overseas so far may help her to overlook situation of the Western World, this is not the time to go to Universities either; leave that to X-TPLF leaders and cadres who think can exchange guard/hand at any time of the day. Otherwise, it is not hidden to them how Ethiopia is left vulnerable due to their one time sectarian policy, which TPLF is still continues using it.
It is recalled that some weeks ago the opposition, Medirek, had officially announced in a press conference that it had transformed from Kinijit to Front. What doesn’t still give me sense and make me to surprise was the naming as well as the lack of substance of the press conference. In fact, be with its shortfalls and weakness, I would like first express my appreciation being they are simply there to face all the challenging situation and hardship mounted/deployed by Meles. They are obviously living with no protection of the law and order. The police, be it local or federal, is an instrument of a racist mafia group who simply do what it is told to do against Medirek leaders/members/, political activist and independent journalists, and many others.
Nonetheless, what makes me extremely sadden was to see how weak and with no any clear difference with TPLF’s platform is. Even they were unable to put in what aspect does their Front’s platform departs/differs/ from the TPLF’s Front one, EPRDF? Just it was simply a slogan of “challenging Front with a Front.” The question is: Is really EPRDF a front of independent ethnic organisations, or is that really a political party in which it was mentioned several times as one-party rule? Just listen what had Dr Negaso had said about EPRDF or his answer about what self-determination mean? Instead of telling the truth what he knew about EPRDF he portrayed EPRDF as a strong front that decides every issue in the front room and implement it in their respective ethnic areas. What does it mean EPRDF decides everything in the front room? Does Dr Negaso know that his briefing was understood as EPRDF is one more step ahead of an actual front and works as a single party? Is this really how EPRDF works? Is it not TPLF decides everything behind doors and impose its decision to its ethnic clones? I’m not going to discuss in details; but my worst fear is what could happen if tomorrow Bereket is elected to lead UDJ as he is leading/or killing/ the Amharic language speaking society and Ethiopia since his ABC of politics? That is why I said Ms Birtukan is the legitimate leader of the real alternative force inside Ethiopia. When I said this, I don’t mean do a revolt against Dr Negaso; of course Birtukan is not a kind of person thinking to do before the set election time. No, we have to accept the choice and decision of the UDJ members. Dr Negaso is the elected leader of UDJ, but you can do many things and help him so that UDJ to be a real alternative political force that could change the establishment of the political order of the country. Regarding your daughter, Hale, the trusted Tamagn Beyene is there to care after her and treats her like one of his kids. If you need more trusted Ethiopians Prof Alemayehu G/Mariam is one of them/us too.
If Birtukan don’t accept this Nation Salvation Call as soon as possible she will be one of the Lost Forces very soon, like anyone in the diaspora; and Meles will be very happy about her stay in overseas, in which we don’t like Ms Birtukan to be a lost force either as what Meles needs/wishes/ it to be.
As to regarding the so-called opposition in the diaspora, my comment is short and straight forward. If they have a true political party’s structures which have a rank and file members, specialling inside Ethiopia, let them make ways for their respective member to work together inside Ethiopia in a party policy they believes in/or has. Even, if each of them of introduces two from each side that will make a big difference at the first formative stage. That is how real and practical common front building steps started. Otherwise, participating in a different public meeting in the diaspora, by being acting as a true political party leader, does not bring the most needed change inside Ethiopia. Caution here, I’m not refusing the efforts to be made to build the common consensus between individuals or what so ever it is. But, what I’m saying is that we must know and be frank about the limitation that any activities in the diaspora: whether it is diplomatic, financial contribution, demonstrations, etc. could not bring any fundamental change rather than supporting the activities inside Ethiopia to bring change. Astonishingly, even individuals are calling for an urgently formation of “National Congress/Biherawi Shengo/. I don’t really understand how it could be possible without having/liberating/ an inch of a land to discharge the duty it. In fact, I had politely asked the proponent of the idea. However, instead of answering my straight question, he replied to me “aren’t you understand Amharic properly?” Then as I don’t answer for such question, I kept quite silent!
Meanwhile, the role of ESAT TV and Radio could be paramount to mobilize the people to stand for its democratic rights and change, and we have to help ESAT at any cost, but it will be more effective if it is supported by practical means i.e., by the real struggle. So, action first media next!!
So to wrap up the whole idea, the notion of developmental state doesn’t works under Ethiopian condition either. Besides, given this is the 21st century where by democratic right is the most necessity than others/anything, Meles and Bereket shall cede power without any condition. However, to put the momentum against them and their mafia and racist group a peaceful and democratic leader like Birtukan shall return home and lead the peaceful struggle inside Ethiopia. Regarding the so-called diaspora political leaders either do the real politics inside Ethiopia by any means or stop the joke.
If politics is meant to be calling demonstration in the big cities of the West or hold public meeting once a bloom in these cities, I assure you that trusted Activist Tamagn Beyene and colleagues will effectively do that! Like the Kinijit’s time. What is not there is practical and committed leadership that mobilize the citizen for democratic change.
Last but not lease, in one of my article, I had mentioned how the Vietnamese people fought back the aggression army of the USA. Be the Vietnamese people like that, for the first time in our history we Ethiopians had witnessed a courageous young man Yenesew Gebre who burnt himself for the love of his country and the freedom of his people. We remember him as a martyr of our cause!
Love Ethiopia & Love its People!