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Meles Zenawi

Meles Zenawi

Overview
Meles Zenawi Asres is the Prime Minister
Heads of government of Ethiopia
This page contains a list of the Prime Ministers of Ethiopia.-Heads of Government of Ethiopia :-Affiliations:-See also:*List of Emperors of Ethiopia...

 of Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

. Since 1985, he has been chairman of the Tigrayan Peoples' Liberation Front (TPLF), and is currently head of the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front
Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front
The Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front is the ruling political coalition in Ethiopia. It is an alliance of four other groups: the Oromo Peoples' Democratic Organization , the Amhara National Democratic Movement , the South Ethiopian Peoples' Democratic Front The Ethiopian People's...

 (EPRDF).

Meles was born in Adwa
Adwa
Adwa is a market town in northern Ethiopia, and best known as the community closest to the decisive Battle of Adowa fought in 1896 with Italian troops. Notably, Ethiopian soldiers won the battle, thus being the only African nation to thwart European colonialism...

, Tigray
Tigray Province
Tigray was a province of Ethiopia. The Tigray Region superseded the province with the adoption of the new constitution in 1995. The province of Tigre merged with its neighboring provinces, including Semien, Tembien, Agame and the prominent Enderta province and towards the end of 19th century it...

 in Northern Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

, to an Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

n father from Adwa, Ethiopia, and a mother from Adi Quala
Adi Quala
Adi Quala is a market town in Eritrea, lying south of Mendefera near the Ethiopian border, over 2,000m above sea level.-Overview:Adi Quala is known for its tukul church with its frescoes and its mausoleum for the Italian Army soldiers who died at the Battle of Adwa. The town has a population of...

, Eritrea. He graduated from the General Wingate high school in Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa is the capital city of Ethiopia...

, then studied medicine at Addis Ababa University
Addis Ababa University
Addis Ababa University is a university in Ethiopia. It was originally named "University College of Addis Ababa" at its founding, then renamed for the former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie I in 1962, receiving its current name in 1975.Although the university has six of its seven campuses within...

 (at the time known as Haile Selassie University) for two years before interrupting his studies in 1975 to join the TPLF.
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Encyclopedia
Meles Zenawi Asres is the Prime Minister
Heads of government of Ethiopia
This page contains a list of the Prime Ministers of Ethiopia.-Heads of Government of Ethiopia :-Affiliations:-See also:*List of Emperors of Ethiopia...

 of Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

. Since 1985, he has been chairman of the Tigrayan Peoples' Liberation Front (TPLF), and is currently head of the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front
Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front
The Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front is the ruling political coalition in Ethiopia. It is an alliance of four other groups: the Oromo Peoples' Democratic Organization , the Amhara National Democratic Movement , the South Ethiopian Peoples' Democratic Front The Ethiopian People's...

 (EPRDF).

Meles was born in Adwa
Adwa
Adwa is a market town in northern Ethiopia, and best known as the community closest to the decisive Battle of Adowa fought in 1896 with Italian troops. Notably, Ethiopian soldiers won the battle, thus being the only African nation to thwart European colonialism...

, Tigray
Tigray Province
Tigray was a province of Ethiopia. The Tigray Region superseded the province with the adoption of the new constitution in 1995. The province of Tigre merged with its neighboring provinces, including Semien, Tembien, Agame and the prominent Enderta province and towards the end of 19th century it...

 in Northern Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

, to an Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

n father from Adwa, Ethiopia, and a mother from Adi Quala
Adi Quala
Adi Quala is a market town in Eritrea, lying south of Mendefera near the Ethiopian border, over 2,000m above sea level.-Overview:Adi Quala is known for its tukul church with its frescoes and its mausoleum for the Italian Army soldiers who died at the Battle of Adwa. The town has a population of...

, Eritrea. He graduated from the General Wingate high school in Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa is the capital city of Ethiopia...

, then studied medicine at Addis Ababa University
Addis Ababa University
Addis Ababa University is a university in Ethiopia. It was originally named "University College of Addis Ababa" at its founding, then renamed for the former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie I in 1962, receiving its current name in 1975.Although the university has six of its seven campuses within...

 (at the time known as Haile Selassie University) for two years before interrupting his studies in 1975 to join the TPLF. While a member of the TPLF, he founded the Marxist-Leninist League of Tigray
Marxist-Leninist League of Tigray
The Marxist-Leninist League of Tigray was a semi-clandestine Hoxhaist Communist party that held a leading role in the Tigrayan Peoples' Liberation Front in the 1980s...

. His first name at birth was "Legesse" (thus Legesse Zenawi Ge'ez
Ge'ez alphabet
Ge'ez , also called Ethiopic, is a script used as an abugida for several languages of Ethiopia and Eritrea but originated in an abjad used to write Ge'ez, now the liturgical language of the Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Church...

: ለገሰ ዜናዊ legesse zēnāwī) but he is better known by his nom de guerre Meles. He later changed his first name to "Meles" in honor of a University student and a revolutionary radical who was executed by the previous government in 1975.

The TPLF was one of many armed groups struggling against the dictator, Lieutenant Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam. Zenawi was elected Leader of the Leadership Committee in 1979 and Leader of the Executive Committee in 1983. He has been the chairperson of both the TPLF and the EPRDF since the EPRDF assumed power at the end of the Ethiopian Civil War
Ethiopian Civil War
The Ethiopian Civil War began on September 12, 1974 when the Marxist Derg staged a coup d'état against Emperor Haile Selassie, and lasted until the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front , a coalition of rebel groups, overthrew the government in 1991. The war overlapped other Cold War...

. He was president of the Transitional Government of Ethiopia
Transitional Government of Ethiopia
The Transitional government of Ethiopia was established immediately after the fall of the Dergue regime. It was led by Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia. Zenawi remains the prime minister of Ethiopia to this day....

 (TGE), during which Eritrea seceded from the country and the experiment of ethnic federalism started.

Education and Personal life


Meles Zenawi acquired an MBA (Master of Business Administration) from the Open University
Open University
The Open University is a distance learning and research university founded by Royal Charter in the United Kingdom...

 of the United Kingdom in 1995 and an MSc. (Masters of Science) in Economics from the Erasmus University
Erasmus University
Erasmus University Rotterdam is a university in the Netherlands, located in Rotterdam. The university is named after Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus, a 15th century humanist and theologian...

 of the Netherlands in 2004. Some University professors and renowned college administrators stated that Meles Zenawi was a very smart and gifted student. At a public Speech in George Washington University, vice chancellor of Open University said, "President Meles Zenawi was a brilliant student who achieved distinctions on every course he took." In July 2002, Meles has also received an honorary doctoral degree in political science from the Hannam University in South Korea.

Meles Zenawi is married to Azeb Mesfin
Azeb Mesfin
Azeb Mesfin is an Ethiopian women's right activist, businesswoman, member of parliament, and a political spouse. She is also the vice-president of Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS and founder and patron of Ethiopia's National Initiative for Mental Health...

 and is the father of three children. Azeb Mesfin is now the chair of the Social Affairs Standing Committee of Parliament, and in January 2007, she was given the "Legacy of a Dream" award for her leadership against HIV/Aids during a ceremony held in memory of America's civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King. In addition, Azeb Mesfin and various government agencies have addressed Child mortality issues in Ethiopia. According to UNICEF, Child mortality rate in Ethiopia has declined by 40% since the current ruling party took office.

Prime Minister of Ethiopia



Meles Zenawi thinks EPRDF's victory is a triumph for the thousands of TPLF-fighters who were killed, for the millions of Ethiopians who were victims of the country's biggest famine during the Derg regime when some estimates put up to 1.5 million deaths of Ethiopians from famine and the Red Terror
Red Terror (Ethiopia)
The Ethiopian Red Terror, or Qey Shibir , was a violent political campaign in Ethiopia that most visibly took place once Communist Mengistu Haile Mariam achieved control of the Derg, the military junta, 3 February 1977...

. Accordingly, the big support it received from peasants and rural areas helped EPRDF maintain peace and stability. Foreign support was diverse; the Arab League, as well as Western nations, supported the EPRDF rebels against the communist Moscow-supported government (although the TPLF was at the time Marxist
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

) at the height of the Cold War.

"What the implications of this will be in terms of relations between Ethiopia and the European Union, we will have to wait and see but I don't think you will be surprised if Ethiopia were to insist that it should not be patronised.”

There were some who thought that the United States helped the EPRDF rebels to get power in Ethiopia and many angry demonstrators in Addis Ababa protested against Herman Cohen
Herman Jay Cohen
Herman Jay "Hank" Cohen served as the United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 1989 to 1993. His lobbying firm, Cohen and Woods International, has represented the governments of Angola and Zimbabwe...

, the U.S. State Department's chief of African affairs who attended a conference that demonstrators viewed as legitimizing the EPRDF. A New York Times editorial commented in 1991,
Demonstrators cursing the Americans ignore two realities. The cold war is over in Africa, and Ethiopia is no longer a focus of superpower rivalry. Otherwise it would have been unthinkable for four contending Marxist groups to turn to Washington for help. The other reality is that Mr. Cohen cannot undo at the conference table what has happened on the battlefield


Even though EPRDF's success was welcomed as a relief from DERG there was a strong anti-EPRDF sentiment in many areas and were strongly visible in Addis Ababa. These were just the beginning of the opposition to Meles Zenawi's EPRDF party after it gained power and more strong opposition was followed. Addis Ababa has since been the center of peaceful opposition to the EPRDF, while the eastern Somali Region
Somali Region
Somali Region ; is the eastern-most of the nine ethnic divisions of Ethiopia. It is often called Somalia, though it is not to be confused with the independent country of the same name. The capital of Somali State is Jijiga...

 has been the most active region for armed opposition.

Following the defeat and exile of Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1991, the July Convention of Nationalities was held. It was the first Ethiopian multinational convention where delegates of various nations and organizations were given fair and equal representation and observed by various international organizations including the United Nations, Organization for African Unity, European Economic Community
European Economic Community
The European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) The European Economic Community (EEC) (also known as the Common Market in the English-speaking world, renamed the European Community (EC) in 1993The information in this article primarily covers the EEC's time as an independent...

, and the United States and the United Kingdom.

Of the 24 groups, the ones with the largest delegations at the Convention were the EPRDF (32), the Oromo Liberation Front
Oromo Liberation Front
The Oromo Liberation Front , or OLF, is an organization established in 1973 by Oromo nationalists to promote self-determination for the Oromo people against what they call "Abyssinian colonial rule". It has been outlawed and labeled as a terrorist organization by the Ethiopian government...

 (12), Afar Liberation Front
Afar Liberation Front
The Afar Liberation Front is a political party in Ethiopia, commonly considered to be the most important organization dedicated to promoting the interests of the Afar people...

 (3), the Islamic Front for the Liberation of Oromia
Islamic Front for the Liberation of Oromia
The Islamic Front for Liberation of Oromia was an Oromo based polito-military organization founded in 1985 by Commander in Chief Sheikh Abdulkarim Ibrahim Hamid otherwise known as Jaarra Abbaa Gadaa....

 (3), and the Western Somali Liberation Front
Western Somali Liberation Front
The Western Somali Liberation Front was a separatist rebel group fighting in eastern Ethiopia to create an independent state. It played a major role in the Ogaden War of 1977-78 assisting the invading Somali Army...

 (3). Near the end of the year, Meles Zenawi became the President of the TGE, and following the first elections in 1995
Ethiopian general election, 1995
General elections were held in Ethiopia on 7 and 18 May 1995 for seats in its Council of People's Representatives; elections in the Afar, Somali, and Harari Regions were delayed until 28 June to assign experienced personnel who could solve possible conflicts and irregularities...

 1995 Meles was elected as Prime Minister and Dr. Negasso Gidada
Negasso Gidada
Dr. Negasso Gidada Solon was the President of Ethiopia from 1995 until 2001. He is the son of Gidada Solon, one of the first local ministers of the Protestant church in the Dembidolo area in western Ethiopia.Dr...

 as President. International Election Observers concluded that had opposition parties contested, they could have won seats.

In the 2000 general elections
Ethiopian general election, 2000
Ethiopia held general elections on 14 May and 31 August 2000, for seats in both its national and in several Regional government councils. although several opposition parties boycotted the election, 17 parties including the All-Amhara People's Organization, the Southern Ethiopia Peoples' Democratic...

, Meles was again elected Prime Minister, and his ruling EPRDF party shared parliament seats with the opposition party United Ethiopian Democratic Forces
United Ethiopian Democratic Forces
The United Ethiopian Democratic Forces is a coalition of several existing political parties of Ethiopia which combined to compete for seats in the Ethiopian General Elections held on May 15, 2005....

 (UEDF). According to observers organized by Ethiopian Human Rights Council, local U.N. staff, diplomatic missions, political parties, and domestic non-governmental organizations, both the general and the regional elections that year were generally free and fair in most areas; however, serious election irregularities occurred in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Region (SNNPR), particularly in the Hadiya Zone
Hadiya Zone
Hadiya is a Zone in the Ethiopian Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region . This zone is named after the Hadiya of the Hadiya kingdom, whose homeland covers part of the administrative division...

.

Meles encountered first real challenge in 2005 elections. His party was declared winner and stayed on his prime minister seat for another term, although the major opposition groups (the Coalition for Unity and Democracy
Coalition for Unity and Democracy
The Coalition for Unity and Democracy is a coalition of four existing political parties of Ethiopia which combined to compete for seats in the Ethiopian General Elections held on May 15, 2005. Its leader is Dr...

, UEDF, and the Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement
Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement
The Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement is a political party in Ethiopia, created to further the interests of the Oromo people.At the last legislative elections, on 15 May 2005, the party won 11 seats, all from the Oromia Region. The party Whip is Mesfin Nemera Deriesa from the Mirab Welega Zone...

) gained a number of seats in the national parliament. More than 30 other political parties participated in the election. These elections have been the most contested and the most controversial in Ethiopia's short democratic history, with some opposition parties arguing that the election was stolen by the ruling party. Allegations of fraud were especially strong in the rural areas, as the opposition parties won in most urban areas, whereas the EPRDF won mostly in rural districts.

Although the aftermath of the election led to riots and demonstrations against the results, particularly in the capital, it had to be stopped by peace officers. Some opposition parties blamed the government for the violence, even though they were tried and convicted in the court of the countries law. At the end of the demonstration, with the seven police officers 193 citizens were killed and 763 civilians wounded. Tens of thousands of Ethiopians were also jailed. Many protesters and around 75 police officers were also injured. This led to many rounds of accusations between the government and the protesters where the Information Minister Berhan Hailu said the government was "sorry and sad", but blamed the violence on the CUD. The opposition parties have continuously accused the government of a massacre. EU election observers concluded the election failed to meet international standards for a free and fair elections while the Carter Center concluded the election was fair but with many irregularities and a lot of intimidation by both sides especially the government. Carter Center didn't publish its final report at the time. Meanwhile CUD opposition members continued to accuse the ruling party of fraud. However some accusations of fraud coming from opposition parties were very strange. For instance, a day before the final count of votes in Addis Ababa, the CUD opposition party accused the ruling party of fraud and decided not to accept the result in Addis Ababa. But it ended up that the CUD party was actually refusing its own victory, since the vote count showed that the CUD won 100% of the votes in Addis Ababa. According to critics, this strange event led to speculations that the main opposition party, CUD, had already planned not to accept the result no matter what, in order to paint a bad image of Meles's ruling party, the elections and gain the support of the international community for the predestined failure of the election.

In an interview, the United States AID director repeated that the Carter Center understands that the ruling party (EPRDF) won the election and most of his peers confirm that as well. The USAID director also blamed some EU observers, accused them of bias and blamed them for favoring the opposition. He said some European observers practiced out of their jobs and went "over board in encouraging the opposition and making them think that somehow they had won the election." He concluded that American government never believed the opposition won the election.

Also an inquiry on the violence claimed the property damage caused by the rioters and protesters in Addis Ababa and other cities totaled to 4.45 million Ethiopian Birr
Ethiopian birr
The birr is the unit of currency in Ethiopia. Before 1976, dollar was the official English translation of birr. Today, it is officially birr in English as well....

, including 190 damaged buses and 44 cars as police officers tried to restrain the rioters. The SBS journalist, Olivia Rousset, indicated that the government used too much force to calm the rioters. She also said that the "stone-throwing rioters" tried to take the guns from the security forces. Some EU observers have also shown their discontent at the post election violence, suggested that the police response was unproportional and blamed the government. In a rare response, Meles Zenawi said that he was disappointed that "some people have misunderstood the nature of the problem and misinterpreted it." And on the final report, the independent commission concluded that the aggressive steps taken by the police force was to "avoid large scale violence and to protect the constitution" and that the reason behind the riotings might have been the protestors' unfamiliarity with the "process of democratization
Democratization
Democratization is the transition to a more democratic political regime. It may be the transition from an authoritarian regime to a full democracy, a transition from an authoritarian political system to a semi-democracy or transition from a semi-authoritarian political system to a democratic...

" e.g., respecting election results. However, the commission also acknowledged that there were serious errors that needed to be addressed regarding the capabilities of the Ethiopian Security forces to control riots. However, three members of the Inquiry Commission have defected and given their testimonies to members of the U.S. Congress and the International Media. The former Supreme Court Judge of the Southern Ethiopian nations and nationalities, Judge Frehiwot Samuel, who was also Chairman of the Inquiry Commission, and his Deputy, Judge Wolde-Michael Meshesha, have fled Ethiopia with a video and final report of the Commission’s findings that shows the commission deciding through eight to two vote, that the government has used excessive force and that there were grave human rights violations. Some leaders including UK's Tony Blair condemned the violence but repeated that Meles's ruling party "won the election." Other European organizations also praised the elections saying it was a "free and fair multi-party election." So far, most of the US representatives have not changed their outlook and the US government supports the Ethiopian government in both military and aid assistance. Other analysts also described progress in Ethiopia's first multi-party parliament in history.

Meanwhile many international media outlets continued to display the post election bloodshed, followed by criticism of Meles's ruling party. At the same time, some people implied that opposition members were planning to use violence or provoke it as a means to gain power. In fact, various events were said to show that many opposition supporters, even in universities, try to provoke the police hoping that the security forces will overreact and create chaos. About the violence U.S. state department reports said some opposition supporters were engaged in a peaceful movement to "create greater democratic space" but some opposition supporters were "demonstrating to overthrow the government" and were engaged in "violent protests." Other reaction to the election issue was condemnation of the EU election observers. An Irish committee said "the situation in Ethiopia had not been helped by inaccurate leaks from the EU election monitoring body which led the opposition to wrongly believe they had been cheated of victory."

In early 2004 Meles Zenawi received medical treatment in the UK for an unspecified condition. Flanked by numerous UK Police officers and diplomatic protection officers he was observed at the Parkside Hospital in southwest London, a private hospital staffed by numerous specialist consultants.

Economic structure


Ethiopian economy is based on agriculture which is accounted about 45% of GDP and 85 % of employment. Agricultural commodities also dominate export sector mainly coffee, qat, and hides and skins.

After Meles Zenawi government controlled power, major new players in Ethiopian economy have been "endowment companies" as called by the ruling party while commonly called as party companies. EFFORT, the biggest of all, is a conglomerate which is owned by Meles Zenawi's party-TPLF. Some criticize this as, the previous "government parastatals" during DERG regime are replaced by "party parastatals". In recent developments, Bloomberg reported that Guna Trading, owned by EFFORT, plans to become one of biggest coffee exporters.

Land and agriculture


Ethiopian agriculture is predominantly rain-fed subsistence agriculture, troubled by recurrent droughts. After Meles came to power in 1991, there were three major droughts in 1999/2000, 2002/2003 and 2009/2010.

The most significant reform regarding land use
Land reform in Ethiopia
The problem of Land reform in Ethiopia has hampered that country's economic development throughout the late 19th and 20th centuries. Attempts to modernize land ownership by giving title either to the peasants who till the soil, or to large-scale farming programs, have been tried under imperial...

 after Meles took power was the dissolution of the collective farms and redistribution of land at local levels. The demand for land ownership, expressed in the slogan "Land to the tiller," was central in toppling the feudal monarchy. The demand, however, was not fully answered. The new constitution, in Article 40, section 3, states that, "The right to own rural and urban land as well as natural resources belongs only to the state and the people". The farmers have land use rights, but uncertain transfer rights. Starting in 2008, this land policy was set back after the government announced that it would begin leasing large areas of "empty" farm lands to foreign investors. Derided internationally as "land grabs," these operations threaten some smallholders with the loss of their plots. Reporting on this issue, the New York Times quoting an expert, wrote that, "One thing that is very clear, that seems to have escaped the attention of most investors, is that this is not simply empty land"

The government defends its land policy, given the common occurrences of natural disasters such as drought or bad weather. The argument is that had farmers been allowed to own land, they might have been forced but to sell it during drought. To prevent this, the EPRDF government believes land ownership should not be privatized. Accordingly, the government states that it should focus on its agriculture sector while it is developing its industrial sector simultaneously, so that it can balance everything once the other sectors are developed and increase productivity. Government transformation of the construction sector, for example, led to a rare construction boom from the early 2000s until cement and other shortages caused it to slow down. The government believes privatization should be employed in the future but not presently. Knowing that constitutional change is required to privatize lands, the government assumed that it would hold a long-term super majority in parliament, to enable it to make the transition.

Since this approach to land ownership is unconventional (especially to western nations), and very controversial, opposition political parties have used this to their advantage during elections, arguing that land ownership has to be privatized. Yet the government seems unfaltering and states that flexibility is needed to address the lack of industrial development in the country despite accusations from the opposition.

Multi-party system


Meles Zenawi is the first leader in Ethiopia to develop a multi-party system (including an Opposition) in parliament. Though the country had its first national elections in 1995, a multi-party representative government was established in 2005, after the election of some candidates of the UEDF opposition party. Outspoken critics of the CUD, included not only the top UEDF leaders, Dr. Merera Gudina and Dr. Beyene Petros, but also Bulcha Demeksa
Bulcha Demeksa
Bulcha Demeksa is an outspoken Ethiopian politician and businessman, and founded one of the largest opposition parties in that country, the Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement. In 1967 he was appointed vice-minister of Finance before representing his country at the board of the World Bank...

, Lidetu Ayalew
Lidetu Ayalew
Lidetu Ayalew is an Ethiopian politician and the President of the opposition United Ethiopian Democratic Party-Medhin Party . He was born in the historical town of Lasta, Lalibela, Ethiopia - also known as Bugna woreda.- Life :Lidetu came from a modest background, working in NGOs but later to...

, Hailu Shawel, Birtukan Mideksa
Birtukan Mideksa
Birtukan Mideksa is an Ethiopian politician and former judge. She is the leader of the opposition Unity for Democracy and Justice party. The English equivalent of Birtukan is "orange."-Early life:...

, Temesgen Zewdie and Hailu Araya. Birtukan Mideksa was imprisoned at the start of 2009. Most opposition politicians are known for openly displaying deep anger for the ruling party's semblance of democracy, with some labeling Meles as a "dictator" and others calling for his resignation. After the disputed 2005 national elections, opposition party members, led by the CUD, UEDP-Medhin, UEDF and Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement
Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement
The Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement is a political party in Ethiopia, created to further the interests of the Oromo people.At the last legislative elections, on 15 May 2005, the party won 11 seats, all from the Oromia Region. The party Whip is Mesfin Nemera Deriesa from the Mirab Welega Zone...

 (OFDM), fill almost one third of the Ethiopian parliament seats. Despite the fact that the Ethiopian constitution dictates a multi-party system, Meles Zenawi's full control of the military forces has promoted the reality of the single-party state.

Ethnic federalism


The Meles Zenawi government created an ethnic-based federalism, which came under attack by some Ethiopians. Meles Zenawi's TPLF-party believed that there was no choice—this was the only solution to the century old oppression by centralist governments, and to domination of culture, language, politics and economy by one ethnic group, namely the Amhara
Amhara people
Amhara are a highland people inhabiting the Northwestern highlands of Ethiopia. Numbering about 19.8 million people, they comprise 26% of the country's population, according to the 2007 national census...

. On the other hand, some parties like the OLF (Oromo Liberation Front), which was a partner in drafting the constitution, put blame on Amhara and Tigrayan domination of the country. The aim of the government policy was to empower all ethnicities and develop their cultures and languages. Also it was widely seen as a solution to the demand of governance preferred by the ethnic-based liberation fronts and parties participating in the July Convention of Nationalities in 1991. In response to critics who say ethnic federalism can bring divisions, Meles Zenawi said this policy serves many interests, including equitable distribution of wealth and empowerment of ethnicities. He also said that since this was how the nationalities were before colonization, ethnicity was the language they understood best. He said the "ethnic basis of Ethiopia's democracy stemmed from the government's fight against poverty and the need for an equitable distribution of the nation's wealth: peasants must be enabled to make their own decisions in terms of their own culture. Power must be devolved to them in ways that they understand, and they understand ethnicity.... Other approaches to development had been hegemonic and exploitative and had led to internecine strife and civil war."

Meles Zenawi claimed that there are two basic views about ethnic federalism: "if you think it is a threat, it will be; if you think it a benefit, then it will be." Making this statement, he concludes that "ethnicity will become less an issue as the economy grows and Ethiopia's process of assimilation does its job."
Opposition to ethnic federalism

Meles Zenawi's policy of Ethnic federalism has been attacked by two groups of opposition parties. Pan-Ethiopian opposition parties like AEUP, UEDP-medhin and Andenet accuse Meles Zenawi for harming the stability and unity of Ethiopia by dividing the country on language lines. They express their fear for the future unity of the country pointing out rise in ethnic conflicts after ethnic federalism policy introduced. Where as in the past it was Ethiopia's economic marginalization of groups or ethnics as causes of warfare in the country as experts indicated.

On the other hand, ethnic-based opposition parties like the OFDM, Oromo National Congress (renamed OPC) as well as armed groups like the Oromo Liberation Front
Oromo Liberation Front
The Oromo Liberation Front , or OLF, is an organization established in 1973 by Oromo nationalists to promote self-determination for the Oromo people against what they call "Abyssinian colonial rule". It has been outlawed and labeled as a terrorist organization by the Ethiopian government...

 (OLF) and Ogaden National Liberation Front
Ogaden National Liberation Front
The Ogaden National Liberation Front , is a separatist rebel group fighting to make the region of Ogaden in eastern Ethiopia an independent state...

 (ONLF) accuse Meles Zenawi's government that the powers given to the regions by the constitution are only on paper. Recently Dr Merara Gudina (from ONC) said " The only thing EPRDF’s federalism has achieved is that it helped the party hold tight grip on the people through divide-and-rule system"

Most of the oppositions on both sides want to change the existing ethnic-federal system if they control power. Those who reject ethnic federalism proposes that administrative regions should be carved out on consideration of more factors than language alone. On the other hand, armed groups who favor ethnic federalism want to apply Article 39 and declare full independence for their own ethnic regions like Eritrea did in 1993.

It is important to underline oppositions from both sides which are legally registered, and participated in the disputed 2005 election, won considerable seats.

Equity and growth


Throughout its operation, the government and the Prime Minister have advocated "pro-poor" domestic policies. According to World Bank's East African leadership, the Ethiopian government ranks number one in Africa on spending as a share of GDP going to Pro-poor sectors.

The administration has also created self-governing regional development organizations like Amhara Development Association, Tigray Development Association, Oromia Development Association and many others.

Even though Meles Zenawi's administration inherited one of the worst, if not the lowest, economies in the world, the country's economy has been growing steadily since he took office. During the last three years, Ethiopia's GDP has shown a rate of growth of about 9 percent a year. The country was also in the top category for “policies of social inclusion and equity”, in the domain of “economic management” and Ethiopia did exceptionally well in the domain of “structural policies” and “public sector management and institutions. Gross primary enrollment rates, a standard indicator of investment in the poor, went up to 93 percent in 2004 from 72 percent in 1990, contributing to a rise in literacy rates from 50 percent in 1997 to 65 percent in 2002. Still some opposition parties in the Ethiopian parliament doubted the economic growth. During the House's 31st regular session where the parliament reserved for its monthly "Opposition Day," some opposition MPs condemned the ruling party, pointing to double-digit inflation as a sign of the government's economic failures. African Development Bank and the Paris-based OECD Development Center stated that Ethiopia has become one of the fastest growing countries in Africa.

Water


One of the most important resource of the country, water (Nile), has also been the focus of Meles's administration. Due to the potential conflict that can occur between Egypt and Ethiopia, Meles's EPRDF-led government have chosen to initiate and support programs that would benefit all sides of the Nile. So far many small scale Dams have been constructed in Ethiopia but large dams have been rare because of financial capabilities. Two of the big projects include the Tekeze hydro-electric power project in Tigray and the largest hydroelectric plant in Ethiopia located in Achefer Woreda of the Amhara State Yet the building of the Tekeze power project has dominated the media since it was built in the Tigray region, the home state of Meles. The country is planning to export electricity to Sudan and Djibouti by 2010.

Freedom of religion


Even though Muslims
Islam in Ethiopia
According to the latest 2007 national census, Islam is the second most widely practised religion in Ethiopia after Christianity, with over 25 million of Ethiopians adhering to Islam according to the 2007 national census, having arrived in Ethiopia in 615...

 and Orthodox Christians lived together for many centuries, complete religious freedom was only formalized in 1991. Many of the pre-existing issues—dominance of the state religion to 1974, seizure of the church properties by the Mengistu regime, 1974–91, state-sponsored persecution of non-Orthodox Christians, second-class citizenship accorded to Ethiopian Muslims, landownership problems and similar issues for non-Orthodox believers—have subsided for the most part. Currently, there are between 12 and 15 million Protestant Christians
P'ent'ay
P'ent'ay or Pentay is a slang term widely used in modern Ethiopia, and among Ethiopians living abroad, to describe Ethiopian Christians who are not members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo, Ethiopian Orthodox Tehadeso, Roman Catholic or Ethiopian Catholic churches...

, as well as other new non-Orthodox Christians. Even though there was one big religious war in Ethiopia many centuries ago, after that, clashes have been very rare with the domination of Orthodox. Some of the clashes are caused by inability to share lands equally. Others are due to aggressive evangelism and conversion, which some relate to Western vs Arab proxy politics. Still most analysts say that since such equality and full religious freedom didn't exist before, the infrequent clashes might occur until the culture of tolerance grows between all old and new religions and denominations.

Private property of means of communication


Meles Zenawi's administration was the first to introduce private press in Ethiopia. However, he has been under fire often for imprisonment of journalists and lately for some website censorship. Meles government defends its action on the ground that the banned media outlets advocated "a certain population should be quarantined" and incited "violence among different ethnic groups in the country," including using hate-filled text messages on mobile phones asking people to attack ethnic groups. Some sources blame certain websites and papers who have been caught inciting violence and asking for bombings on companies. A couple of them have even been sued for provoking uprising. Others claim that the supporters of the previous dictatorship government are trying to use the new opportunity to freely express themselves by defaming the current government officials. But the government critics say that the ruling party is not willing to be criticised. Many international organizations reports support their claim. The strong criticism came from Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on its 2007 press freedom summary wrote "Ethiopia the world's worst backslider on press freedom over the previous five years". At the start of 2010, AFP reported that an Ethiopian journalist has been jailed for a year for criticising the prime minister Meles Zenawi.

Because of pressure from the government, the number of private media outlets is significantly lower than before 2005. In addition, its composition is also changing. While previously most of the media were politically oriented following the government crackdowns on media after 2005 election, the number of political media is going down while entertainment and business media are on the rise. On the other hand for what is believed to be the first time in Ethiopia's history, the government granted licences to two domestic pro-government private commercial FM radio operators. As of 2009, there are over 56 radio stations in the country that are owned and operated by regional governments, community organisations, and private companies. The government has issued licenses for seven regional states television transmissions agencies, but there are still no private broadcasters in the country.

Language policy


Meles Zenawi's government introduced a diverse but controversial policy of decentralization of the language system in Ethiopia. Most Ethiopians are taught using their mother tongue in primary schools and they are encouraged to develop their own language. Some critics have said that this policy harms the unity and national identity of the country. While others have supported and praised the policy. Currently, many regional states have their own official state language. For instance, Afaan Oromo is the official language of the Oromia regional state while Amharic is still the official language in The State of Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples'.

Other


To bring order and transparency to the agricultural sector, the country started its first market exchange program and company called the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECEX.). In April 2008, the country finalized its first commodity exchange, The Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX), to "revolutionalize the country's backward and inefficient marketing system" according to Meles Zenawi.

Other than the dominant coffee industry, the government has made the floriculture industry another sector where Ethiopia can have comparative advantage. Thus Various Kenyan investors have already moved to Ethiopia and the industry seems to be growing rapidly. Flower growers from other countries were also said to be relocating to Ethiopia. Ethiopia recently became Africa’s second largest flower exporter after Kenya, with its export earnings growing by 500 per cent over the past year. According to the Oromia Investment Commission, foreign investors are taking advantage of the new favorable investment opportunity in the Sugar sector, where the most recent being a $7.5 Billion investment. Ethiopia also depends on livestock exports as well. Issues relating to wild life conservation has been tackled aggressively under Meles Zenawi. World Wildlife Fund also praised Ethiopian government's progress saying "Ethiopia has set a fine example for other countries to emulate,"

Other issues promoted by Meles Zenawi has been economic development in "green fashion." Discussing during an annual meeting under the Clinton Global Initiative in September 2007, Meles debated with Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

 and other world leaders about global warming and trade. According to Reuters
Reuters
Reuters is a news agency headquartered in New York City. Until 2008 the Reuters news agency formed part of a British independent company, Reuters Group plc, which was also a provider of financial market data...

,Meles stated the need for a cap and trade mechanism and for different strategies towards Africa, since it did not contribute as much towards global warming.

Some recent issues have been the shortage of cement to sustain the construction boom in the country. However foreign and native investors, including the recent investment on a US$5 billion cement factory in Misraq Gojjam Zone
Misraq Gojjam Zone
Misraq Gojjam is a Zone in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia. Misraq Gojjam is named after the former province of Gojjam.Misraq Gojjam is bordered on the south by the Oromia Region, on the west by Mirab Gojjam, on the north by Debub Gondar, and on the east by Debub Wollo; the bend of the Abay River...

 of the Amhara Region
Amhara Region
Amhara is one of the nine ethnic divisions of Ethiopia, containing the homeland of the Amhara people. Previously known as Region 3, its capital is Bahir Dar....

, are an attempt to stabilize the situation. Still the brief severe shortage that occurred in 2005 was blamed on Meles Zenawi's policies that were alleged to ignore urban development. Other recent development in the country included a first car factory in Ethiopia that assemble cars and to sell for local- and export-markets as well as cars that use Liquefied Petroleum Gas, Bus manufacturing in Mek'ele
Mek'ele
Mek'ele , also transliterated as Makale, is a city in northern Ethiopia and the capital of the Tigray Region. It is located some 650 kilometers north of the capital, Addis Ababa, at latitude and longitude with an elevation of 2084 meters above sea level...

 and Taxis manufacturing in Modjo
Modjo
Modjo was a French house/pop musical duo made up of producer Romain Tranchart and vocalist Yann Destagnol . It had major success with its hit single "Lady ".-Biography:...

 city, Oromia state. But the drastic development of most sectors in Ethiopia; including textiles, leather, garments, agriculture, beverages, construction and others have made Ethiopia to be labeled the "East African land of opportunity" by the World Investment News."

Some economists state that Ethiopia's economic growth has come at the expense of inflation. The World Bank under Ethiopia's country profile in 2010 mentioned the underlying inflation threat started in 2008 might continue. Despite the inflation and differences on the rate of economic growth reports among several international organizations, they continued to praise the economic growth. African Development Bank claimed that Ethiopia "is registering a remarkable economic growth in recent years." On top of that various social concerns exist and the Ethiopian section of VOA news on its Amharic language program has reported about problems facing farmers and growers who often get less profit due to the market exploitation of middlemen.

Ethnic federalism


The 1995 Constitution of Ethiopia
1995 Constitution of Ethiopia
The current Constitution of Ethiopia, which is the supreme law of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, was adopted by the Transitional Government of Ethiopia in December 1994 and came into force in August 1995. The constitution was drawn up by the Constituent Assembly elected in June of that year.The...

 allows substantial regional autonomy and any region has the right to secede from the country. This area of the constitution was originally amended by the current government to satisfy the interests of ethnic based states in Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

 especially Oromia and one of its historical leaders, OLF, as well as to give free will to TPLF and other liberation fronts in the country. After centuries of centralization, the TPLF-led government believes this policy will unite all Ethiopian states voluntarily instead of by force. This TPLF/EPRDF ideology of voluntary unity has been questioned as one of armed liberation forces succeeded in the secession of the former Ethiopian province, Eritrea, after a referendum
Referendum
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

 was held in 1993 before the Ethiopian constitution was adopted.

This policy of self-determination has been opposed by some political parties, particularly CUD, which wants to limit regional autonomy and outlaw the rights of states to secede. However, this CUD policy is casually opposed by the TPLF/EPRDF and largely against the interests of OLF and ONLF rebel groups.

School expansion


Since the 1990s Ethiopia has experienced more increase of schools and colleges despite still not covering all regions. Millions of money (ETB) continue to be spent on building educational institutions and many new schools have been constructed since Meles Zenawi took office. However, the government's focus on the agricultural sector has slowed the growth of jobs in the urban areas of Ethiopia which is also reflected by the anger of the urban population and its students as well as the landslide victory of opposition parties in these areas during the recent national election. The statistics showed that in 1991 only 27 percent of Ethiopian children attended school, but in 2004 gross enrollment rate was up to 77 percent and it reached 85 percent in November 2006.

, there were 13,500 elementary schools and 550 secondary schools. A majority of them are newly constructed and the secondary schools are connected by satellite in a new programme called School-Net.

More colleges and Universities have been constructed and/or expanded during the last few years than in whole history of Ethiopia. These colleges and Universities include Adama University
Adama University
Adama Science and Technology University is a university with branches in Adama city and a branch in Asella, and Debre Zeyit cities, Oromia Region, Ethiopia and also in Addis Ababa .- Overview :Established in September 1993, Adama...

 (Oromia) an expansion of Nazreth technical college, Jimma University
Jimma University
Jimma University is one of the top teaching universities in Ethiopia, and is located in Oromia Region, Jimma Zone. It offers programs and researches which lead toward degrees in different fields of studies. It was established in December 1999 with the amalgamation of the Jimma College of...

 (started earlier), Mekelle University
Mekelle University
Mekelle University is located in Northern Ethiopia , at a distance of 783 kilometers from the Ethiopian capital city, Addis Ababa...

 newly built under Meles, Debub University an expansion of Awassa college, Bahir Dar (Amhara state) University an expansion of poly-technic college and teacher's college and others. Also most of the older colleges have added various new departments, including Faculties of Law, Business etc. Other new growing colleges include Jijiga (Somali state) University, institutions in Debre Markos, Semera (Afar), Aksum, Tepi, Nekemte (Oromia), Kombolcha (Amhara State), Dire Dawa and in Debre Birhan. Wollega University in the Oromia state is the most recently finished university in Ethiopia with various modern facilities, with 20 new fields of study and the new Wolaita Soddo University started taking in students in February 2007. Including the new Axum University, 12 new universities are starting operation in 2007 Other fairly new universities like Dilla University in the Gedeo Zone SNNP region launched new facilities, expanded laboratories for research and initiated new post-graduate studies.

In the last decade, more than 30 new private colleges & universities have been created, including Unity college. The University Capacity Building Program (UCBP) is a leading project in this sector.

Women's rights


The TPLF has associated itself with gender equality since the days of armed conflict, when, in the northern states, Tigrean and some Amhara women soldiers fought together with men against the Derg
Derg
The Derg or Dergue was a Communist military junta that came to power in Ethiopia following the ousting of Haile Selassie I. Derg, which means "committee" or "council" in Ge'ez, is the short name of the Coordinating Committee of the Armed Forces, Police, and Territorial Army, a committee of...

 dictatorship. Meles Zenawi's administration, along with First Lady
First Lady
First Lady or First Gentlemanis the unofficial title used in some countries for the spouse of an elected head of state.It is not normally used to refer to the spouse or partner of a prime minister; the husband or wife of the British Prime Minister is usually informally referred to as prime...

 Azeb Mesfin
Azeb Mesfin
Azeb Mesfin is an Ethiopian women's right activist, businesswoman, member of parliament, and a political spouse. She is also the vice-president of Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS and founder and patron of Ethiopia's National Initiative for Mental Health...

, have strongly advocated for more equal rights and opportunities for women in Ethiopia. Despite the country having a rich history of respected queens and empresses, Meles inherited a national situation in which Ethiopian women did not have equality or basic rights. Since his administration began, there has been a steady growth of women's organizations, women activists and employment opportunities and a forum where women discuss backward cultural issues on national television. In their long fight against destructive traditional practices, HIV transmission, early marriage, lack of legal rights for women, unfair public policies, job opportunity and other issues, various organizations continue to work with the government including the Ethiopian Women’s Lawyers Association (EWLA), Network of Ethiopian Women's Associations, the Ethiopia Media Women’s Association (MWA), the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA), Women in Self Employment (WISE), the Ethiopian Medical Women's Association (EMWA), the Women’s Association of Tigray (WAT), the Kembatti Mentti Gezzima-tope (KMG), the Ethiopian Nurse Midwives Association(ENA) and others. The Ethiopian leadership has made significant advances to protect women's rights in recent years: it has its first Minister of Women's Affairs, and has overhauled legislation on rape, female genital mutilation and other offences.

Foreign policies



Egypt


Meles Zenawi, just like previous Ethiopian governments wants Ethiopia to have a larger share of the Nile River. In order to end its decade long dependency on foreign aid Ethiopia needs to develop its irrigation system. The country has already lost millions of people to poverty due to its inability to use the Nile water which 85% of its water runs through Ethiopia.

With the exception of Eritrea (through which the Nile doesn't stream), all East African nations have developed their economies enough to finance a greater use of the Nile River. However, due to the 1929 Blue Nile accords between Egypt and England as well as other agreements, Ethiopia is not allowed such use of its Nile river water. But in contrast to his predecessor, Meles Zenawi and his political party favors diplomatic solutions and accommodating ways to solve this stalemate since Egypt will also fall into poverty without the Nile resources.

Eritrea


Although Meles Zenawi and his administration claim they preferred a united but federal nation that included the Eritrean state, since Zenawi's TPLF fought together with EPLF, Zenawi originally left the decision of independence to the Eritrea
Eritrea
Eritrea , officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa. Eritrea derives it's name from the Greek word Erethria, meaning 'red land'. The capital is Asmara. It is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast...

n citizens. Also according to Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

magazine's 1991 analyzes, Zenawi and the TPLF: endorsed the right of the Eritreans to their referendum but wants a unified Ethiopia and so hoped that the vote, if held, goes against secession.

However after the EPLF secured their borders when Mengistu's regime fell and after the majority of Eritreans voted for independence on 24 May 1993, Isaias Afewerki
Isaias Afewerki
Isaias Afewerki is the first and current President of Eritrea, attaining that status when he led the Eritrean People's Liberation Front to victory in May 1991, thus ending the 30-year old armed liberation struggle that the Eritrean people refer to as "Gedli".-Early life and rise to power:Afewerki...

 Isaias became the leader of Eritrea after it seceded from Ethiopia. Many people in Meles Zenawi's Ethiopian government and the opposition parties were angry over the decision to grant Eritrea its independence in 1993.

But despite working together against the Derg regime, Meles and Issaias' positive relationship turned sour after Meles succumbed to US pressure to deliver elections within a year and Issaias abandoned his original promise to create a transitional government in the early 1990s. The Eritrean-Ethiopian War
Eritrean-Ethiopian War
The Eritrean–Ethiopian War took place from May 1998 to June 2000 between Ethiopia and Eritrea, forming one of the conflicts in the Horn of Africa...

 began in May 1998. After the Ethiopian breach of the western front and subsequent capture of parts of western Eritrea, the Ethiopian President Negaso Gidada gave a victory speech and a peace treaty was signed a few weeks later. According to the peace treaty Ethiopia then pulled out. The stance of the EPRDF-led Ethiopian government to pull out its troops and let go of Barentu and eastern Eritrea led to one of the many reasons for EPRDF's unpopularity in Ethiopian cities. However since the Ethiopian government accepted the border ruling "in principle" with 5-point condition, tensions between these two nations still exist.

Somalia


Meles Zenawi and his government have a strong relationship with the internationally recognized Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia. Two of the main points of agreement are state borders and secular values.

Both the TFG and Ethiopia respect the current Ethiopia-Somalia border while the ICU rejects it and considers the Ogaden region part of “Greater Somalia.” Secondly, both TFG. and Ethiopia share secular values where church and state stay separate. Lastly, the United States accused the leadership of ICU of harboring the suspects of the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States, while Ethiopia also labels ICU as “Jihadists” due to the assistant ICU received from terrorist groups (Al-Itihaad) and others mainly crossing the border to Africa from Arab nations of the Middle East.

Also according to RAND corporation, several Al-Qaeda fugitives had "found sanctuary in Somalia" and exploited the lack of government. There were also several Al-Qaeda operatives identified in southern Somalia. Despite Western interest to solve the problems in Somalia, RAND claims that world powers have failed to practiced their will, particularly in financing the peacekeepings and humanitarian assistance. In addition other analysts have identified documents and Al-Qaeda letters to increase their involvement in Somalia.

Even though the ICU and its Al-Qaeda militant foreign allies received support from various sources, the war was a short-lived one with Ethiopia and the Somalia government defeating the ICU and its allies
The battle between the allied Ethiopian/Somali forces and ICU forces ended abruptly and placed the Somali Transitional Federal Government back in control of the capital Mogadishu but an insurgency developed since then. According to Al Jazeera, Ethiopian troops got "a very welcoming reception" from the people of Somalia and the Somalis were "very glad that the Ethiopians came in." But other sources said the people opposed them. It is reported that the ICU lost hundreds of its fighters but the most important factor might have been the self-destruction of ICU's allies and united militia.

However, the transitional government still faced many security issues and the hundreds of Somali refugees that left Somalia because of the insurgency are not willing to return back to Mogadishu. According to the Somali media Garowe Online, clan based Mogadishu media outlets like radios were used as propaganda against the TFG and its Ethiopian allies. According to Wikileaks, Meles Zenawi told US officials in a confidential 2006 meeting that the ICU needs to be divided into two groups to alienate the jihadists. Ethiopia's " limited military action might precipitate this divorce" Meles predicted.
Some political parties in Ethiopia continued to oppose Meles Zenawi's policies and demanded the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from Somalia. Merera Gudina, leader of the opposition party United Ethiopian Democratic Forces
United Ethiopian Democratic Forces
The United Ethiopian Democratic Forces is a coalition of several existing political parties of Ethiopia which combined to compete for seats in the Ethiopian General Elections held on May 15, 2005....

 (UEDF) said "the military victory against the Islamic Courts forces was not followed by political victory or national reconciliation." He also said staying in Somalia harms Ethiopian economy and some of the leaders in the Transitional Somali government were not reaching out to civil society members in Somalia. With the exception of the SPDP, UEDP-Medhin(EDUP) and ONC opposition parties, not many other opposition parties in Ethiopia supported the choice of intervention in Somalia forwarded by Meles Zenawi's ruling party. Some members of the Somali parliament expressed their appreciation of Ethiopia's help publicly, but other oppositions remained against the intervention which was portrayed as an invasion instead.
a very welcoming reception" "very glad that the Ethiopians came in"
Ethiopia withdrew from Somalia in 2009 according to a UN peace agreement between the Sheikh Sharif led opposition and President Abdullahi led TFG. The ICU was divided into two as Meles predicted after Ethiopian intervention, and the new Sheikh Sharif-led TFG continues to receive AU and UN assistance.

Climate Change


Meles Zenawi has played an important role in shaping the African Union position on climate change and was a 'friend of the Chair' at COP 15. The following details his role in international climate change policy.

On 31 August 2009 Meles Zenawi was appointed Chair of the African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC). The group had been established in light of the 4 February 2009 decision at the 12th AU
African Union
The African Union is a union consisting of 54 African states. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established on 9 July 2002, the AU was formed as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity...

 Assembly of Heads of States to build a common Africa position on climate change in preparations for COP15.

Prior to Meles Zenawi's appointment but in light of the AU decision, and the ‘Algiers Declaration on the African Common Platform to Copenhagen’, on 19 May 2009 the Africa Group made a submission to the UNFCCC that included demands for: $67 billion per year in finance for Adaptation funding; $200 billion per year for mitigation; and which set targets in terms of reductions of emissions by developed countries not by reference to temperature.

On 3 September 2009 Meles Zenawi made a speech to the Africa Partnership Forum where he says:


"We will never accept any global deal that does not limit global warming to the minimum unavoidable level, no matter what levels of compensation and assistance are promised to us… While we will reason with everyone to achieve our objective, we will not rubber stamp an agreement by the powers that be as the best we could get for the moment. We will use our numbers to delegitimize any agreement that is not consistent with our minimal position. If needs be we are prepared to walk out of any negotiations that threaten to be another rape of our continent.”


On 12 December 2009 at COP 15 the Africa Group made a further submission to the UNFCCC that called for: 45% emission reductions by developed countries by 2020; finance for adaptation of $150 billion immediately as special drawing rights from the IMF; $400 billion in fast-track financing and 5% of Developed Countries' GNP in longer term financing.

On 15 December 2009 Meles Zenawi made a joint press release with the President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, which declared that the African Union position at Copenhagen was: A 2 °C temperature target; 10 billion Euros in 'fast-track financing'; and 100 billion euros in 'long-term' financing.'

This new position from Meles Zenawi was observed to be the same as the European Union's position and received widespread condemnation by other African leaders including by: Namibian Prime Minister Nahas Angula; Lesotho’s Bruno Sekoli; Ugandan chief negotiator and minister of water and environment, Maria Mutagamba; Sudan’s Ambassador and Chair of G77 Lumumba Di-Aping. African civil society condemned the position as a betrayal of Africa. Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Desmond Tutu
Desmond Mpilo Tutu is a South African activist and retired Anglican bishop who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid...

 said the 2 degree target ‘condemns Africa to incineration and no modern development.'

The Copenhagen Accord
Copenhagen Accord
The Copenhagen Accord is a document that delegates at the 15th session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change agreed to "take note of" at the final plenary on 18 December 2009....

 went on to reflect the EU's position as adopted by Meles Zenawi.

Widespread repression in Oromia


According to Freedom House
Freedom House
Freedom House is an international non-governmental organization based in Washington, D.C. that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights...

, under the government of Meles Zenawi, discrimination against and repression of Oromo people
Oromo people
The Oromo are an ethnic group found in Ethiopia, northern Kenya, .and parts of Somalia. With 30 million members, they constitute the single largest ethnic group in Ethiopia and approximately 34.49% of the population according to the 2007 census...

 has been widespread. Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. Its headquarters are in New York City and it has offices in Berlin, Beirut, Brussels, Chicago, Geneva, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo,...

 (HRW) notes that local government in the Oromia Region
Oromia Region
Oromia is one of the nine ethnic divisions of Ethiopia...

 has "routinely commit[ed] various human rights violations against people they believe to be critical or unsupportive of the government." After relations between the Oromo Liberation Front
Oromo Liberation Front
The Oromo Liberation Front , or OLF, is an organization established in 1973 by Oromo nationalists to promote self-determination for the Oromo people against what they call "Abyssinian colonial rule". It has been outlawed and labeled as a terrorist organization by the Ethiopian government...

 (OLF) and the ruling government broke down in 1992, the government banned the OLF, and has since regularly accused political detainees of being OLF operatives. HRW further notes that "according to former Ethiopian President Negasso Gidada, when he left office in 2001 roughly 25,000 people were in prison on OLF-related charges throughout Oromia and in Addis Ababa and no public moves have since been made to substantially reduce the number of detainees." Oromia is the largest and most populous of Ethiopia's nine regional states, but remained so far under heavy repression.

Ethio-Eritrea War


When Eritrea invaded Ethiopia in 1998, a costly war
Eritrean-Ethiopian War
The Eritrean–Ethiopian War took place from May 1998 to June 2000 between Ethiopia and Eritrea, forming one of the conflicts in the Horn of Africa...

 led to the death of tens of thousands of people on both sides. By the end of the devastating war, the Ethiopian army recovered the town of Badme
Badme
Badme is a town in the Horn of Africa and the focus of a territorial dispute between Eritrea and Ethiopia. It is claimed by both Eritrea, which considers Badme to be a part of Gash-Barka Zone, and Ethiopia, which considers Badme part of the Mirabawi Zone of the Tigray Region. This dispute was the...

 and drove back Eritrean forces until they controlled around one-third of Eritrean territory, including Barentu region.

However, Meles Zenawi signed a controversial UN peace treaty that was seen to favored Eritrea. This decision angered many Ethiopians and caused an internal division inside the Ethiopian ruling party. The faction critical of Meles, led by Defense Minister
Ministry of Defense (Ethiopia)
The Ministry of National Defense of Ethiopia is a cabinet level office in charge of defense related matters of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia...

 Siye Abraha, disagreed with those aligned with Meles over "key issues of ideology", accused his supporters of corruption and Meles of failing to act quickly or decisively enough over the crisis with Eritrea. "Meles was certainly seen as a reluctant warrior," according to a source quoted by IRIN. This led to a showdown at a meeting of the Politburo of the EPRDF, where Meles' won a 15–13 vote on his proposed statement that "the greatest threat that Ethiopia was facing was corruption and undemocratic tendencies." Meles said afterwards that the dissenting members had at that point insisted that the meeting be aborted and called for a general meeting of the TPLF, a move Meles described as "a violation of democratic principles and the statute of the front." A number of the dissenting members of the TPLF, including Siye, were quickly arrested and imprisoned. Siye was later released after 6 years in prison, and joined opposition parties. This rift is thought to have led to the murder of Kinfe Gebremedhin
Kinfe Gebremedhin
Kinfe Gebremedhin was an Ethiopian national who fought as a commander of the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front against the military junta known as the Derg. Upon the overthrow of the Derg, Kinfe served as Chief of Security and Immigration in the new government and became a right hand man of Meles...

, a former TPLF commander, Chief of Security and Immigration, and a right hand man of Zenawi.

In addition to accusations of his handling of the post-war events, Meles Zenawi was criticized for his pre-war decisions that ignored Eritrean incursions and delayed Ethiopian response to the invasion. Ethiopia did not mobilize its defense forces for a full scale border war after Eritrea attacked the country until a week had passed. By June 1998, Eritrean airforce has already attacked northern Ethiopia, including massacring dozens of school children and teachers in Ayder Elementary school of Mekele. The Ayder Memorial Library Project was established by Diaspora Ethiopians to remember the victims and facilitate the school.

Meles Zenawi, whose mother is Eritrean, has been accused of being too soft on the Eritrean government by many Ethiopians, including by members of his own TPLF party. Some believe Meles wants Eritrean President Isaias to remain in power, despite their deep disagreements. According to a BBC Monitoring report, Meles reportedly blocked 4 million dollars of support being transferred from Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

 and Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

 to the Eritrean National Alliance opposition group which was trying to overthrow the Eritrean regime.

Anuak conflict


On 13 December 2003 an ethnic conflict in the Gambela Region
Gambela Region
Gambela is one of the nine ethnic divisions of Ethiopia. Previously known as "Region 12", its capital is Gambela. Lying between the Baro and Akobo Rivers, the western part of Gambela includes the Baro salient....

 led to the death of 61 Anuaks in one day and hundreds more over the coming months. It is alleged that the highlanders were also being helped by the Ethiopian Defense forces. According to Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

, federal soldiers participated in the killings and regional authorities did not take necessary preventative measures against the violence.

The highlanders are mostly from the northern regions of Amhara and Tigray (but also Oromia) which populated the Gambela
Gambela, Ethiopia
Gambela is a city in Ethiopia and the capital of the Gambela Region or kilil. Located in Administrative Zone 1, at the confluence of the Baro River and its tributary the Jajjaba, the city has a latitude and longitude of and an elevation of 526 meters....

 region after they were forced to move southwest from north in the mid-1980s. When Mengistu Haile Mariam
Mengistu Haile Mariam
Mengistu Haile Mariam is a politician who was formerly the most prominent officer of the Derg, the Communist military junta that governed Ethiopia from 1974 to 1987, and the President of the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia from 1987 to 1991...

 ruled in the 1980s, more than 1.5 million Ethiopians were forced to relocate which led to more than 200,000 Ethiopians dead and many more sick in what is described as one of the worst humanitarian crisis of that decade. Since those old days some of the northern highlanders have been living in Gambela, and added a fuel to the already existing conflict between the Nuar and Anuaks.

In December 2003, some of the highlanders who worked for Ethiopian refugee agency were looking for new camps to shelter the thousands of Sudanese fleeing from their country's internal battles. Early that month, a group of armed Anuak killed many highlanders. Anuak rebels had also killed eight people in an attach on a United Nations vehicle. Ethiopian Defense Forces set up their headquarters at the refugee camp and took the bodies of the dead highlanders to Gambella town for burial, triggering the attack against Anuak civilians on 13 December 2003, which continued for several days. The massacres were labeled a "genocide" by Genocide Watch, which has since charged that genocidal massacres have also been committed against ethnic Ogadenis, and other groups, and has called for investigation of the human rights record of the Meles regime in an open letter to the UN Commissioner for Human Rights.

The Anuak people maintain they have been gradually displaced from their traditional lands. Despite 5,000 Ethiopian troops being deployed to keep peace in the area, tensions are still high. Anuak tribesmen interviewed by BBC correspondents said they appreciated the government's effort to keep peace against Anuak rebel's, yet ordinary Anuaks still fear for their lives. In October 2005, Anuak rebels attacked a catholic church and a police station.

The Ethiopian government, including Meles Zenawi, stated that both the Anuak insurgents and the highlander militias were responsible for the conflict. And "without the intervention of the army, the killings would have continued indefinitely." Even though the regional security forces made an effort to restrain the tension between the ethnic groups which are historically enemies, after an independent investigation, four town soldiers have been put in prison for favoring one ethnicity over another during the ethnic conflicts. Also many regional government officials claim the number of dead was not 400, but that around 200 both armed Anuaks and 'highlanders' were killed after the ethnic violence.

The government and other critical analysts often disregard using just pro-Anuak sources of information and testimonies, seeing them as biased against other local ethnicities. However some Anuak sources also depicted diverse accounts of the story. For instance, Anuak refugees and witnesses who claimed they saw the conflict & massacre said that the bloodshed was started by anti-government civilians as well as anti-government soldiers & anti-government officials in order to create problem for the government. One witness said,

I think that among the mob and the soldiers there was a group of people who were against the government and wanted to use this opportunity to put the government in a problem. I think that there were anti-government and anti-Anywaa elements within the army who orchestrated this type of killing.


Despite progress to curb the historical ethnic divisions and political tensions, there still remains a relatively tense political situation in the Gambella region. Recently the Gambella Peace Olympics, a sport festival promoting peace and development amongst Gambella Region's ethnic groups including Anuaks & nuers, was held in a bid to bring about constructive dialogue and long-term peace among the region's often feuding ethnic groups.

Post-election violence


On 18 October 2006 an independent report said Ethiopian police massacred 193 protesters, mostly in the capital Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa is the capital city of Ethiopia...

, in the violence of June and November following the May 2005 elections. The information was leaked before the official independent report was handed to the parliament. The leak made by Ethiopian judge Wolde-Michael Meshesha found that the government had concealed the true extent of deaths at the hands of the police.

This leak also brought more accusations that the opposition party which provoked the riots was trying to damage the reputation of the government by leaking the inquiry unlawfully. Gemechu Megerssa, a member of the independent Inquiry commission, which Mr. Meshesha once worked with, said Mr. Meshesha taking the report "out of context and presenting it to the public to sensationalise the situation for his political end is highly unethical."

The judge in Europe described the deaths as a massacre and said the toll could well have been higher. However, the judge was filing for an Asylum and is currently living in Europe, bringing a speculation that he was bias to begin with in support of the opposition party. But he claimed that he had to leave the country because he thought he would be "harassed" by the government. He speculated that Zenawi ordered troops to shoot at protesters. But according to New York Times, Meles said "he did not authorize the police to use live bullets."

The official report described by the parliament and the government gave exactly the same details as the leaked inquiry. It said that 193 people had been killed, including 40 teenagers. Six policemen were also killed and some 763 people injured. Police records showed 20,000 people were initially arrested during the anti-government protests. However the government said various witnesses from the Kinijit (CUD) opposition party members have testified that CUD leaders assured them of a demise of Zenawi's party and government in order to start an armed rebellion. The witnesses stated that CUD leaders encouraged them to start military training and planning to overthrow the government. The commission members living in Addis Ababa also criticised the government saying;
We are not saying the government was totally clean. The government has a lot to be accountable for. The mentality of the police needs to be changed, and then we will be able to minimize those kinds of casualties in the future. Building of [democratic] institutions is required, but that is going to take time. [So] The government was not prepared to tackle violence like that which took place last year. They could have brought an alternative way of dispersing rioting crowds.


But the independent Inquiry commission members added Mr. Meshesha going to Europe and reporting out of context information was "dishonest", ugly politics as well as insensitive to the process of developing Ethiopia's young democracy. Then the commission said Ethiopians need to solve their problems themselves so that these kinds of violences will not occur again. It said respecting authority & each other and working together is important as well as changing the mentality of the police is what the "government has to think about seriously."

Despite all these post-election issues & complications, in addition to the Carter Center and the US government, British MPs continued to praise the democratic process in Ethiopia. After meeting with some opposition parties, the British MPs also stated that the Ethiopian government should always stand firmly against those who try to use "undemocratic and unconstitutional means" to change government.

Presently, all except 20 of the elected opposition members have joined the Ethiopian parliament along with the EPRDF party members. The other top opposition parties, UEDF and UEPD-Medhin, are peacefully working with the government for negotiations on the democratic process. Yet many opposition parties are still represented in the Ethiopia Parliament where representatives from Oromia state hold the most positions and representatives from the Amhara State hold the second most position, in correlation with the population order of the corresponding states. Various opposition parties including UEDF, UEPD-Medhin, Somali People's Democratic Party (SPDP), EDL, Gambella People's Democratic Movement (GPDM), All Ethiopian Unity Organization (AEUO), Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement (OFDM)and Benishangul-Gumuz People's Democratic Unity Front (BGPDUF) hold positions in the parliament. Despite pressure to release the CUD leaders who were rounded up after the post election violence, the Ethiopian court convicted 38 of the top CUD leaders. However after various negotiations to solve the deadlock via a political agreement, the convicted CUD leaders signed a document, which many believe was coerced out of them, accepting their "mistakes" and an accountability ranging from partial to full responsibility for the post election violence.

Prisoners


Currently, all of the main opposition party's (CUD) leaders are out of jail after an alleged attempt to overthrow the government and initiating the post election violence. All of these charges are denied by CUD leadership both in Ethiopia and international, and the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 continues to plea for the political prisoners to be released after a speedy trial. Some of these elected CUD officials endure very harsh conditions inside Ethiopia's poorly maintained prisons and they are at risk of various medical complications. As a result of the violence after the elections, many thousands were arrested and imprisoned, even though some have been freed few still remain in prison. Up to the end of 2005, around 8,000 Ethiopian rioters were freed.

After a long and slow judicial proceedings an Ethiopian judge dropped the controversial charges of attempted genocide and treason against 111 people arrested after election protests. Twenty-five accused, mostly journalists and publishers, have also been acquitted of all charges. However several opposition leaders remain in custody, accused of trying to violently overthrow the government. After the original arrests the Prime Minister told the parliament that releasing "these hardliners" would embolden them to think "whatever their action, they will not be held accountable." Thus he stated "the government has made it abundantly clear that interfering with the judicial process for the release of hardliners is out of the question. The government has taken this unwavering position not because of stubbornness or for a lack of willingness to resolve issues through dialogue and negotiation." The ruling party has accused the group of trying to utilize street uprising techniques as a way to change regimes. Various supporters of the government and supporters of peaceful opposition parties who function in the parliament continue to accuse the imprisoned opposition group of "extremism" and accuse them of following the textbook directions given by Dr. Negede. An exiled & educated Ethiopian, Dr. Negede is known for the famous book he wrote on how to overthrow the government through street uprising. However Amnesty international and the supporters of the group in jail claim that the detainees are "prisoners of conscience", innocent and should be freed immediately and unconditionally. As of June 2007, the Ethiopian court found the opposition party CUD's 38 senior figures guilty of the charges. After CUD's top leaders signed a paper accepting responsibility for the violence, some sources claim the leaders would be freed in a short time. All the leadership of the CUD party were released after the pardon board accepted their apology letter. According to VOA news, a CUD spokesman Hailu Araya said "We signed it voluntarily. We apologized to the people, to the government. Yes, we did. That’s what the paper said, and that’s what we signed."

Somalia intervention


Following a declaration of jihad by al-Qaeda-linked Islamists in Mogadishu, the Transitional Federal Government
Transitional Federal Government
The Transitional Federal Government is the current internationally recognized government of the Republic of Somalia. It was established as one of the Transitional Federal Institutions of government as defined in the Transitional Federal Charter adopted in November 2004 by the Transitional...

 of Somalia invited Ethiopian to send troops into southern Somalia at the end of December 2006. With the help of Puntland
Puntland
Puntland , officially the Puntland State of Somalia , is a region in northeastern Somalia, centered on Garowe in the Nugaal province. Its leaders declared the territory an autonomous state in 1998....

 and together with TFG forces, Ethiopian troops captured Mogadishu and installed the transitional government.

Since the Ethiopian intervention, this fighting led to the deaths of over 10,000 civilians in southern Somalia. Charges of war crimes were made and denied on both sides of the fighting.

Ogaden conflict



Meles Zenawi's government has allegedly carried out brutal counter insurgency techniques against the Ogaden National Liberation Front
Ogaden National Liberation Front
The Ogaden National Liberation Front , is a separatist rebel group fighting to make the region of Ogaden in eastern Ethiopia an independent state...

 (ONLF), particularly after the ONLF killed more than 70 Chinese and Ethiopian Oil facility workers in the region in April, 2007. Both sides accuse each other of human rights abuses. In June 2008, HRW
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. Its headquarters are in New York City and it has offices in Berlin, Beirut, Brussels, Chicago, Geneva, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo,...

 criticized the lack of Western condemnation to Meles Zenawi's counter insurgency policy and to the military activities by Ethiopian Defence forces in reaction to ONLF's attacks.

Both fighting forces accuse each other of killing civilians and burning villages, with HRW claiming that accounts by refugees fleeing out of the country support ONLF's accusations. Both Ethiopia and its allies claim refugees fleeing out of Ethiopia, instead of taking shelter from the conflict inside Ethiopia, were supporters of the ONLF who can not be used as independent source of evidence.

Western governments continued to state that they will check into the various allegations from all sides.

Inflation and drought management


Ethiopia has seen a rise in the general level of prices since around 2004, which has worsened the drought problems caused by the lack of rain, as reported by UN humanitarian organizations. The inflation rate was reportedly in the low teens in 2005– 2006, high teens during 2007 and in the 20s in 2008. This inflation crisis has deeply affected the urban population in Ethiopia.

According to UN's Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program, the inflation problem is occurring because "More income for farmers" is causing "higher prices in shops." Ethiopian farmers are the driving force of the rural based economy where only 15% of the population belongs in the urban. The UN report says "as markets get less centralized, and farmers become more sophisticated and better informed traders are starting to complain about the market power of the farmers" so "farmers are now better off, and able to wait and spread their grain sales through the year, rather than having to rush everything to market immediately after harvest when prices are at their lowest." The UN report says that "grain prices in Ethiopia, however much they may have risen, however unaffordable they may be to the urban poor, are still below world prices and below prices in most neighboring countries."

Awards


Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, has received various international awards for setting up a good foundation for the development of Ethiopia. Even though Ethiopia remains one of the poorest countries in the world, the near double digit annual economic growth recently are seen as the beginning of Ethiopia's long marathon struggle to eliminate poverty. Acknowledging the rapid GDP growth of the country, the UK newspaper The Economist
The Economist
The Economist is an English-language weekly news and international affairs publication owned by The Economist Newspaper Ltd. and edited in offices in the City of Westminster, London, England. Continuous publication began under founder James Wilson in September 1843...

said in December 2007 that "Ethiopia's economy has been growing at record speed in recent years." In 2008, the International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

 (IMF) described the speed of Ethiopia's economic growth in recent years as the "fastest for a non-oil exporting country in Sub-Saharan Africa", with Ethiopia ranked as the second most attractive African country for investors.

Although many opposition parties and parliamentarian critics disagree, some Ethiopians also portray the arrival date of Meles Zenawi's government, 28 May 1991 (Ginbot 20), as the "Birth of democracy" in Ethiopia while diplomats and analysts say the country is slowly moving towards democracy.
  • Before he joined the Medical Faculty of Addis Ababa University, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was awarded the Haile Selassie I Prize Trust, a highly selective award given only to the most outstanding graduating students.

  • The Rwanda
    Rwanda
    Rwanda or , officially the Republic of Rwanda , is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million . Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

     government awarded Meles Zenawi Rwanda’s National Liberation Medal, the "Uruti," in July 2009 for helping to liberate Rwanda and end the genocide in the country. Alongside two other African leaders, Meles was also given Rwanda's highest accolade, the "Umurinzi" medal, Rwanda’s Campaign Against Genocide Medal.

  • The World Peace Prize for PM Meles Zenawi's contributions for global peace and his effort to stabilize the Horn of Africa through cooperation with Inter-Governmental Authority for Development(IGAD).

  • Tabor 100, an African American entrepreneur’s organization, honored PM. Meles Zenawi for his big contribution toward economic and social transformation in Africa with its prestigious Crystal Eagle International Leadership Award in April 2005. Tabor 100, a U.S.-based nongovernmental organization, calling Meles Zenawi “International leader of the year 2005”, also honored the efforts of the Ethiopian government in general for war on poverty and backwardness.

  • PM Meles Zenawi was also awarded the “Good Governance Award" of the Global coalition for Africa in respect for leading Ethiopia in a democratic path during the challenging period of transition. He was selected for the good governance
    Good governance
    Good governance is an indeterminate term used in development literature to describe how public institutions conduct public affairs and manage public resources in order to guarantee the realization of human rights. Governance describes "the process of decision-making and the process by which...

     award by the US-based Corporate Council on Africa
    Corporate Council on Africa
    The Corporate Council on Africa is a trade association focusing on strengthening commercial relationships between the United States and the African continent.-Background:...

    .

  • PM Meles Zenawi received the Norway
    Norway
    Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

    -based 2005 ["Yara Prize for Green Revolution"]Yara for initiating a good foundation for economic progress in Ethiopia, particularly on the agricultural sector for the poor country that has doubled its food production. During the award ceremony held in the Norwegian capital of Oslo on 3 September, the director of the UN project for Africa said, "With our support, Ethiopia can lift itself from poverty and hunger. Under Prime Minister Meles the country has created the grass roots structure to enable this to happen.”

  • Meles Zenawi was given the "Africa Political Leadership Award" of 2008 by the US-based newspaper Africa Times. Previous winners of the award include Desmond Tutu
    Desmond Tutu
    Desmond Mpilo Tutu is a South African activist and retired Anglican bishop who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid...

    , Nelson Mandela
    Nelson Mandela
    Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was the first South African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist, and the leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing...

     and others.

  • Ethiopia’s military awarded Prime Minister Meles Zenawi for his leadership during the 1998–2000 war with its northern neighbour when Eritrea invaded Ethiopia in 1998.

  • Residents of the historic and ancient UNESCO
    World Heritage Site
    A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

     town of Axum
    Axum
    Axum or Aksum is a city in northern Ethiopia which was the original capital of the eponymous kingdom of Axum. Population 56,500 . Axum was a naval and trading power that ruled the region from ca. 400 BC into the 10th century...

     in Ethiopia awarded Prime Minister Meles Zenawi for his political and diplomatic leadership role to the return and re-erection of the Obelisk of Axum
    Obelisk of Axum
    The Obelisk of Axum is a 1,700-year-old, 24-metres tall granite stele/obelisk, weighing 160 tonnes, in the city of Axum in Ethiopia. It is decorated with two false doors at the base, and decorations resembling windows on all sides...

     after 68 years stay in Rome, Italy.

  • Meles Zenawi received the Confederation of African Football's (CAF) Gold Order of Merit award in February 2007. PM Zenawi was given the CAF organisation's highest award for his services to the progress of African football. Ethiopia was one of the founding countries of the CAF(1957) and the organization, with the dedication of AU leaders like Mr. Zenawi, was celebrating the "International Year of African Football" in 2007.

Positions

  • Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is also a Co-Chairperson of the Global Coalition for Africa (GCA.) The Global Coailition for Africa brings together senior African policy makers and their partners to deepen dialogue and build consensus on Africa's priority development issues.
  • The Prime Minister was the co-chairperson of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (Nov.2006) Ethiopia is the Forum's co-chair country. It led to the adoption of the Beijing Action Plan (2007–2009) for partnership for economic progress and cultural exchanges. It also stated to support Africa's "development [of] international political, economic, trade and financial systems."
  • In 2004, Prime Minister Tony Blair
    Tony Blair
    Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

     of the United Kingdom appointed Prime Minister Meles Zenawi as one of the Commissioners taking part in the Commission for Africa
    Commission for Africa
    The Commission for Africa, also known as the Blair Commission for Africa, was an initiative established by the British government to examine and provide impetus for development in Africa. Initiated in Spring 2004, its objectives include the generation of new ideas for development and to deliver...

    .

Prime Minister Zenawi served as the Chairman of the Organization for African Unity (OAU, now the African Union – AU) from June 1995 to June 1996.
  • In 2007, the African Union
    African Union
    The African Union is a union consisting of 54 African states. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established on 9 July 2002, the AU was formed as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity...

     elected Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to chair the executive committee of the NEPAD (the New Partnership for Africa's Development)
  • Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was chosen to represent Africa at the G8
    G8
    The Group of Eight is a forum, created by France in 1975, for the governments of seven major economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 1997, the group added Russia, thus becoming the G8...

     Summit and the G20 summit in London.
  • The African Union selected Meles Zenawi to lead an African Delegation to the Global Conference on Climate Change at Copenhagen in 2009.

  • In February 2010, the UN named Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi as co-chair of the Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing, a new high-level U.N. advisory group on climate change financing.

Milestones


Several social, economic, religious and political developments and systems were established for the first time in Ethiopia under Meles Zenawi's rule.
  • First regional referendum for peaceful Secession (Eritrea 1991–)
  • First Multi-party National election for opposition (2000,2005,2010)
  • First institutionalized linguistic freedom at local level (1994–)
  • First ethnic based federalism (since 1994)
  • First private media outlets in Ethiopian history (since 1994)
  • First consecutive double-digit GDP growth – International Monetary Fund
    International Monetary Fund
    The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

     (since 2006)
  • First multi-party parliament with opposition MPs (since 2000)
  • First unrestricted freedom of religion for evangelicals/Pentecostals (since 1994)

Foundation


Meles Zenawi was given the Green Revolution award and a financial prize of 200,000 dollars by the Norwegian Yara Foundation in September 2005 "in recognition of past accomplishments and encouragement to achieve economic development for the people of Ethiopia."

Meles donated his $200,000 financial award to a foundation called "Fre—Addis Ethiopia Women Fund" (Fre-Addis Ethiopia Yesetoch Merja Mahiber). The Fre-Addis Ethiopia Women Fund has an objective "to empower girls through providing educational opportunities" and it currently supports 514 needy and orphan rural girls to pursue their education throughout the country.

Books/thesis by Meles

  • The Eritrean Struggle: From Where to Where? (1980)
  • African Development: Dead Ends and New Beginnings (2006)
  • Agricultural Development-Led Industrialisation (ADLI) strategy

Media appearances


See also

  • Ethiopian Orthodox
  • Azeb Mesfin
    Azeb Mesfin
    Azeb Mesfin is an Ethiopian women's right activist, businesswoman, member of parliament, and a political spouse. She is also the vice-president of Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS and founder and patron of Ethiopia's National Initiative for Mental Health...

  • Girma Wolde-Giorgis
    Girma Wolde-Giorgis
    Girma Wolde-Giorgis is the current President of Ethiopia.- Political career :He was elected President on 8 October 2001, as a relative unknown and a surprise choice, by a unanimous vote of the Ethiopian Parliament. The Ethiopian presidency is largely a symbolic office with little power...

  • Haile Selassie
  • Yohannes III
  • Tokyo International Conference on African Development
    Tokyo International Conference on African Development
    is a conference held every five years in Tokyo, Japan, with the objective "to promote high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and development partners." Japan is a co-host of these conferences. Other co-organizers of TICAD are the United Nations Office of the Special Advisor on Africa...

     (TICAD-IV), 2008.
  • Blanco Chivite, Manuel. Diario de Etiopía, Madrid, Vosa Ediciones, 1991

Quotations



External links



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