Is Linking Democracy and Economic Growth Telling a Bedtime Story? A Quick Look at Ato Meles Zenawi’s Assertion By Fekade Shewakena

May 31st, 2012 Print Print Email Email

At the world Economic Forum, conference held in Addis Ababa, in May, 2012 that some in the media dubbed the Meles Zenawi Show [1], Ato Meles Zenawi said “there is no direct relationship between economic growth and democracy, historically or theoretically…..I don’t believe in bedtime stories, contrived arguments linking economic growth with democracy”, He was even more unequivocal and emphatic when he added that “We need to democratize but not in order to grow”. According to him the only reason we need to democratize for is “in order to survive as united sane nation”. He didn’t care to elaborate on what he meant by surviving as united sane nation. Only God knows how he compartmentalized the usefulness of democracy for the sanity of a nation and how any such sanity doesn’t directly relate to economic growth. There is every reason to suspect that this was a strong attempt on the part of the Prime Minister to fend off the barrage of criticism coming at him these days about the closure of democratic space in the country, the abuse of human rights, the repression of civil society and free expression from his irate donors in the west. He was in effect saying judge me by the economic growth statistics I give you, not by my credentials on democracy and human rights. I suspect his experience of attempted opening of the country for democracy in 2005 has fatally blinded him.

If Ato Meles was opining as an academic and not as a head of a government, we could have taken his statement lightly and perhaps as something which is only academic, i.e., something that has value only in the exercise of thought with benign relevance to real world situations. But when such declarative statements as the Prime Minister’s, which are at best based on half truths, come from people in positions of power, it gets troubling and scary. It is even more troubling when the individuals are the kinds that pursue their beliefs with zeal and propensity to use the machinery of state force at their disposal in pursuit of their ideas. Anybody who lives the military dictatorship in Ethiopia remembers the deafening declaratory statements of Mengistu and his officials such as the “not only do we control the reactionaries – we will control nature too” slogan. A regime official who I once politely told that the Gambella plains were unfit to resettle peasants moved from highland Ethiopia, accused me of preaching cowardice and told me that I am confused by pseudo education. He said what is important is the belief and conviction, the rest is easy. I only told him that unlike the highlands, the flat plain in Gambella has drainage problems, and that the soil gets waterlogged and leached and not reach in soluble minerals that many crops need adding that the green forest should not fool us. I had to shut up my coward mouth and regretted for venturing into dangerous territory. The disingenuous project ended up in shambles even before it started.

Meles’s declaratory statement is also in the same tradition. It is an indication of a decision by him that the prevailing intolerance of dissent and civil discourse is going to be kept in place. I fear that this may lead to the intensification of existing conflicts and widespread discontent in the country. As someone who doesn’t prefer a violent or revolutionary approach to the solution of Ethiopia’s problems, I sincerely do fear.

The fact of the matter is that Mr. Prime Minister is half right. But his assertion seems to be based on linear thinking and selective reading of the literature on the relationship between democracy and economic growth. I am sure he has read the works of some in academia that do make similar generalizations about the relationship between democracy and economic growth. He has disregarded that in many cases even these conclusions depend on the measures they use and the context of their studies. Unlike the Prime Minister, many of these academics and researchers who do come to these conclusions are careful to add that the relationship between democracy and economic growth is more complex than meets the eye and encourage us to do more innovative examination and develop methodologies and do a more careful use of data. In fact, the literature of political economic thoughts regarding the relationship between democracy and economic growth is in many cases contentious and inconclusive and varies with the country or region considered and the kind of data used.

Yes, economic growth can occur even under tyrannical dictatorships. The world has many examples of places where economic growth and democracy even seem to relate inversely, so much that the linear thinker can conclude democracy affects economic growth negatively. Kaddafi’s Libya and many of the rich countries in the Gulf and Asia provide ample example of this. Russia’s transformative achievement in infrastructure such as the building of the world famous Moscow subway and other industries occurred under iron feasted Joseph Stalin. China’s one party rule hasn’t slowed its growth although many attribute the speed of its growth to liberalization within the party and managing conflicts including the country’s cultural context. That you do and don’t fit the variables in a linear regression model and predict an outcome may not necessarily mean a universal relationship does or doesn’t exist. Professional observers suggest the need for a closer examination of each country’s economic realities, resource bases, level of development and their socio-cultural environments more than accepting these observations as universal truth as our Prime Minister does. But none on all sides in the debate on the subject come to saying anything approaching what our Prime Minister said – that it is a bedtime story. Like all knowledge the enquiry goes on and on. Our Prime Minister seems to want to stop it.

If I am as selective as Meles, I can bring testimonies of non-armchair researchers who made many empirical studies that show the direct effects of democracy on economic growth and development using various components of democracy as measures. Scholars like Cooper Drury et al., who actually made hands in the mud kind of research as opposed to armchair contemplation, for example, argue:

…one of democracy’s indirect benefits is its ability to mitigate the detrimental effect of corruption on economic growth. Although corruption certainly occurs in democracies, the electoral mechanism inhibits politicians from engaging in corrupt acts that damage overall economic performance and thereby jeopardize their political survival. Using time-series cross-section data for more than 100 countries from 1982-97, we show that corruption has no significant effect on economic growth in democracies, while non-democracies suffer significant economic harm from corruption. [2]

These individuals have crunched massive data across time to be dismissed as tellers of bedtime stories. Bringing Nobel Prize winner political economist, Amartya Sen, who famously said democracies don’t starve, in this argument with our Prime Minister, may be like taking a gun to a knife fight. Instead, let me bring two other Indian professors, Sarbapriya Ray and Ishita Aditya Ray, who used a fairly sophisticated model to understand causality between democracy and economic growth. Here is what they say:
Using co-integration analysis for the period 1980-81 to 2009-10, we seek to identify the relationship between economic growth and democracy. Our empirical results suggest that there is a long run bi-directional causality between economic growth and democracy in India. Moreover, our statistical investigation confirms that democracy affects economic growth positively and vice versa both at regional level as well as aggregate level. [3]

There are actually many studies that show that India’s current leap to a newly developed country relates to its robust democracy. I could have gone on and on citing other studies that challenge the Prime Minister’s wild assertions that the relationship is a bedtime story. I believe Ato Meles is savvy enough to locate the materials if he intends to base his views in knowledge and honesty and doesn’t have an axe to grind against democracy.

In my view, there is perhaps no other country that needs democracy as the primary tool of getting out of its poverty as Ethiopia does. In the past we tried it through governments that tightly control the people and failed abysmally. Now we have to try a government where our people have at least some significant say in it. It is simple common sense to understand that economic growth and development in Ethiopia cannot be achieved and sustained in conditions where simmering political conflicts prevail, where there is little rule of law, where people have no confidence and control on what they do, where corruption and favoritism are rampant and government continuously hovers over the heads of everyone. The largely aid funded growth in Ethiopia in infrastructure and social services and massive Diaspora remittance are no substitute to what we can get out of building democratic institutions. The PM’s suggestion that Ethiopia doesn’t need to democratize for economic growth is not different from his now defunct idea of choosing Albania as our model. There is some weird picture we see in Ethiopia today when we juxtapose the economic gains over the past several years and the real life conditions of the Ethiopian people. How is it that the economic growth that Ato Meles brags about is related to more and more people becoming unable to feed themselves and their children?
The multidimensional conflicts prevailing in Ethiopia need a resolution through a democratic and transparent discourse. Suppressing them is guaranteeing the destruction of whatever gains we have made. We are already losing a lot of opportunity because of the closure of the political space in the country. Economic growth cannot be guaranteed under conditions where Ethiopia is losing its human capital at alarming rates. I see a massive wealth and potential of Ethiopians outside and inside Ethiopia not being put to use because of the democracy deficit. Ato Meles would help Ethiopia more if he becomes an expert of the art of compromise than a political economist.


[2] Cooper Dury et al. (2006): Corruption Democracy and Economic growth: International Political Science Review (2006), Vol 27, No 2, 121-136.
[3] Sarbapriya Ray and Ishita Aditya Ray (2011): Regional analysis on the relationship between Economic Growth and Democracy: Evidence from India: Afro Asian Journal of Social Sciences Volume 2, No. 2.3 Quarter III 2011 ISSN 2229 – 5313.

  1. Dawi
    | #1

    [[....I only told him that unlike the highlands, the flat plain in Gambella has drainage problems, and that the soil gets waterlogged and leached and not reach in soluble minerals that many crops need adding that the green forest should not fool us. I had to shut up my coward ..]]

    Assumining you’re expert in agriculture how do you acccount that large areas of Minnesota would not reliably produce crops if artificial drainage systems had not been installed?

    Meles is a practical man , he knows that India took the democratic route] and China a one party dictatorship of the CCP but,for the last thirty years, the Chinese state has successfully created physical infrastructure and delivered essential services to the people.

    India rapid economic growth has deteriorated over time. Whether it is providing basic law and order [cast system] or ensuring sanctity of contract, or delivering public services, the decline is obvious.

    Therefore, no bedtime stories can cover that up.

  2. Girum
    | #2

    The irony behind Meles’s assertion about this issue is plain and simple. Using this as a pretext first it is to achieve legitimacy and righteousness in order to stay in power. Second to escape accountability and responsibility for the crimes he has been committing for the last 21 years under the cover of Dictatorial Developmental-State hoax. Dictatorial Developmental-State being hyped for the last 3 or more years by Meles is just a new fabricated hoax same as the hype of bogus democracy is perpetuated during its first 15 years rule. So I do not understand why we even take Meles’ talk it that much seriously while we have other top most burning issue in saving Ethiopia, Ethiopiawinet and Ethiopians from the looming destruction heinously perpetually perpetrated by Meles/TPLF. Any way to make things clear for the future for our general knowledge first it is important to raise the following some vital and fundamental issues.

    1)It is high time to well define the meaning, purpose and essence of democracy.And without this a priori well defined meaning, purpose and essence of democracy then all this talk for so many times will end up worthless. The classical and historical meaning of Democracy, that is of Greek origin, is almost looks like “Government for the people by the power of the people through direct active participation”. So is there such government now days even in USA? May be in its lower level social interaction in old times like ገዳ ፣ደቦ፣ እቁብ፣ እድር?
    2) The second thing has to be to properly question the meaning, purpose and essence of democracy in what domain (Intra-Domain or Inter-Domain) of society (The intellectual elite, the capitalist elite, the majority mass, the 80 % Ethiopian farmer …..) and under what exiting realities. As Jorge Orwell once said that all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others then what is the domain when we talk about democracy? How powerful sovereign nations and empires see and treat other sovereign poor and weak nations? And in this regard how sovereign poor and weak nations, perpetually indoctrinated to apply liberal-democracy/liberal-economy at the opportunity cost of their social common goods(which is the main source of their strength)are happen to withstand the challenges and influences of other powerful sovereign nations and empires? does it not become like a powerful lion Vs a weak lonely prey detached from its flock?

    3) The 3rd question is what is our actually exiting practical reference system when we talk about Democracy, I mean is that with reference to USA? UK? Germany? France? India? Ghana? And if that is the case then why democracy failed to detect control and rectify the Wall Street Ponzi-Scheme out of greed and the ensuing global financial and economic crisis? So it does not make that much sense with out being so alert to observe to what direction the sort of Democracy we are even refereeing to is heading for.
    4) In Ethiopia context then on what basis of historical/ current psychological, social, cultural economical, political, religious we want to apply and advance democracy? What is our Social fabric and class structure?
    5) Intrinsic-Virtues and values of a certain society Vs Democracy. I mean if Democracy is something a right to demand and apply, as is the way being hyped and inculcated by most of us, then on what basis of Intrinsic-Virtues and values of a certain society we apply it?

    6) We also have to ask under what a priori paradigm setup we are talking about Democracy and Economic Development? The current pervasively dominant global a priori paradigm setup
    is Global Capitalism. So we have to also view the issue like Global Capitalism Vs (Democracy and Economic Development).Without properly analyzing Global Capitalism then it is worthless to talk about Democracy and Economic Development. In today’s heydays era of global Capitalism (The power of money to rule) is democracy as such as simple thing that is simply demanded as a right that is just taken for granted or something you fight for it? As there is a saying that the devil is in the details then beyond mere showy theoretical rhetoric how is democracy applied in our day to day life in parallel to “The power of money to rule”? So there is such paradoxical event in today’s complicated world in that there is Liberal-Democracy/Liberal-Economy and also there is no such a thing as Liberal-Democracy/Liberal-Economy. For the very few powerful (money+ knowledge+ State power) elitist capitalist groups there is indeed real and genuine secluded Liberal-Democracy/Liberal-Economy but to the contrary for the majority docile, powerless, innocent poor mass then there is no such a thing as Liberal-Democracy/Liberal-Economy but only its dream exits in its illusion and fantasy. So whenever our naive and gullible Ethiopian intellectuals perpetually right about the lack of democracy in Ethiopia they sideline the global realities (Global Capitalism and the power of Money to rule) and it seems like they are living in their own illusionary fantasy world. The irony behind Meles’s assertion is with regard to this illusionary fantasy. So a docile and un-awakened powerless mass can not fully apply its democratic rights. So it is important to awaken and empower the mass at a grass-root level. Who is going to do this great task? The capitalist elite? No they shall never do it till dooms day? The opportunist and selfish stooge intellectuals and politicians hired by capitalist elite? I doubt? Who is going to do this? It is really a soul searching issue. So without the a priori existence of an awakened and empowered mass then begging or demanding democracy from the privileged and empowered elites of any sort is futile. And that is why I say there has to a priori existing Intrinsic-Virtues and values not only upon which we are going to place democracy but also we are able to have an inherent driving force or motive to advance it.
    So with out ‘SOCIALISM’ then there is no Democracy. So we have to devise a system in such a way that the intrinsic and classical social virtues and values coexist in balance and coherence with the individualistic liberal democracy. Is there is no social basis and common goods to apply individualistic liberal democracy then liberal democracy is not viable with out damaging the social basis and common goods. And like wise if the mass has no inclusive place to honor and protect the individual’s right then the social basis and common goods gradually deteriorates, weakens and loses meaning and purpose.
    If we talk this much about democracy then I do not understand why we are afraid to talk about Socialism and about our common goods and about our common intrinsic virtues and values without which such a priori basis then sort of democracy have been hyping shall end up as worthless and chaotic. Up on what sort of our identity then we want to build and apply democracy? If we are to ignore such critical question is am afraid that we have some how lost commonsense and wisdom and that is why things are not working the way we aspire and expect it..

    7) Nature, the history of man and its survival evolution Vs Democracy? Can human beings do what ever they desire as if it is their democratic right that is incoherent with the laws of nature and its life support systems and the evolutionary survival of mankind? Who is going to evaluate, judge and decide regarding the democratic right of an individual Vs the democratic right of the rest collective mass domain and its common goods he/she belongs to? So there has to be an underlying guiding law beyond mere individual democratic rights upon which individuals have to be guided by.

    So in my view the above things are so worthy considering before we time and again inculcate and hype democracy.

    There is paradox regarding the essence meaning and purpose of Democracy especially in Ethiopian context. And that paradox is while we even do not have democracy at hand we to the contrary perceive as if democracy is something we can do what ever we want and aspire individually with out other binding laws, traditions and other values and virtues. The uniquely amazing proliferation of around 70 Political parties in Ethiopia is indeed very evident of this mystical misconception about democracy among Ethiopian society. And hence when the intellectuals right so many things about democracy the irony is that a concept and application of democracy is mainly in their own secluded domain that does not consider the rest majority mass. And this fallacy arises mainly from the very vital thing that does not properly understand that genuine democracy is a more of a bottom-up process rather than a top-down process. The writer mentioned the dictatorial behavior of Mengistu’s rule with reference to one event. What would have happened if the ruler had been Emperor Haileselasie for such similar issues? As far as I know the Emperor had a good history of respecting, listening and applying the advice professionals in their own realm. Even Mengistu did that thing just out of unbridled aspiration and not just for the sake of dictating arrogantly over others. I mean every ruler, unless he is also equivalently well aware and skilled professional on that aspect, then some how more or less listens the advice of other professionals. So this specific transient event can not as such fully describe the DIRECT relationship between Democracy and Economic development.
    ይልቁንስ የመለስን ይህንን አይነት ንግግር ከቁምነገር በዙም ባንወስደውና ይልቁንስ እራሳቸው መለስ እያጠፉት ያለውን ኢትዮጵያን ኢትዮጵያዊነትንና ኢትዮጵያውያንን በረቀቀና በተቀነባበረ መንገድ እየተፈፀመባቸውና እየተደገሰላቸው ካለው የመበታተንና የጥፋት አደጋ በአስቸኳይ ተረባርበን እንታደግ፡፡ሰይጣን ላመሉ ቅዱሰ መጽሀፍ ይጠቅሳል እንዲሉ መለስ ስለ ዲሞክራሲ ይህንን እየዘላበዱ አወሩ አላወሩ ከበስተጀርባ ኢትዮጵያን ኢትዮጵያዊነትንና ኢትዮጵያውያንን በረቀቀና በተቀነባበረ መንገድ ለማጥፋት ያነገቡትን እኩይ የጥፋት ተልእኮ አጀንዳ ብዙም የሚቀይረው ነገር አይደለም፡፡ “The easiest way to get in to trouble and quandary is to be right in minor issues in the MAJOR WRONG direction and situation.” እንደሚባለው በጠላትነት ያለአግባብ ሊገድለኝ ያሰበና የተዘጋጀ ሰው በጥይት ወይንስ በመርዝ ወይንስ እንዴት አድርጌ ብገድልህ ጥሩና ትክክል ይሆናል ብሎ አጉል ተገቢ ያልሆነ አሳሳች ጥያቄ የማቅረብ ያህል ነው፡፡ይህ አይነት የሰዎችን ስነ-ልቦና በመስለብ በመስረቅና በማወናበድ ወደ ሚፈለገው የመጨረሻ የራስ ግብ የማድረስ ስልት (Psychological Controlling through psychological conditioning) ነው፡፡ሰዎች አፈናና ጭቆናንን እንደዚሁም ሌሎችንም መጥፎ ነገሮችን ሁሉ እንደ ጥሩ ነገር በሂደት እንዲለማመዱትና እንደዚሁ እንደ ተለመደ ጤናማ ነገር በፀጋ እንዲቀበሉት የማድረግ ስልት ነው፡፡ስለዲሞክራሲና ልማት ግንኙነት እንደዚህ ስናወራ በተዘዋዋሪ መለስ/ወያኔ ለባእዳን ሃይሎች በቅጠረኝነት ተሰማርተው ይህችን ሀገር የእጅ አዙር ቅኝ ግዛት ውስጥ ከተው በታሪክ ታይቶ በማይታወቅ አካሄድ አበሳዋን እያበሏትና እያዳከሟት መሆኑን እንድንረሳ የሚያደርግና የሚያዘናጋ ነው፡፡ለዚህም ነው“The easiest way to get in to trouble and quandary is to be right in minor issues in the MAJOR WRONG direction and situation.” የሚለውን ያነሳሁት፡፡ስለዚህም ፀረ-ኢትዮጵያ ፀረ-ኢትዮጵያዊነትና ፀረ-ኢትዮጵያውያን እጅግ የረቀቀና የተቀነባበረ ሴራና ጥፋት እየተፈፀመ ባለበት ወሳኝ ወቅት የመለስን አባባል ያን ያህል ከቁምነገር ቆጥሮ ስለ ልማትና ዲሞክራሲ ግንኙነት ማውራት በፈታኝ ቀውጢ የጦርነት አውድማ ውስጥ የሚያዝናና ሙዚቃ ለማዳመጥ እንደ መፈለግ ወይንም እንደ መሞከር ነው፡፡ስለዚህም የሚነሱት አጀንዳዎች በራሳቸው በቲዎሪ ደረጃ ትክክል ናቸው በሚለው መመዘኛ ብቻ ሳይሆን ካለው ነባራዊ ተጨባጭ ሁኔታ አንፃር ምን ያህል አግባብነት አላቸው የሚለውንም ጭምር ግምት ውስጥ ቢያስገቡ ጥሩ ነው፡፡አዎ መለስም ካነገቡት ድብቅ የሆነ እጅግ የረቀቀና የተቀነባበረ ፀረ-ኢትዮጵያ ፀረ-ኢትዮጵያዊነትና ፀረ-ኢትዮጵያውያን የጥፋት ተልእኮ አንፃር ይህ አይነት የዲሞክራሲ ጥያቄና ትርጉም ተረት-ተርት ከመሆን አያልፍም፡፡እረ እንዴት ነው ጎበዝ ዛሬም ከ21 ዓመታት በኋላ ልብ መግዛት እንዴት አቃተንና ነው ዛሬ ከመለስ ጋር የዲሞክራሲ የፍቅር ግንኙነት አጀንዳ ለማንሳት የፈለግነው፡፡Deep inside I am afraid that he laughs at us with disdain. I think after this all 21 solid years we do not still/yet properly understand this man. And I think the main problem arises from this misunderstanding. And the problem has evolved to become about us not about him. And that is our problem and not his. So where is the wisdom? Theoretically I agree with his assertion despite the fact that his assertion does not have any significant meaning and relation with regard to his characteristically racist, looting, corrupt, mafia style stooge-client-regime and his deep-rooted anti-Ethiopian, anti-Ethiopiawinet, anti-Ethiopians attitude of governance for the last 21 years. Theoretically I agree with his assertion despite the fact that I totally do not agree and even strongly oppose his governance for the last 21 years and also in continuum. And indeed I do not take his assertion even seriously. Let him theorize it for his dissertation to get his PHD in foreign academic institutions. So let’s not loose sight of our primary target, that is to save Ethiopia Ethiopians and Ethiopiawinet in unison from the looming destruction ahead of us perpetually perpetrated by the diabolical Meles/TPLF.
    God bless Ethiopia !!!

  3. The Eritrean one!
    | #3

    This midget known as prime minister of Ethiopia by westerners but a killer, murderer, looter, and deceiver by his own compatriots is becoming loonitic by the day. For the past 8 to 10 years his talks and actions were very predictable but nowadays he seems to be committed 100% to serve his masters; led by the grand sheik who came to Ethiopia to spread wahabism with the petro-dollars of Saudi Kingdo. What would he say or do next time he sees a light and microphone again?

  4. Dawi
    | #4

    [[..Theoretically I agree with his assertion despite the fact that his assertion does not have any significant meaning and relation with regard to his characteristically racist, looting, corrupt, mafia style stooge-client-regime and his deep-rooted anti-Ethiopian, anti-Ethiopiawinet, anti-Ethiopians attitude of governance for the last 21 years....]]

    I know Girum is bent by the past “anti-Ethiopian” deeds of Meles which is no different from some of today’s opposition hell bent and willing to deal with the “devil” himself to bring the dictatorial system down. How about taking a different approach?

    If we agree “Theoretically” then we can calculate an act of reconciliation and design it to benefit both opposing parties, a kind of truth called a delivery to a more desirable state of affairs. Here we are not talking “forgiveness” as such but more of “trust and verify”.

    If we agree that a solution for a “murderer” is not to kill but to let him live and give him a chance to learn from his mistake, supporting a correct theory for our country’s Development shouldn’t be difficult to do.

  5. woyane buster
    | #5

    “…The Oakland Institute research “shows that at least 3,619,509ha of land (an area just smaller than Belgium) have been transferred to investors, although the actual number may be higher.” The government claims that the land available for lease is unused and surplus, this is disingenuous nonsense. Large areas of land are in fact already cultivated by smallholders subsistence farmers and pastoralists using land for grazing, all of which are un-ceremonially evicted. Villages are destroyed and indigenous people expelled from their homeland and forced into large scale villagization programmes. Human Rights Watch (HRW) in its report ‘Waiting Here For Death’ states, “The Ethiopian federal government’s current villagization program is occurring in four regions—Gambella, Benishangul-Gumuz, Somali, and Afar. This involves the resettlement of approximately 1.5 million people throughout the lowland areas of the country—500,000 in Somali region, 500,000 in Afar region, 225,000 in Benishangul-Gumuz and 225,000 in Gambella.” Imposed movement then, often applied with force, in order to provide pristine land, free of any inconveniences to the corporate allies

  6. Mamo
    | #6


    You guys have the audacity to tell us the likes of China development in Ethiopia. Living aside the loosening of the totalitarian control of the Chinese government in Chinese daily life, Ethiopia cannot be equated to any country in the world. Ethiopia is controlled by a minority ethnic group representing 6% of the population. The largest corporation controlling about 98% of the national economy is under the control of this ethnic group. It is surprising that the country stands today under these conditions. Such imbalance of power and popular disenfranchisement does not happen in any country in the world. The Tigrean minority regime has transformed the country into a military dictatorship. So stop equating Ethiopia to the far east countries.

  7. MUSSA
    | #7

    This piece was taken from Graham Peebles article on ER

    ”…As well we know everything and indeed everyone ‘has its price’. Even the people and land of a country, sold into destitution by governments motivated by distorted notions of development, where people, traditional lifestyles and the environment come a distant second to roads, industrialisation and the raping of the land. People too poor to hold on to their dignity, too weak in a world built and run on power and might, to protest and demand justice for themselves and their families and rounded, responsible husbandry for the environment. And the price of land, well as one would expect bargain basement, with 99 year leases the norm and various government incentive packages. In some cases the land is literally being given away, as the Oakland Institute (OI) states in its report, “In Mali one investment group was able to secure 1000,000 hectares (ha) of fertile land for a 50 year term for free. Elsewhere “$2.00 a hectare (roughly equal to two Olympic size athletic grounds) is the going rate.” According to The Guardian (21/3/2011) “The lowest prices are in Africa, where, says the World Bank, at least 35 million hectares of land has been bought or leased. Other groups, including, Friends of the Earth say the figure is higher.”

    Ethiopia. For sale

    The Ethiopian government, through the Agricultural Investment Support Directorate is at the forefront of this African Land Sale. Crops familiar to the area are often grown, such as maize, sesame, sorghum, in addition to wheat and rice. All let us state clearly, for export to Saudi Arabia, India, China etc, to be sold within the home market, benefitting the people of Ethiopia not…”

  8. ጉረኞች
    | #8

    I don’t think you have any more credibility left to convince anyone. The last two weeks have been tough on you. The articles coming out are overwhelming. You have been stripped necked by both dismal failure of the midget dictator and your own poor understanding of what the midget dictator arguments is. All of theoretical argument you have been trying to push through have been debunked. The attempt you made to put the midget dictator Meles the first in Ethiopia for applying Developmental State is demolished. The attempt you made to argue that there is no relationship between economic growth and democratic system is demolished, as it is not widely seen occurrence. The attempt you made to tell the public dictators are prone to bring economic growth is demolished. The attempt you made one has to sacrifice human right for economic growth is demolished, as even the midget dictator didn’t dare to say it. I advise you to take your time and come back with other arguments. As the midget dictator Meles is next to almighty God for you, he is next to satanic evil for most Ethiopians. ሁሉም ወያኔ ሱባኤ ቢገባ ማይቀይረው ሀቅ ነው::

  9. aha!
    | #9

    The elites in the Diaspora and at home, since after the split of Kinijit Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) with the slogan of no change but durable democracy have been living and breathing democracy and the elites of the loyalist opposition supporters hold ethnic and/or secessionist rights on one hand and democracy on the other along with respect of human rights as a common denominator of all factions, when the basic question lies in the frame work of the constitution Article 46, 39 (1), 8 and the implementation of universal Declaration of Human rights and Press Freedom and lack of independent Executive, parliamentary and juduciary branches of the government are at stake and the yearnings of the silent majority of Ethiopians, irrespective of ethnic groups was and is for political and economic freedom in the form class struggle which would have achieved far better had they gone the route of constitutional monarchy followed by democratic revolution to put into effect land reform and workers rights, but has never been democracy. Democracy is dictated by the frame work of the constitution. A case in point is the constitution of the USA based on individual freedom, liberty and equality with no mention of ethnic and secessionist politics and or policies. For Ethiopia that kind of constitution will set the path to individual freedom, liberty and equality before the Suprem Law of the land called Ethiopia by dismantling/removing ethnic federalism. secessionism and totalirinism, hindering free market capitalism, individual freedom and democracy, democracy as a a rule by the people, for the people and of the people, not the democracy that you are arguing about as a matter of semantics.

  10. Weylekey
    | #10

    አንድ ሰው እንዲህ አለ አላለ ወሳኝነቱ ከምንፈልገው ነጻነት ጋር ምን ያገናኘዋል?

    ማንም ሥልጣኑን ለማቆየት የተናገረውን በእድገት ቲዎሪ መደገፍ አለበት የሚል ክርክር ያለ አይመስለኝም
    ምክንያቱም ነጻነት አጣሁ ይለ ሰው እድገት ኖረ አልኖረ ነጻነቱን ያስከብራል ካለበለዚያማ አንዳሻህ አኑረኝ ብሎ ንትሩኩን እዛው ቲዎሪ ፍርድ ቤት ይፈልግ

    ያሁኑን ዘመን ስልጣን ቲዎሪ ብንመለከት ማን መሳሪያ አለው ነው የመሳሪያ ዓቅም ያለው እንጂ በእድገት ቲዎሪ ጠብ ያለን አይመስለኝም
    የዋህ ካልሆንን በስተቀር ከመጽሐፍ ቅዱስ ወይም ቁራን በሉት ወይም አንድ ስለፍስልስፍና አዋቂ እንደተናገረው አርገን መወያየቱ የትም አያደርስም ግሪክንና ጣሊያን አገሮች ብንመለከት ከሕዝቡ ምርጫ ውጭ ሌላ መሪ ተተክቶላቸዋል ያውም በብራስልስ ያለው መንግስት ነው

    ባሁኑ ዘመን በቲዎሪ እመራለሁ ብላችሁ ክሆነ በየትኛው አቅማችሁ ነው የምታስከብሩት
    አለም ላይ የሚታየውን ቀውስና መናናቅ ሕግ መጥፋት ሕዝብ ከመንግስት ጋር ያለው ሆድና ጀርባነት ያስፈራል

    ለማንኛው እሳቸው አሉት አላሉ ሌላም ሰው አለው አላለ እድገትን እድገቴ ነው ጥቅሜ ነው የሚለው ተጠቃሚው ነው ማንም አይተረጉምለትም
    መቀለጃ አታርጉን!!!!

  11. aha!
    | #11

    Furthermore, the Prime Minster used the term nations, yet ommitting nationalities, in reference to demecracy “to survive as sane nations”, but not as sane nation as you referred to”, by saying that he is window dressing his disintegrative approach of ethnic federalism and totaliarinism, which anathema to free market capitalism, individual freedom and democracy, but not to hinder your political and/or democratic space claimed by then Tigrai-Harena/Medrek/fdre as indirect supporters of ethnic federalism, secessionism and totaliariarinism and now you. Political and/or democratic space are not a quantitave events, they qualitative events, which you either have them or you do not, and those concepts need to be exchanged for economic and political freedom of the silent majority of Ethiopians. It does not arouse the silent majority to campaign for political and/or democratic space with the current regime leaving ethnic fedralism, secessionism and totaliarinism in tact, which leaves TPLF/eprdf in the pariament one way or the other, instead of replacing both with those with the national agenda for unity, territorial integrity, sovereignity of Ethiopia and Ethiopians, where the last item refers to individual freedom. liberty and equality to have precedence over ethnic and secessionist righs in order to form a truley democratic government.

  12. aha!
    | #12

    Here is another weak point in the dismantling of ethnic federalism, secessionism and totaliarinism to be resoved through a national and democratic discourse by saying “The multinational conflicts prevailing in Ethiopia need a resolution through a democratic and transparent discourse” as opposed to all opposition parties and factions in the armed struggle to coalesce around the goals for unity, territorial integrity as with the borders with Sudan and Eritrean Province, and the ports, sovereignity of Ethiopia and Ethiopians.

  13. Dawi
    | #13

    Mamo said:

    [[..The Tigrean minority regime has transformed the country into a military dictatorship...]]

    As Seye pointed out it is no more Woyane or “Tigrean minority regime” but just Meles/Azeb Dictatorship. That is qualitatively different.


    Concentrating power in one person is accepted way in modern societies to solve problems and crisis and since our nation not being developed is a crisis, that justifies doing exactly the same thing, through a dictatorship, we can benefit from efficient decision making. That is my take; so if we agree in the idea in general, it is good enough to discuss the issue.

    Sorry to dissappoint you but, I only read Meles’s thesis once when it was at Columbia U sight, so I don’t have any other thing to refer to besides that except what we all get from the media.

  14. Anonymous
    | #14

    Please get a clue and go somewhere else where uninformed and clueless people like you live. There is no good enough excuse in the world for Meles and tplf looting the poorest country in the world, throwing innocent people in prison, gunning down innocent people in the streets of every province of Ethiopia, torturing law abiding Ethiopians till they loose their hearings and eye sights, killing unknown number of innocent Ethiopians in the east and west and in the north and south of Ethiopia, selling unknown number of Ethiopian girls as slaves, small Ethiopian children taken as commodities, evicting Ethiopians from their homes and thrown them in the streets with no compensations and no place to go, burning Ethiopian churches and mosques to sell their land and to create division between Christians and Muslims, etc. The inexcusable crimes of dictator Meles and tplf are endless and here you go around to convinces us otherwise.Ethiopians are well aware who their enemies are!!! For the last 21 years, dictator Meles and the rest of tplf like yourself have been peeing on Ethiopians and telling them it is raining. Wake up and give up Dawi! Your old tactics won’t work anymore!!!!

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