What We Need is Values-Based Leadership By Assegid Habtewold

February 28th, 2016 Print Print Email Email

Americans are busy voting for Presidential candidates. Have you asked yourself the parameters they use to choose one candidate over the other? Not just in the US, in those countries where there is true democracy, people tend to vote for those candidates with whom they share key values. That is why the same candidate is loved by some and hated by other voters depending on his values. For instance, on February 2 2016, Fox News Channel reported, “According to entrance polling of Republican caucus-goers conducted by Fox News, Cruz won by garnering the support of evangelical Christians and those who wanted a candidate who shares their values.” The majority of voters, conscious or unconscious, rally for a candidate that shares their highly held values. And Caucus-goers weren’t exceptional.

The same news also observed, “Sanders overwhelmed Clinton among caucus-goers under 30, a group that he won 84 percent to 14 percent.” Similarly in New Hampshire, many polls showed that 85% of young people under 30 voted for Sanders. Why do you think Bernie overwhelmed Hilary in that age group? Do you remember the Occupy Wall Street movement in the late 2011? I still picture in my mind those youngsters wearing the “99%” t-shirts occupying the Zuccotti park in New York City, Wall Street financial district, to protest the economic inequality in the US. When they were cleared from the park, they moved to occupy major banks, corporate HQs, and college and university campuses. The initial key players of that group were young guys in their 20’s. Of course, later, these youngsters inspired older people to join the movement. The dominant value that attracted and bonded the group together was fairness. The movement, slowly but surely, died because of so many reasons, one of which was leadership gap. Now, it seems that those young guys who felt their cause was crushed found Sanders who has been a unique candidate that positioned himself as a fighter against the one percent billionaires and bankers. I’m not here to talk about US politics or to predict who is going to win. We’re at the early stage of this year’s Presidential election. We don’t know who is going to win in November. Whoever wins, however, it is because enough Americans share him/her values.

Unfortunately, we Ethiopians have never been lucky to elect our own leaders. They were imposed on us. Haileselassie claimed that God anointed him; Mengistu reasoned that the revolution called upon him to lead; and Meles took upon himself to assume a righteous judge position to bring ethnic equality. It’s true; we cannot have the opportunity Americans have right now, any time soon. We’re under tyranny. However, we shouldn’t wait until we are free to pay closer attention to the kinds of leaders we need now, during the transition, and post TPLF Ethiopia.

What so ever anger, frustration, and emotion run high among our people, removing TPLF and bringing democracy, justice, and the rule of law demands extraordinary leaders from top to bottom. Facilitating a smooth transition from apartheid style leadership to a more democratic and inclusive leadership demands smart, far-sighted, and wise decision makers. Having a comprehensive constitution, meticulously crafted development programs, state of the art technologies, highly trained human capital, and rich natural resources cannot transfer our nation in a million years from where she is now to where we all aspire to take her during post TPLF era. The glue to these all, and the catalysts that can lead us from bondage to our ‘Canaan’ are farsighted, visionary, and competent leaders, not just any kinds of leaders, values-based leaders. I’m fully aware that we cannot exercise our right to choose values-based leaders back home. But those of us in the Diaspora, we have the freedom to start practicing this important approach beginning now.

First, let’s talk about the three foremost parameters that we’ve been using to choose our leaders: a) Identity, b) Qualification, and c) Likeability. I found it common in our diaspora politics for many people choosing and supporting their leaders based on their identities such as their ethnicity, gender, and religious affiliation. In my view, these are flawed parameters. Yes, it’s tempting to favor a leader with whom we share the same ethnic (geographic) identity- a leader who demonstrates loyalty to our particular ethnic group, region, and religion. But Ethiopia is a diverse nation. We need leaders who embrace diversity and value inclusiveness, not just loyal to one ethnic group or region or religion.

It’s also alluring to take side with a leader with whom we share similar gender. That was what the former US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, just did recently when she declared: “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” As you might have already heard, her effort to take away women supporters from Bernie Sanders’ campaign backfired.

Likewise, we Ethiopians have an extreme bias when it comes to educated people. There is a well know saying in Amharic “Yetemare Yegdelegn”. Its English equivalence is “I’m okay if a learned kills me”. We all know that this is a flawed saying. Terminal degrees, masters, and professional degrees cannot make someone a leader. By now, the majority of TPLF leaders have all kinds of purchased degrees. They understood the prejudice that exists in our culture, and thought that they can mask their leadership incompetency using some fake qualifications.

Likeability is a globally admired trait. The heroism, charm, and/or down to earth humility of some likeable persons attract almost all of us. Many of these personalities are skillful to make us feel important, respected, and loved. This in turn entices many of us to put them in charge. Haile Gebreselasie knows that he is likeable because of his sport heroism. Haile expressed his interest to run for a higher office so many times, I presume, solely based on his likeability. Will he succeed when he runs for office? Will enough people vote for him because they like him? We’ll see. The small number of friends that I’ve talked so far disagreed. They argued that Haile doesn’t seriously value freedom and democracy. He never spoke against so many brutalities committed by the regime in Addis against unarmed demonstrators. Quoting his recent interview where he undermined the importance of democracy in countries like ours, they doubted whether Ethiopians are in desperate need of a sport hero to lead them. One of them was fair when he predicted: Maybe some years from now, once we have democracy, justice, and the rule of law in place, merely likeable individuals like Haile may get elected. Right now and until we reach that dream state, we need leaders who have more than just charm and friendliness.

Don’t misunderstand me. It’s great if our leaders are educated and likeable. Nonetheless, these parameters should not be used alone. What we Ethiopians need, in my humble opinion and considering the intrinsic distrust we harbor against leaders, and the amount of challenges that we face, we need values-based leaders. Below are the three values that I propose we should employ to select and back our leaders. This is just a proposal. Otherwise, we may subtract, or add some more to create shared values. Hope, we’ll have opportune times to do so in the near future.

1.Integrity. What we need is leaders whose words mean something. Leaders who are ready to die in order to keep their promises. The White South African Minority regime trusted Mandela to lead a smooth transition because they found him, for decades, as a man of his words. They risked it all, released him from prison, and ‘put him in charge’ since he was a man of integrity. Here’re some of the questions we should ask as we choose our leaders: Can we predict this leader? Can she deliver what she promises? Does he walk the talk? And more…

2.Excellence. Integrity without the quest for excellence is toothless. Why we need a leader who says what he means unless he delivers it with excellence? I’m not saying we need perfectionists. Excellence can be achieved only through continuous learning. We need leaders who read, study, and grow on a consistent basis to perform their duties and deliver what they promise with excellence. Mandela used his underground moments to grow. When he was given an assignment for which he didn’t have the knowledge or experience, he studied and also asked those who knew. For example, when he was assigned to form and lead the military wing of ANC, he started the duty by reading, consulting experts, and by reading lots of books. He also reviewed some case studies on guerilla fight from Cuba to Algeria to Ethiopia. Mandela also read and reflected a lot while in prison that contributed to his success in statesmanship.

3.Service. What is the motive for a leader to seek leadership? To serve or served? So far, many of our leaders sought leadership to be served and exploit. What we need is leaders with servant heart, who believe that servicing others is their calling. We need leaders who walk away when their term is over. Mandela vowed only to lead as a President for one term, and when it was over, he walked out of office unlike other African dictators who cling to power until they either killed or jailed or ran away to exile. We need leaders who have talent, career, or business to turn to when they are done leading us. Not those who most probably cling to power till they retire or die.

In conclusion, we need values-based leadership. But that doesn’t mean we need to look for perfect and flawless leaders. That cannot happen; no one is perfect. It should be enough if they’ve decent values for which they’re committed. As we choose and support our leaders, let’s pay closer attention more to their values than their identity, qualification, and likeability. We should be enlightened followers with clear parameters on how we choose our leaders. When our leaders know that we have expectations like that and values-based leadership matters to us, they change and do their homework.

  1. Asefa
    | #1

    1/ English equivalent for “Yetemare Yegdelegn”is NOT “I’m okay if a learned kills me”. You say “yetemare yigdelegn” when a learned person resolves an issue to the satisfaction of many. It is like saying, What a privilege to have someone who really knows his or her stuff!
    2/ It is interesting you cite American politicians to illustrate “values-based” leadership. The fact that each of the ones you mentioned care less about values and only about winning by all means. I could not believe you missed that. No difference, really , with our leaders. They care about seizing power. The difference is in America you don’t get sent to jail or killed for speaking your mind or voting a certain way.
    3/ You sound bookish. It may be you have not taken time to think through what you presented here OR you simply lack life experience. Be good.

  2. Dawi
    | #2

    Assegid said:

    [[..saying in Amharic “Yetemare Yegdelegn”. … the majority of TPLF leaders have all kinds of purchased degrees…]]

    The chief theoretician however, was known to have “.. inverted Kissinger’s dictum that holding office consumes intel¬lectual capital rather than creating it. He was always learning, reading, debating, and writing,..”

    Putting Integrity, Excellence and Service aside, all supporters of Capitalism as this writer appreciate elections; the controlled kind that do not question or threaten it that is! :) Well, supporters of “developmental state”, Capitalism with a twist of authoritarianism appreciate elections as well. :-)

    Huge gain for the top 1% and cuts and austerity for the majority is the new normal here in the US. So people are sick and tired of it and the people are moving towards the left. Since there is no labor party here, Bernie Sanders has stepped in.

    Few years ago the present Canadian Prime Minster was asked to name the nation he most admired? And his answer was China. What he admires the most was “their basic dictatorship” that is “allowing them to turn their economy around on a dime”. How about that?

  3. Dawi
    | #3

    Before some of you get out of shape regarding my quote of Canada’s PM Trudeau, I want you to calm down and read the following first. Thanks.

    [[..But the question at hand, sir, which country's government does the Liberal Party's candidate for prime minister in 2015 most admire?

    Trudeau's answer: "You know, there's a level of of admiration I actually have for China ..."

    Hold it right there.


    Where the administration routinely administers capital punishment. And when I say routinely, I mean 10 a day or more than 3,000 a year, many of them ethnic minorities like the Uighurs of northwestern China. Where human rights are routinely violated, where political corruption is endemic, and where political rights are nearly non-existent. That China?

    "You know, there's a level of of admiration I actually have for China because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime and say 'we need to go green fastest . . . we need to start investing in solar.' I mean there is a flexibility that I know Stephen Harper must dream about of having a dictatorship that he can do everything he wanted that I find quite interesting."..]]

  4. Disassaa
    | #4

    I disagree with this deceptive and selective Neftegna propaganda article,

    The American always vote to the government or president who will do better to their long and short term interest, such as better economy builder, better bridge builder,mega hydro dam builder,road builder,university builder etc…, which our Ethiopian government is doing as we speak.
    We Ethiopians never seen such unprecedented economic growth and total transformations of Ethiopia’s economy, and for that we Ethiopians were thankful to our visionary potent government of Ethiopia.

  5. Dawi
    | #5

    I am sorry, by “chief theoretician” I meant Meles Zenawi. “The chief theoretician however, was known to have “.. inverted Kissinger’s dictum that holding office consumes intel¬lectual capital rather than creating it. He was always learning, reading, debating, and writing,..”

    I know you are going to ask me if I know of a leader who was not “always learning, reading, debating, and writing. I will let you that when I find one. Be patient.

  6. ali
    | #6

    wolleggaaa = Diasssass, you cursed woyane dog, changing your identity does not hide who you are. there are 15 million people in Ethiopia who need urgent food aid.

  7. Anonymous
    | #7

    Wise guy #5,

    Can you point any other leader who did the following

    [[..After 1991, he studied for a degree in Business Administration at the Open University (graduating first in his class) and subsequently a Masters in Economics at Erasmus University, Rotterdam, under the supervision of the former Minister of Development Cooperation, Jan Pronk. He never finished his thesis due to the outbreak of war with Eritrea in 1998, but the draft manuscript, ‘African Development: Dead Ends and New Beginnings’, was the justification and blueprint for a ‘democratic developmental state’.]]..

  8. Kiros
    | #8

    #7 = Dawi.
    I wonder why you write anonymously.
    You sure are a Tplf cyber-cadre.
    I can see you are a privileged Abugida user because your comment was made
    before #s 4,5,6 were posted.
    I have the screenshot from yesterday.
    is disgusting you had to resort to such a low
    and unethical standard.

  9. Dawi
    | #9

    Dear Kiros,

    Are you OK?

    The wise guy #5 wasn’t me; so the anonymous #7, you the “genius” figured out was me alright and was supposed to be a wise comeback to #5 unintelligent joke on me.

    You could have figured that out if you were thinking through but, no..,no… you decided I am a “cadre” and “privileged”, which means you’re not thinking which is not smart. And if I remember right this is not your first time putting such idiotic comments.

  10. Boru
    | #10

    The late fascist and brutal TPLF chief Meles Zenawwi can never be called `a chief theoretician` because he swung from one ideology tothe other as he deemed it suitable to cling to Power. He preached liberalism and appeared as its adherent. After he killed hundreds after the 2005 elections, he threw away his democratic and lberal masks and picked up the developmeental state model. But he uderstood or grasped none of them except parroting. He was a kind of tyrant that New little or nothing but pretended to be a person endowed with intelect. However, his blind followers and supporters worship him becauseto them he is everything.

  11. Gojam Debremarkos
    | #11

    WAKE UP !!!!!


    There those who are negative,lazy and unproductive complainers who do nothing for their people or their country but complain complain complain against the positive and productive people like retard from 7000 miles away from home. On the hand there are those silent majority who is residing in Ethiopia and building the country from from scratch, by building International cross country rail road mass transportation, Mega hydro dam, high ways,Bridges,Sky scrappers,colleges,Universities,high schools, state of the art industrial park, All sort of factories,Mega irrigation farms,mega thermal hydro project,etc……

    Yes!! I love positive and productive valued leadership.

  12. Freedom
    | #12

    Author said,
    “The majority of voters, conscious or unconscious, rally for a candidate that shares their highly held values.”

    I am not sure if the majority of Americans have a highly held values. I am talking about the type of values you are discussing. Most look for candidate that satisfy there self interest. For example, most of the poor vote for a candidate that promises a social safety net and lots of free stuff(free health care, no tax/tax refund, generous welfare, etc)in addition to job opportunity. The majority of the very rich vote for a candidate who is willing to significantly cut down taxes and regulations which will allow them to grow their businesses and wealth.
    Voting for self interest at the expense of highly held values is not a good thing. The perfect case scenario is when self interest and highly held values are aligned.

    I agree with you that Integrity, Excellence and Service as defined by you are a must for being a good leader. Integrity covers honesty, trustworthiness and high moral character.
    The most important thing to remember is the fact that values are learned. The education starts at a very early stage. I am talking about age 3-4 and should be a live long journey. For kids, parents are the most important value teachers. If parents are crooks, dishonest and selfish then kids will acquire the same traits. It is money see money do phenomena.
    Therefore, as parents and adults we must learn good values and pass it on to our children and grandchildren.
    Where can one learn good values?
    The best place to learn values is in a religious setting. For example, Christians use the BIBLE as their VALUE INSTRUCTION MANUAL. Those who abide to the letter by BIBLE’S instruction will almost be, 100% of the time, Honest, Trustworthy, Practice Integrity/Excellence and Selfless Service throughout their life. In addition they will work hard, be generous and help the less fortunate. Since I don’t know much about the Koran, I can’t authoritatively say that it does similar service to the Muslims as the Bible does to the Christians. My guess is that the KORAN does advocate Honesty, Trustworthiness, Integrity, Excellence and Selfless Service. The problem for both Christians and Muslims is the fact that over 95% of the followers of both religion have not read and do not under their life instruction manual Bible and Koran respectively. Hence, they are Christians and Muslims in name only and not is substance.
    Since Ethiopia is both a Christian and Muslim nation, promotion of both religions via BIBLE and KORAN literacy starting at age 4 till death will increase by at least a million fold over a short period of time the supply of qualified leaders with the RIGHT SETS OF VALUES.
    TPLF has its origin in communism and still practices it to a significant extent. One very common trait of all communist is their hatred and opposition of all forms of Religion. Since Religion is the most important source of GOOD VALUES, TPLF’s rejection of Religion led them to be a VALUELESS, DEVIL/MONEY/POWER WORSHIPING BEASTS/CRIMINAL/TERRORISTS.

  13. Freedom
    | #13


    As you name indicates, you are more an ASS hole. Dis before your ASS name stands for Disgustful and the double AA after ASS stands for your premier rating as an asshole. In other wards you are the mother of all ass holes. Beside licking TPLF’s ass hole on a regular basis your disgustful ASS is always ready to serve them.

  14. Freedom
    | #14

    Di Ass,#4 Said,

    “The American always vote to the government or president who will do better to their long and short term interest, such as better economy builder, better bridge builder,mega hydro dam builder,road builder,university builder etc…, which our Ethiopian government is doing as we speak.”
    Dumbass, for your info all American president promise better economy. However, they do not get involved in the building of bridges/dams/roads/universities etc. Those jobs are for local governments to decide based on their budget, priorities and opinions/wish and aspiration of the people of the locality.
    Moreover, all American presidents and local government administrators are elected by we the people in a fair and just manner. NO BODY ELECTED THE ETHIOPIAN GOV. THEY ARE IN POWER BY FORCE. THEY DO NOT REPRESENT WE THE ETHIOPIAN PEOPLE. THEY REPRESENT THE IMPOTENT PROSTITUE ELITE, LIKE YOU, FROM EACH REGION.

  15. Sora
    | #15

    ጠያቂ – የጥንት አማራዎች መኖሪያ የት ነበር ?

  16. HIRUT
    | #16


    Anonymous # 5

    I thought you were maybe referring to MENGISTU HAILEMARIAM in your above comment since you didnot give the name of the person you were talking about. Then I did some research and to my surprise I found the same article in the link below. Many of my dilemma in regards to the lack of leadership is mostly answered after reading that. Can you imagine this so cvalled leader of the country was so busy learning in school while the country was in great need of a leader. If he paid more attention to his task thanh to his school Ethiopia would not have been land locked or Ethiopia wouyld not loose 100,000 soldiers in Badme war. 1991-1998 he was in school when the country was sinking to the worst that caused that war that disabled many evcen the Minster Of Defence was putr in prison all these because Meles didnot want to appoint other educated people due to his thrust issue, he had to learn himself EVEN IF IT MEANS abandoning his task allowing Eritreans to shit on Ethiopians for seven years under his leadership.


  17. Dawi
    | #17

    Hirut said:

    [[..  If he paid more attention to his task thanh to his school Ethiopia would not have been land locked or Ethiopia wouyld not loose 100,000 soldiers in Badme war. 1991-1998..]]

    Meles was an accomplished self learned ML theoretician who lead TPLF/EPRDF to victory to begin with. He continued to become the forefront of the African developmental state model expert by learning & expanding his thoughts in the subjects he took. Prof. Alex (as you noted), Dr. Susan Rice, Dr. Eleni, Prof. Akbar Noman, Prof. Joseph Stiglitz are some of his admirers. New stories are surfacing that Meles had a different formula of bringing back Eritrea back to the fold. He started the GERD even though he was supposed to have sold off the nile to Egypt? Didn’t he?

    Remember such political issues are complex. EPLF was the main player in Eritrea; TPLF tagged EPLF as reactionary way before they formed a “united front” to overthrow the military government. Maybe that was a mistake? I for one is not in favor of any loose “united front” anymore worrying the same disaster such as “Badme” shall occur again?

    On the other hand, mature democracies had similar issues on the get go of development as well; so we are not unique.
    For instance, to preserve the United States as one nation with the Northerners victory, the cost was of over 600.000 lives..

  18. Alem
    | #18

    Dawi, I am glad you keep commenting. The more you talk the more you out yourself. I want readers to take note.
    1/ Alex De Waal is friends with Tplf from jungle days and is now involved with Meles Foundation. He has self-interest for endorsing Meles.
    2/ Stiglitz had his info all wrong about Meles [was duped really because he had issues with World Bank which later fired him]; guess what? Stiglitz has taken back his statement. May be you did not know. Read Stiglitz’s “Globalization…” book beginning p.26.
    3/ Susan Rice said Meles has “world class mind.” Do you understand that her comment meant to rub Meles’s ego? It is diplomatese for satisfying Meles’s craving for recognition because he made life easier for Susan Rice by taking in criminals the US gov was embarrassed by and by renting Ethiopian soldiers to “keep peace” in South Sudan and in Somalia [and of course making millions].
    4/ It is news to me that Meles “started the GERD.” I will give you a chance to elaborate on that.
    5/ I agree with your statement that Meles was self-taught. I will add that he was a brilliant guy. But remember his ideas were gleaned mostly from Stalin [sure Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism]. But a leader’s primary job is to build trust. Meles lived creating division within his own party and within Ethiopian communities. His sole aim was power. Power almost slipped out of his hand following election 2005. Democratizing will not be useful to him. That is when he devised “developmental state” [a retreat to Derg era policy] and effectively rallied disgruntled Stiglitz behind him. I admire his tactics though selfish and short-sighted. Another item cyber-cadres like yourself never mention is the fact that Meles got his cues of “developmental state” from Ghanaians; whereas Ghanaians adhered to democratization, Meles made a poisonous potion out of “terrorism” and “development” to make a quickie law to de-register all civil society organizations he did not like and stacked the Parliament with appointees. I know you are intelligent enough to get it. I write all this to caution some visiting this page to get the context right.
    6/ Your final statement that cost to preserve the US was “over 600,000 lives” came across as reprehensible. You make it sound that unnecessary and criminal killings Ethio-Eritrea border war [100,000] and internally [over 200 deaths in Oromia recently and 196 in 2006, 443 in Gambela] are ok. I hope you are not saying the killings are to “preserve” Ethiopia!
    7/ So you claim after Alex De Waal that Meles the “chief theoretician .. inverted Kissinger’s dictum?” What did Kissinger actually say and in what context? I doubt you know the answer to that; it could be you have problem with honesty. Here is part of what Kissinger said, “High office teaches decision making, not substance. It consumes intellectual capital; it does not create it. Most high officials leave office with the perceptions and insights with which they entered; they learn how to make decisions but not what decisions to make.”
    8/ Let me give an assignment. Tell readers what Kissinger meant by “substance.” And then relate that to Meles’s uninformed policies that resulted in two border wars, failed language policy in the South, corruption that was unimaginable during fascist Derg rule, signing off use of sea outlet that even surprised Carter, orchestrated elections that result in 100% win, formation recently of new “parties” outside Eprdf to forestall Amhara, Oromo potential coalition and resistance [Eprdf itself being the creation of Tplf]; and now instigating newer groups in search of “parties” as in Wolqayit, ever expanding jail system and the cruelties, Ethiopians fleeing in tens of thousands [forcibly and as "maids" to Arabs], economic racism where Tplf could do business in every region directly or by proxy [from licensing to sell injera and coffee abroad to real estate] and the rest limited within its own region. The sad thing is Ethiopians are caught between idiotic and loud-mouthed opposition and charlatans. Well meaning Ethiopians should stop talking in retail and think in big picture. The sooner they learn to do this the better.

  19. Dawi
    | #19

    Alem said:

    [[..Dawi, I am glad you keep commenting…]]

    The pleasure is mine Alem.

    Prof. Alex & Dr. Susan are Meles’s friends but, are well established in their own rights to stoop to the kind opportunism you are suggesting here.

    Name one self interest Prof. Alex may have? Dr. Susan could have used other accolades besides “world class mind” to honor a one of a run of the mill benevolent African leader? Couldn’t she? but, she did not because he just wasn’t.

    Did you say she did it to “rub Meles’s ego” What? A dead man’s ego? That is out right bullcrap!

    [[..Stiglitz has taken back his statement..]]

    The following doesn’t look “taking back” anything to me.

    “..Some, such as Olusejun Obasanjo in Nigeria, Yoweri Museveni in Uganda, Benjamin Mkapa in Tanzania, and Meles Zenawi in Ethiopia, took strong stands against corruption; even if it was not eliminated entirely, remarkable progress was made. Uganda and Ethiopia had periods of growth: Ethiopia grew at more than 6 percent annually between 1993 and 1997, when war broke out with neighboring Eritrea;..” P. 40.

    The late PM Meles put the foundation of GERD in 2011. He eloquently explained to the then parliament that his government decided to build the GERD & that no one should lose sleep of Egypt attacking our country because there won’t be a different out come than what our history recorded. If that is not Ethiopian nationalism, what is? That video is viral and I suggest for all to watch it.

    On the other hand, lately Issayas of Eritrea has confirmed in his own perverted form that it was Meles’s dream to build the GERD because of “Egyptian dismissal of him in 1993, and the man “vowed to bring Egypt & Sudan to their Knees”. I can’t argue with that because Isayas knows of what coming to one knee entails.:-)

    [[Power almost slipped out of his hand following election 2005. Democratizing will not be useful to him. That is when he devised “developmental state” [a retreat to Derg era policy]]

    Meles’ acknowledged it by responding to that per Alex as the following:

    “.. the EPRDF had indeed neglected political education and party organization for years, which explained the 2000–1 internal crisis and the poor performance in the 2005 elections, including being wiped out in the major cities. But, he argued, a new generation of leaders was emerging, he was renewing the party at all levels, and, above all, his policies were delivering results. Ethiopians had never, ever, experienced anything like the recent economic growth and the spectacular expansion in infrastructure and services – and this, he said, would transform the country in the next fifteen years…”

    I don’t think more explanation is needed to what is said on Kissinger dectum; as Prof. Alex put it “..that holding office consumes intellectual capital rather than creating it. He(Meles) was always learning, reading, debating, and writing, and while he never abandoned the fundamental principles forged in the field, his views evolved greatly…”

    The bottom line is my friend Meles wasn’t god but a genius for sure; he put DDS in motion to run for “next 15 years” in Ethiopia; others in Africa can learn from it & improve on it.

    And you can continue to talk of what more he could have and didn’t do for you; the man worked himself to death; what more do you want? :)

  20. Dawi
    | #20

    cont’d Alem said:

    [[..Your final statement that cost to preserve the US was “over 600,000 lives” came across as reprehensible...I hope you are not saying the killings are to “preserve” Ethiopia!]]

    Are you talking to us as if social morality is a priority of “liberal democracy” here? Yes, over 600,000 lives were lost and “democracy” did advance in 1776 but, was built on ethnic cleansing of Native Americans, the constitution was drafted by a slave owner named Thomas Jefferson. So, would you say the killings was to “preserve” USA? That answers your question I hope.

  21. Dawi
    | #21

    Cont’d Alem said:

    [[ 5/ ... Meles lived creating division within his own party and within Ethiopian communities. His sole aim was power..]]

    I don’t know about you but most Ethiopians do not deny that cultural inequality existed; resentment and conflicts were rife characteristics of our past history. With all its drawbacks then, acknowledging values and histories of those engaged in the making of Ethiopia with a federal arrangement was a great attempt for the survival of the country. We owe Meles for upholding diversity in the constitution by modifying the structural injustices that existed however, injustice of cultural inequality do not disappear in thin air that easily therefore, you can’t blame him for “creating divisions” on issues in diversity, when that was our major difficulty throughout the history of modern Ethiopia.

    I mentioned “ethnic cleansing” and “slavery” earlier; racism in the US still persists outliving the abolition of slavery legally. Our injustice of cultural inequality shall persist as well therefore, continuous challenges of the system with associated protests shall go on and here again blaming the statesman Meles by you for that is not called for.

  22. Alem
    | #22

    Dawi, my comments are meant for Abugida visitors and regulars, not for you per se. You are again all over the place – as usual. That confirms my hunch that your sole mission is to disrupt and distract. I want to make life a little easier for you. Here is a bargain. Forget all I have said so far. Just answer as honestly as you can this one question. Q: why is it licenses to retail coffee, gold, khat, injera, teff abroad are disproportionately dispensed to Tplf members? [Remember none of these commodities are produced in Tigray.]

  23. Dawi
    | #23

    Recently on Guardian development network the Ethiopian prime minister said: ‘We are an island of stability in a troubled region’

    The stability is being tested as we speak but,his being a true disciple of the statesman Meles is unquestionable in the following:

    [[..Ethiopia is a very diverse country, and those differences can be accommodated in a democratic way. My government is working to engage with all these groups. The resentments are subsiding. But one thing, which I do not want to hide, is that we follow a developmental democratic state system of governance. That is: government has to intervene in a specialized way in the economy, which many neo-liberals do not like. We have ideological conflict with those who criticize us. They want to prove that this system is wrong by bombarding Ethiopia and its leaders [with criticism]. They want to prove that they are right. When we have a problem, it’s exaggerated because they want to prove that their ideology is correct…]]

  24. Dawi
    | #24

    Dear Alem,

    Don’t assume that because it is not my intention to disrupt at all. Remember, today you see a lot of “protest” writings even on papers like the Ethiopian Reporter.

    ABUGIDA as an Ethiopian website seems to me is dedicated to balanced, non-partisan discussion of important societal issues. Why not?

    You said:

    [[ why is it licenses to retail coffee, gold, khat, injera, teff abroad are disproportionately dispensed to Tplf members? [Remember none of these commodities are produced in Tigray...]]

    Pay attention because I don’t want you to be distracted again.

    Last time I checked here in the Northwest an Eritrean was the Coffee distributor. :-) The teff came mostly from Idaho farm and khat is an illegal substance therefore, who knows where it comes from?

    The explanation can be their connection to EFFORT and other TPLF associated enterprises that export the stuff. I am sure you can find some petty thieves and general corruption in TPLF and the rest of EPRDF if that is what you’re insinuating here.

    My assumption is enterprises like EFFORT, if they do what their name stands for, will do something good for now. I won’t waste energy attacking them. I have read they’re doing something in Tigray for the drought as we speak. Good for them because we need more self help.

    In the long term we will have more of national and less of ethnic based organizations as in developed democracies if that is what you’re worried about.

    On another note – Let me try to distract you this time. :)

    Do you know that it is estimated a basic 16 once of coffee has approximately 60 beans and 1 pound bag of coffee contains less than 2,000 beans. A small coffee farmer gets $1 per pound…on a good day a little more. Fair Trade folks are calling if we can improve on that? At least double what the farmer get? How about that?

  25. ዘረ-ያዕቖብ ወ.ግ.ዓ.ም-ፅዮን The Eth.
    | #25

    “my comments are meant for Abugida visitors and regulars,

    [Remember none of these commodities are produced in Tigray.]”

    Junge- #22,

    አፍህን ቀዳጅና በተግባር ግን lazy ስለሆንክ ምንም ነገር እንደማይሳክልህ ከአቡጊዳ ታዛቢዎች የሆኑ ሊያስረዱህ ይወዳሉ! በዚያኛው ዝቃጭ ጎን በመቆም ሳይሆን በገዛ ራሳቸው መተማመንና እንዲሁም……….!

    that Tecola ማንነትህን ግለፅ አድርግ ሲል ደክሞ ይሄው ጠፋ::
    አሁን ደግሞ እኔ ባንተ ላይ ያለኝ ጥያቄ: ካስቀመጥከው አረፍተነገር ተነስቸ ትግራዋይ አለመሆንህን ደርሸበታለሁኝ, ግን ለመሆኑ ከየትኛው “የማና መንደር” ነህ ? ከ……….. እንደማትለኝ ባለተፋ ነኝ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ኢትዮጵያ ሆይ, የተሻለን የምትወልጅበት ቀን ያምጣልሽ!

  26. ዘረ-ያዕቖብ ወ.ግ.ዓ.ም-ፅዮን The Eth.
    | #26


    ባለተፋ = ባለተስፋ
    እንዲሁም: ፈተኻ-ፅላእኻ ኣነ እየ …….. ገለመለኻ በለት ወይዘሮ ……….እንታይዶስ-ከመይዶስ!

    Gang of ዘራፊዎችን በበለጠ ያስተባብርና ተቃዋሚ የስጋ ዘመዶቻቸውን ድብን አድርጎ ያስተኛ እንደሆነ ነው እንጂ, እንደዚህ አይነት ቅዠት ሌላ ምንም አስተዋፅኦ የብሉን-Ha..Ha ! ምክኒያቱስ ለሰው ልጆች ይጠቅማል ተብሎ ሳይሆን እንዲያው ቻልኩበት-ቻልኩበት ባይ መንደርተኛ ቅዠት ነውና! ወይንስ ማሌሊት በውስጥ ውስጥ አድርጋ ወፍራም ሕምባሻ አጎረሰች እንዴ……………..!!?? እሹ ታገኛላችሁ እንዲሉት, ማሌሊት ሁልጊዜ ሕምባሻን የሚወዱ IRATIONALISTS አታጣምና!!

    አሁንም ኢትዮጵያ ሆይ, የተሻለን የምትወልጅበት ቀን ያምጣልሽ!

  27. Densa
    | #27

    Dr. Asseged, I have to tell you I enjoyed this exceptionally written piece. I agree with much what you have stated and with the presentation of a sound argument. Some people above of those who have directly commented on your issue( such as Asefa and freedom)stated American voters are guided by self interest than by values. Asefa wrote very little and his view of politics appears to be cynical. Even the seasoned commentator Freedom seems to think most Americans are driven by self interest. And he cited examples how the poor can be enticed to vote for a candidate who can promise free this and that. And the rich for a candidate who promise to cut taxes, and regulations .But he left out the middle class and did not tell us what might motivate them to elect a candidate. I think his reasoning sounds plausible but simplistic.I like to think the U.S public is very diverse and hard to categorize without overlapping one with the other. Personally I would not think every one votes because of self interest. If every body is driven by self interest where will be place for national, local and community interest? As I read some of the comments above that comes form committed identity based politicians they have no word to contribute.

  28. Tesfaye
    | #28

    Deconstructing the true hidden agenda of Developmental-State (DS) theory of Meles and TPLF is very timely and important issue. Why Meles brought forward the issue of DS especially after the 2005 electoral defeat? It has to be exposed. As some Ethiopians put it TPLF is entangled with some sort of clash of civilization and class of historical realities. All the time TPLF considers it self as if it is a harbinger of every good thing of Ethiopia. TPLF assumes as if it has created its New-Ethiopia from scratch or ground zero-level. It is this same mentality and internal contradictions of TPLF that tempted or led Meles to claim as the champion of DS. To disprove this misleading claim of Meles as vanguard of DS, first it is vital to remind some fallacious premises and other many exiting realities on the ground as mentioned below.

    1) TPLF collaborated with EPLF and fought for secession of Eritrea and deliberate land-locking of Ethiopia. The deliberate land-locking of Ethiopia was such a historical sabotage ever committed by TPLF against Ethiopia. In addition to losing the strategic importance of the sea outlet, Ethiopia now pays close to one Billion dollar every year for Djibouti port rent.

    2) TPLF came to power by the barrel of the gun after 17 years of bloody civil-war. It was even defeated in 2005 national election by landslide victory of Kinjit. Therefore, it does not have a good track record to be accepted unanimously as a Developmental-State.

    3) TPLF formulated a diabolical policy of targeting Amhara and Orthodox Church as its arch enemy. And hence TPLF worked hard for the last 40 years to weaken and wipe-out the two vital parts of Ethiopianity. How can you be accepted by the majority mass as a DS or whatever legitimate power while you are targeting the vital part of the majority Ethiopianity?

    4)TPLF has a hidden agenda of establishing independent and Sovereign greater Tigray State. To achieve this goal TPLF has forcefully annexed land from Amhara region through systemic ethnic cleansing. The very reason article-39 is included in the constitution. And indeed the very economic hegemony of TPLF by using EFFORT and other proxy agents locally or abroad originates from this hidden agenda of TPLF.

    5) TPLF formulated and practiced ethnically and linguistically based federalism in Ethiopia with the addition of the right for secession any time (article-39). No other country in the world practiced such type of Federalism.

    6) TPLF still uses its ethnic brand name of TPLF even after 25 years of stay in power. Is Tigray and its people still not liberated? EPRDF is also still a front with ethnically based independent parties.

    7) TPLF is the real Fascist-Communist power while Derg was just a bogus Communist only by name. Take the acronym EPRDF. It contains names Revolution and Democracy.
    The name Revolution (similar to the name Weyane) stands for its Materialistic and Communist ideology. The name Democracy is used just as a PR mask to appease or mislead its Western bidders and the international community abroad and other naïve Ethiopians at home. Some one once said that TPLF is characterized by a communist mentality in theory but with a capitalist stomach in reality.

    8)TPLF came to power by the main support of foreign powers especially the West. Therefore, it has to obey the Neo-Liberal policy of the West to stay in power. And accordingly TPLF and Meles has implemented the Neo-Liberal policy of Western institutions like IMF and World Bank for the last 25 years and is till obeying the same policy and will continue to obey the same policy to stay in power. Meles’s brag against Neo-Liberalism is just a misleading pretence not a serious challenge.

    9) The DS nature of South-Korea and China does not have that much historical or contemporary similarity or match with Ethiopia. In very simple terms those countries are not at least as ethnically fragmented as Ethiopia is today .Those countries do not adopt ethnic federalism. Those countries never strived to convert their entire citizenry and manpower in to a blindly submissive CADRE of political machine or ideologue. They have invested a lot in knowledge, expertise and Research and Development (R&D). They have undertaken ‘cultural revolution’ and some sort of political consensus that paves the way for economic development. So they do not necessary need to implement a multi-party chaotic elections every term that has a potential of hassle and political instability. The other thing that contributes for the economic development of South-Korea is related to the previous colonial power of Japan. The divide b/n North and South Korea is traced back to the colonial power of Japan.The elites of the North were anti-colonial where as the elites of the South were some how pro-colonial. USA follows same suit of pre-colonial times of Japan to divide Koreans in to the North-South line. Because of this colonial history USA favored the South Koreans and marginalized the Northerners. Therefore US and Western Trans National Companies (TNS) made alliance with Southern Korean elites and contributed a great deal for the advancement of the South economically and technologically. However the North is demonized as belligerent and rogue state because of its historical nationalist and anti-colonial background. At the beginning of the division it was the North that was advancing economically and technologically because of its nationalist nature. But later because of the cold war and the way the cold war ended and the afterward pressure the North is experiencing from the West by so many sanctions as we all now know the North is in problem specially for the last 2 decades. Therefore, because of geo-political and other global-power relations the West has contributed a great deal for the technological and economic development of South-Korea. Meles also raised the issue of the divide between Northern and Southern Italy .Does this analogical example remind us the historical and contemporary divide that has existed in Ethiopia as well ? Tigray and Eritrea considered as Northern Ethiopia and the rest considered as Southern Ethiopia? What are the psychological, social, cultural, historical, political, economical, factors for the existing divide that Meles raised to exist both in Italy and Ethiopia? What is its influence in his DS model? Well Germany also experienced half-century East-West divide because of Second-world war and the remaining residual cold-war but managed to defeat the challenge of divide..

    10) What is Neo-Liberalism? Neo-Liberalism is in short rent-seeking and patronage economic system for the benefit of the very few capitalist oligarchies who control state-power directly or indirectly. As in the case of the West Neo-Liberalism utilizes government monetary and fiscal policies like bank-bailout and austerity measures to plunder and accumulate wealth for the very few capitalist oligarchies by impoverishing the mass. Especially after the 2008 financial bubble in the West, bank-bailout and austerity measures were implemented by the governments of the West. In the case of developing-countries, for to this economic policy to be applied, first regime-change takes place by war or other means in order to install subservient puppet regimes like TPLF. Because neo-liberalism is implemented as a peace time economic policy it can not be implemented without compliant puppet regimes in power. Therefore, in general Neo-Liberalism can not be even implemented with out intermediary state intervention and its patronage. TPLF was defeated in the 2005 national election by Kinjit but managed to continue ruling Ethiopia by force and deceit of Ethiopians by using the fabricated DS new-speak. TPLF does not have the required legitimacy to rule Ethiopia. Because of its ethnic politics that originates from its narrow ethnic origin or background it can not achieve political legitimacy or hegemony through free and fair election through the majority consent of the mass. That is why it must always resort to cheating and harassing elections. Likewise, to achieve economic hegemony it has to rely on mischievous, predatory, rent-seeking and patronage economic-system. TPLF can not outsmart only by fair play of genuine free-market economy let alone to become a welfare-state like Derg or Haileselassie. Therefore, TPLF has to follow a mafia-style economic fascism in order to thrive as an ethnically narrow special interest-group or oligarchy under the disguise of DS .Take EFFORT as a good example of rent-seeking and patronage economic empire. EFFORT enjoys the patronage of TPLF to thrive in the economic sector. However, EFFORT is virtually a private company that belongs to TPLF members .It is neither a state-owned nor a public- owned company. That is why Meles and TPLF has established EFFORT and then has adopted rent-seeking and patronage economic-system which is called Neo-Liberalism. Theoretically Meles and TPLF denounce Neo-Liberalism but practically they implements the same Neo-Liberalism they appear to denounce. Meles’s draft paper for his doctoral thesis “African Development Dead-Ends and New-Beginnings” is just a sheer hypocrisy and double-standard which is very contradictory to existing realities on the ground. May be it is a subtle way of personal confession for wrong doing or sin because of the damages incurred by this wrong Neo-Liberal economic policy. Meles was indirectly striving to reconcile TPLF’s Marxist-Leninist mentality with TPLF’s capitalist stomach. For me this draft thesis is like that of “Confessions of The Economic Hit Men” of John Perkins. While Meles and TPLF has implemented ethnic-politics and ethnic-federalism at home I even take it as a crocodile tear to stand-up for Africa.The selection of Ethiopia as the seat of African Union has a historical background that arises from Ethiopia’s long time exemplary anti-colonial resistance. Therefore, according to TPLF ethnic policy even Africa Union must have been removed from Ethiopia long time ago. Because ethnic politics is against the vision of African union it was founded. Meles mentioned about the night watch-man type of state in his draft paper. Actually there was no such state in Ethiopia or in most of the world including USA. The last 3 regimes in Ethiopia before TPLF were all active state players not only in the political sector but also in the Economic sector. The economy was not as such too liberal from the intervention of the state the way Meles tries to misleadingly depict it as night watch-man type of state. Especially Derg was the very active decision maker and active player in the economic sector because of its socialist ideology. While Derg was working hard on nationalization of economic sectors,it is rather TPLF which has carried our de-nationalization and implemented a sell out of public and state enterprises by the cover of privatization of the economic sector through Privatization Agency.

    Meles in his paper clearly announces and admits rent-seeking and patronage as the inevitable vital merit part of Developmental-State and on the other hand he denounces the same rent-seeking and patronage as the main demerit and obstacle for Developmental-State.His DS model, both in theory and practice, is very hypocritical and double-standard approach which is based on wrong premises. How can we reconcile this paradox or contradiction? According to Meles and TPLF stealing is allowed as long as you are not identified but is only a crime if you are caught red-handed. Likewise rent-seeking and patronage under the disguise of DS is allowed as a blessing only for EFFORT, TPLF, Tigres and the associated local and foreign cronies in the food-chain but it is a forbidden taboo for other Ethiopians who are outside of these domains. Free enterprise and the private sector has been discouraged and sabotaged to failure in order to provide a comparative advantage for EFFORT and other TPLF affiliates. By the stretched long hand of the state (TPLF) as an intermediary regulator EFFORT and other local and foreign business affiliates have been interlocked with the financial, military, bureaucracy, security and other branches of the state in order to serve minority interest-groups or oligarchies.Knowing these all things Developmental-State is just a mere intellectual jargon created by Meles in order to mislead and cover up the exiting reality on the ground. DS is just a very insidious mechanism of creating a preferential and comparative advantage for the political and economic hegemony of TPLF and Tigre peoples by marginalizing and disfranchising the remaining Ethiopians. The very misleading wrong premise of Meles is that Neo-Liberalism can be implemented without state intervention and patronage. Neo-Liberalism is in short rent-seeking and patronage economic system for the benefit of the very few capitalist oligarchies who control state-power directly or indirectly. Neo-Liberalism can not be even implemented with out intermediary state intervention and its patronage. In the Ethiopian context TPLF is an intermediary entity that works both as the sate and the local oligarchy. Meles or TPLF has misleadingly held a wrong premise of view as if the state(TPLF) is carrying out a fair and just economic redistribution intermediary role by exploiting the status of state’s privileged or unearned gain of rent-seeking and patronage economic activities as a DS.
    No that is not what is actually happening on the ground. The state(TPLF) is rather playing the intermediary bridging role of exploiting the majority mass and then systemically transferring wealth to the minorities by impoverishing the majorities. TPLF is especially exploiting intensively and extensively the unjust land policy and its corrupt monetary policy as a means of rent-seeking and patronage to accumulate wealth for the minorities. The system of TPLF has relied mainly on rent-seeking and patronage rather than actual value creation by a fair and just means. And this corrupt and mafia style economic system that mainly relies on rent-seeking and patronage mainly originates from the very inception nature of TPLF as a narrowly and ethnically organized apartheid style political force. Therefore rent-seeking and patronage predatory economic system (Neo-Liberalism) is the main unavoidable attributive nature of TPLF. As I said it above Meles was just subtly making confessions in his draft doctoral thesis by providing it an academic cover-up in order to reconcile with his previous soul of Marxist-Leninist ideology. Why Meles lastly comes out with anti-Neo-Liberalism and pro-DS stand while to the contrary implementing the same Neo-Liberal economic policy all his life in power and TPLF still continues the same policy? For me, in the context of TPLF, both DS and Neo-Liberalism are the same in practice except a matter of difference in terminology. It is all a game of words in appearance but with no difference in substance.

  29. Tesfa
    | #29

    Dr.Aseged you wrote,

    “What so ever anger, frustration, and emotion run high among our people, removing TPLF and bringing democracy, justice, and the rule of law demands extraordinary leaders from top to bottom. Facilitating a smooth transition from apartheid style leadership to a more democratic and inclusive leadership demands, smart, far-sighted, and wise decision makers.”

    I am glad you pick up this vital topic and wrestle with it.I completely agree with your main idea that our country needs exceptional leaders who are willing to work with our people to bring stability and order. Yes,leaders endowed with unique qualities,such as humility and servant hood are urgently needed. Not just what they can get out of the mission for themselves, but because of passion and a desire to see the next generation of Ethiopians enjoy stability and peace.

    Personally, I like to see such topics with the same theme consistently be explored in this forum. So what qualities are needed in an exceptional leader? I agree with two of the conditions you have listed as qualities that characterize a leader: Integrity and servanthood. Actually, true character is shaped by Lord in the life of the person. And it is done for them, who through repentance have a vital relationship with him. But we are here considering leaders strictly that deals with secular affairs and we have to do with what we can get. That is out of the list we can get compare and contrast and choose the one who seems promising and measure up to the standards we set.

    As you have rightly pointed out integrity as the number one criteria that qualifies a leader. In fact, integrity may reveal the whole person as it related to the many facets of the individual’s core values. It may include honesty, truthfulness, commitment, promise keeping. Therefore, this trait is indispensable to look in a person that is to be a leader. While I agree to your lists of integrity and service
    .I add to the conditions you have listed Accountability and CONVICTION as qualities to be sought in a leader. Conviction is a person’s willingness to admit and embrace the truth no matter the coast. I mean truth in all its aspects whether this has to do with the principle to be pursued or the truth that demands to have acquaintance with one’s limitations and flaws.

  30. Dawi
    | #30

    Tesfaye said:

    [[..TPLF formulated a diabolical policy of targeting Amhara and Orthodox Church as its arch enemy. ..]]

    There were nationalist resistance by Oromos, Somalis and Eritreans since the early 1960s, peasant uprisings in Tigray in the 1940s, Gojjam and Bale in the late 1960s and early 1970s; Ethiopian student movement called for “land to the teller” that was widely accepted; TPLF was an off-shoot of ESM and if you substitute the name TPLF with ESM as in your above remark, one can assume “land to the teller” targeted mainly those who spoke Amharic and the Orthodox Church that owned land and conclude, Amara community & the Orothodox Church are the enemy but, it won’t be right. Would it? :)

    On the other hand, when one champions the equality and freedom of Ethiopia’s diverse faiths and cultures, it is considered going through a revolution void of targeting a particular group in principle. TPLF as a branch of ESM had a motto to correct past injustices that went beyond there own cultural community.

    It did form military united fronts with EPLF, OLF and others. Further more EPRDF was launched by it in acknowledging and embracing the values and histories of all other groups to recreate the new Ethiopia in equal terms. That is a standard practice looking at comparative successful revolutions.

    After victory, a federation arrangement was formed because the movements that were part of the united front weren’t going to take anything less than a system that fully accepts the equality and freedom of their communities. They eventually agreed on an entitlement to enter and to exit the political unity freely as drafted by OLF; EPLF took advantage of that to exit the union. We understand there were some in TPLF who didn’t like that but, even if all desired to keep Eritrea, it can not be accomplished minus using military force similar to the failed Derg; that was not an option therefore, the ultimate decision maker of separation of Eritrea fell in the hands of EPLF.

    Coming to DDS, Meles argued that in a poor agricultural economy such as ours the market is a poor instrument for the creation of a dynamic capitalist economy. In an economy with few areas of clear comparative advantage, economic agents would be attracted to activities that assure returns without adding any value. So the state would have to play an active role to maneuver economic agents towards activities that strengthens productivity and value. The state would also be a major player in areas of banking, telecommunication and energy to avoid being controlled by foreign owners as local investors are very weak.

    So organization like EFFORT can be considered as vehicles to accomplish DDS plans. It is obvious historical starting points made some institutions reflect particular ethnic groups. In the long run stocks could be sold and these entities can become publicly traded.

    For instance, South Korea favored “chaebol”(familty controlled business associations) who had special privileges and grew large. This gave the impression of economic success for the chaebol that was not always valid. In some cases chaebol grew not because they were profitable but merely because they could borrow vast funds. We understand EFFORT is treated the same way; some of its members don’t make money others do. It was in the news yesterday that Mesfin Engineering just started assembling German Trucks; moving the country along industrialization, which is as good thing for DS; Azeb was one of the guests that gave a speech on that inauguration.

    As you mentioned it is not the state alone that shaped the countries of DS; there are exogenous factors such as history, geopolitics and culture that shapes the countries of economic performance. Different regimes have different capabilities, historical records, and cultural settings and the developmental outcomes of each regime may vary however, you shouldn’t underestimate Meles’s vision.

    As Prof. Alex put it, “..The abiding impression left by Meles and the TPLF leadership was that their theory and practice were deeply rooted in the realities of Ethiopia, and that they would succeed or fail on their terms and no others. The TPLF had convinced the people, and that was all that mattered. They did not measure their record or their policies against external standards; on the contrary, they evaluated outside precepts against their own experience and logic. It was a refreshing, even inspiring, dose of intellectual self-reliance…”. That should mean a lot to Ethiopians.

    [[..The state(TPLF) is rather playing the intermediary bridging role of exploiting the majority mass and then systemically transferring wealth to the minorities by impoverishing the majorities...]]

    What makes you come to that conclusion? It is capitalism alright and yes EFFORT has ballooned but, the then CEO, Azeb Mesfin, explained that “EFFORT employees are working harder than ever to keep the visions of the late PM Meles Zenawi.” And what was his vision?

    Our concern is, as an overall economic growth brings changes in the socio-economic structure of society as it is happening in Ethiopia, it is obvious that the forces manifesting out of that favor democratic governance and there is no question about that however, a strong state with coherent policy with a capacity to insulate itself from societal pressures as in the protests, el-nino drought, and so on and so forth as EPRDF seem to manage, there is not way it can be realized without using political repression against the people. So DDS shall be a fantasy or a pipe dream because comparative history tells us it was democracy that has been the greatest sacrifice of the South Korean economic success before the democratic turn in 1987. Wish ours end up becoming DDS instead.

  31. Dawi
    | #31

    Cont’d Tesfaye said:

    [[..Likewise rent-seeking and patronage under the disguise of DS is allowed as a blessing only for EFFORT, TPLF, Tigres and the associated local and foreign cronies in the food-chain but it is a forbidden taboo for other Ethiopians who are outside of these domains...]]

    You are correct in general. Who allocates the “rent”? Is the central question. Other than that DS is Capitalism pure and simple.

    The following Prof. Alex De Waal’s statement was quoted by Zehabesha this week from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L54tr7PhQuA; it was his observation of what is going on regarding “rent” in Ethiopia post-Meles.

    “The political governance is I think in a very interesting moment by which the highly centralized rent allocation that was undertaken by the late PM Meles Zenawi is breaking down. And Meles was very explicit that he was not interested in eliminating rent but in allocating rent. Now his successors, therefore, have huge amount of resources in their hands to allocate. And given that none of them has that same centralized command over everything that goes on in investment development policy, the system is becoming more like of cartel of different power centers, each of which is allocating resources. This is likely to lead to a sharp increase in corruption. It does not mean that the developmental project is going to be derailed but it will take on a different character and the extent to which in that transition the voices of the people can be heard so that there can be a democratic debate is going to be really challenging because one of the things that happens when you centralize power in a single party with no opposition is that party rocks from the middle. That always happens and this is a challenge of Ethiopia how to prevent that rock at the center given that the EPRDF is politically dominant otherwise it will be in a trouble.” – Zehabesha

  32. AleQa Biru
    | #32


    Agree almost entirely with you.

  33. AleQa Biru
    | #33

    @AleQa Biru
    I appreciate your civility. Many are throwing nasty insults but you ignore their garbage and stay on topic. That’s good quality my friend. Much respect.

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