38th day since Ethiopia’s dictator disappeared

Today is the 38th day since Meles Zenawi, head of the ruling junta in Ethiopia disappeared from public view. The regime says he is taking break on doctors advise in an unnamed country after getting treatment for an unspecified illness, but many believe he is either dead or incapacitated. The central committee of the ruling party, Tigrean People Liberation Front (TPLF), has been holding secretive meetings for the past 10 days. It is not clear who is currently running the government, but definitely it is not the deputy prime minister Hailemariam Desallegn, who is a puppet figure for this masters, Woyannes.

2 thoughts on “38th day since Ethiopia’s dictator disappeared

  1. JOE on

    TIME WILL TELL! A Woyane spokesperson announced that Zenawi would be taking a leave of absence from running the country, which he’s led since 1991.

    From a human rights perspective, Zenawi’s rule has been abusive, heavy-handed, and self-interested.. Still, his apparently earnest dedication to sustainable development has long attracted international donors, whose money has benefited Ethiopia while propping up his regime. Zenawi, has fostered a friendlier environment for foreign investment. Between 2000 and 2010, Ethiopia’s GDP enjoyed a staggering average annual growth rate of 8.8 percent — China-like numbers. The country’s public sector is hardly clean of corruption, but the Ethiopian state isn’t as mismanaged or as predatory as others in the region. It ranks 120thout of 183 governments on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions index, not exactly Scandinavian but still ahead of such regional leaders as Kenya, Uganda, and Nigeria.

    Under his leadership, Ethiopians have suffered from a lack of human, civil, and political rights. At the same time, their country has earned a reputation as a place where aid money can be responsibly and effectively spent. “The U.S. assistance portfolio in Ethiopia remains one of the United States’ largest and most complex in Africa” according to an online U.S. government profile of the roughly $2.1 billion in aid the U.S. has sent to Ethiopia since 2010. The World Bank helps fund over $ 4.4 billion worth of projects in the country.

    This is the paradox of Zenawi’s legacy. He has done much to simultaneously help and hurt his people, with just the kind of quiet skill that you hope to see in a benign leader and dread in a malevolent one. If he never returns to office, should he be remembered as the technocrat behind Ethiopia’s amazing economic rise, or the brutal strongman who resisted democracy as much of Africa adopted it? Though one did not necessarily require the other — a kinder, gentler Zenawi might have overseen even better growth — the same character might inform both sides of his rule.

    “When I meet with Prime Minister Meles and [Ugandan] President [Yoweri] Museveni, I feel like I am attending development seminar,” rockstar development economist Jeffrey Sachs said in a 2004 speech. “They are ingenious, deeply knowledgeable, and bold.” Magnus Taylor, the managing editor of the Royal African Society’s renowned African Arguments blog, wrote about Zenawi’s ability to dazzle foreign investors at the World Economic Forum in Addis Ababa this past May, while challenging the democratic world’s seemingly dogmatic belief in the causal relationship between political freedom and economic dynamism:

    Sitting astride this economic growth, and taking pride of place at this year’s WEF, was Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. In an event that boasted such political heavyweights as former British PM Gordon Brown, and private sector luminaries like the Ivorian boss of The Prudential, Tidjane Thiam, whose $600 billion worth of assets makes Ethiopia look like a minnow, I was surprised by how much Meles came out as the dominant figure. A fiercely intelligent man, with a grasp of figures redolent of Brown (whom Meles referred to as ‘Prime Minister’ throughout) he seemed totally in his element. Perhaps it was the nature of the audience. He was never going to have to field too many tricky questions about Ethiopia’s political space, (un)free press or tight government control over telecommunications and banking in front of a room full of CEOs and fellow technocrats.One senses that in certain crowds his statement that “there is no direct relationship between economic growth and democracy” would have got him in to trouble – important players were gnashing their teeth at this but Meles, kingpin of Western policy in the Horn of Africa, knows exactly how much he can loosen his Marxist instincts without upsetting his donors.

    The World Economic Forum was one of Zenawi’s last public appearances. Even if he survives his illness, there is currently no public timetable for his return to Addis Ababa. As dictators across North Africa and the Middle East can no longer take their survival for granted, it’s worth wondering whether Zenawi will be the model for the next generation of enlightened, western-coddled autocrats — or one of the last of a literally dying breed. TIME WILL TELL!
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  2. yaredb1 on

    Highly expected, the TPLF meeting was adjourned without any progress and instead brought more frustration and anxiety within party loyalist.
    They have finally made it clear that Meles is an undisclosed location and no longer the party leader nor the Prime Minister of the Countery.
    TPLF has also reminded the party members at the meeting that the day to day matter of the countery is being taken care of by the party leaders as usual,and expecting you to stand ferm with TPLF.

    In regards to DPM, he was picked by TPLF and appointed by Meles; therfore, they assured him his post post before he went to China.

    Stay tuned there’s more to come.

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