Tag Archives: Authoritarianism

Pandemic is blessing for Abiy but curse for Ethiopian democracy

3 Jun

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

by Mebratu Kelecha

Prime Minister should not use the coronavirus crisis to consolidate power @Ethiopia Insight

Democracy has been the driving force of political movements in Ethiopia since the 1960s, but its protagonists have, all-too-often, indulged in violence and bloodshed. The political forces that emerged from the Ethiopian student movement of the 1960s and 1970s, such as the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party and the All-Ethiopia Socialist Movement (MEISON) called for democracy but engaged in mutual assassination in its name before the military regime decimated both parties.

The military regime also claimed to have pursuing “socialist democracy” in a later period of its rule. The TPLF-engineered EPRDF regime which came to power in 1991 introduced “electoral democracy,” but remained a minority ethnic dictatorship, expelling potential rivals and regularly accusing  any critics and opposition parties of being anti-democratic.

In the end, the TPLF was confronted with Frankenstein moment, as resurgent groups within the ruling coalition it has created in the 1990s captured the centre and caused the creator’s trouble, aided by street protests that helped propel Abiy Ahmed to power. Political differences among those claiming to be fighting for democracy, both in and out of elections, frequently, almost normally, embraced violence rather than votes, reinforcing what they claimed to be irreconcilable differences between good and evil. Demonization, harassment, imprisonment, torture, and physical elimination have continued as major mechanisms to resolve differences. Hence, the struggle for it has done little to develop or maintain the reality of democracy since a democratically elected government remains the deprioritized goal of political leaders.

When Abiy took office in April 2018 he promised to build a democratic Ethiopian state, and his early reforms were promising, though the political transition he launched, while largely nonviolent in origin, involved  hostile  rhetoric against the TPLF.  From the outset, Abiy faced significant challenge of governing and implementing changes in conditions of continuing instability, testing his capacity, and his intent, to govern effectively and carry out democratic reforms simultaneously. A successful response required significant mobilization of support needed to consolidate the achievements of his early reforms to guarantee a successful transition. The country’s recent experience of nonviolent resistance, which brought Abiy to power, has made it clear that repression is no longer an option as it will not create a submissive population, and any return to dictatorship can only intensify protests.

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Ethiopia’s postponed elections: Governing the interrregnum

14 Apr

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

by Adem Kassie Abebe

Addis Abeba, April 14/2020 – The COVID-19 Pandemic has its first electoral casualty in Africa after Ethiopia announced the indefinite postponement of preparations for general elections for members of the House of Peoples’ Representatives (parliament) and Regional Legislative Councils, originally slotted for 29 August 2020.

Ethiopia’s 2020 elections are expected to be the most free, fair and competitive since the ill-fated 2005 elections, which ended with a post-election violence, the detention or exile of opposition leaders and journalists, and overall cementing of authoritarianism.

There is hope, but also anxiety that the 2020 elections may similarly herald in a combination of authoritarianism and worsening of lawlessness and instability.

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Ethiopia: How popular uprising became the only option

7 Oct

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)
by Michael Mamo*

In theory, the Oromo and Amhara are well-represented by parties in government. But they have never been perceived to have either legitimacy or autonomy.

The government claims 52 people were killed in the Irreecha celebrations, but the opposition puts the figure much higher.

The government claims 52 people were killed in the Irreecha celebrations, but the opposition puts the figure much higher.

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Who is in control in Ethiopia? 

24 May

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)
by Leenco Lata*

Who is presently in control in Ethiopia? This is a strange question coming from a person who never minces his words when criticizing the EPRDF for installing an authoritarian order in Ethiopia, in which the top official is unquestionably in control. It is also strange to pose the question about a country where who is in control has never really been an issue at all. Emperor Haile Selassie, Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam and Meles Zenawi were fully in control in their day and in their distinct ways. Who is in control was never in doubt during the time of these previous rulers.
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Africa’s disgrace:                             With arms of steel and feet of clay, Museveni is in office for sixth term

17 May

Editor’s Note:

Many Africans cringe with shame. Yoweri Museveni has become Uganda’s president for a sixth time, since he seized power in 1986. He has become richer in office, while Ugandans on the reverse have become poorer.
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Case studies: Authoritarianism and the securitization of development in Africa – Chad, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda 

30 Jan

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin – The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

    “For those who hoped to see the strengthening of human rights in Africa, with increasing governmental accountability and transparency, and with more inclusive and participatory forms of politics, this [situation – African resistance, erosion of Western dominance and the securitization of development] would not be good news.”

    – Jonathan Fisher and David M. Anderson, Authoritarianism and the securitization of development in Africa

New hypotheses and fresh arguments have been coming for a long time now to explain what has been shaping the post-Cold War relations between Western donor states on one hand and aid recipient African states and – to an extent – Eastern European governments on the other.
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President Kiir risks deposition by inner circles, defectors warn

23 Nov

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

November 22, 2014 (Sudan Tribune) – A senior South Sudanese official who declared on Friday his defection to the rebel movement led by former vice-president, Riek Machar, has warned that president Salva Kiir risked being deposed by his inner circles unless he quickly moved to conclude a peace agreement with the opposition group.
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State of the world: Deep crisis of confidence afflicts democracies, elsewhere unease & sufferings

27 Jan

By JACK EWING, Davos World Economic Forum 2012
Special Coverage of the World Economic Forum, The New York Times

Protesters in Moscow and Cairo fill public squares to demand representative government. Yet, on the streets of Madrid and New York — or of Athens, which gave us the very word for democracy — discontent is almost as rampant.

The only consistent messages seem to be that leaders around the world are failing to deliver on their citizens’ expectations and that Facebook and Twitter allow crowds to coalesce in an instant to let them know it. This is not a comforting picture for the 40 heads of state or government who are attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, be they elected leaders like Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany or authoritarians like Meles Zenawi, the prime minister of Ethiopia.

Protesters in downtown Los Angeles last fall condemned inequality, corporate greed and budget cuts (Photo courtesy of Frederic J. Brown/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)

But wait, there’s more!

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