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Author: addisstandard


Semahagh Gashu Abebe (PhD)

The Ethiopian regime and supports are commemorating the second year anniversary of the passing away of the late Meles Zenawi.  Although the late Meles was  responsible for making Ethiopia a landlocked country and masterminded a repressive ideology that has made the Ethiopian political discourse divisive and unpredictable, his sudden departure had gripped the nation causing credible concern including to his detractors. This is mainly due to the fact that the country has not departed from its totalitarian past and political power has never been institutionalized in the country’s long history. In the past, Ethiopian emperors had absolute legislative, judicial, and executive power. Though the 1974 revolution had terminated the legitimacy of imperial rule, the autocratic form of governance that grants absolute power to head of the state has not been altered. The trends of worshiping the ‘legacies’ of the late Meles Zenawi is partly due to the continuity of the repressive culture. However, the level of adulation extended to the late leader is unprecedented and transformed into a dangerous precedent. 


Arguably, Ethiopia’s nation building course is far from over. Many agree it is in fact far from being on the right track. But inarguably Ethiopia is a state – a state that has its own constitution with a clearly marked distinction between the executive, the judiciary and the legislative; a state that is playing international and regional roles of its own creed and capacity; a state that is signatory to numerous international conventions ranging from protecting individual liberty to its environment.

But if one goes by the country’s recent crackdown against journalists, bloggers, opposition party members and Muslim protestors, it is compellingly easy (and tempting) to question whether the country’s security apparatus is acting as if this is a failed state and getting along with it.