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Archive for June 28th, 2009

Zenawi hinting departure?

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After 18 years at the helm of Ethiopia and increasingly autocratic tendicies over these years, President Meles Zenawi may be leaving office. This is what a piece from AllAfrica suggests.

A leader in the struggle against dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam in the 1980s and 1990s, Zenawi ushered in a new era of multi-party elections in Ethiopia. He is rightfully commended for this. In recent years, Ethiopias has also produced one of the region’s highest economic growth rates.

The most controvertial of his three electoral victories came in 2005, when fraud and vote-rigging were rather evident. This election saw a significant amount of vioilence in its aftermath.

Heavily spported by the USA and Britain, it is hard to disentangle the straegic relations of these coutries with Ethiopia vis-a-vis Somalia and the increasingly tight grip of Zenawi and the EPRDF over Ethiopian politics, media and society.

A recent op-ed by David Dage for Project Syndicate, calling for more press freedom in Ethiopia, mentioned the following quote from a journalist:

“There is only fear, not freedom, of expression in Ethiopia.”

If true, Zenawi’s announcement of stepping down would be huge news. Should I believe it? Why isn’t this story getting more international press?


Written by Niall

June 28, 2009 at 6:10 pm

Posted in Africa, Ethiopia