Prime Minister Meles Zenawi: An African icon gone too soon
logo Tigrai Online - Ethiopian Daily News

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi: An African icon gone too soon

By Duop Chak Wuol
Tigrai Online, August 20, 2017

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi: An African icon gone too soon

Africa lacks leaders with the mentality of Meles. The continent will probably remain undeveloped for many decades, perhaps centuries

Advertisements

Waging an armed struggle against your own country is probably one of the toughest decisions a man could make. However, there are political, cultural, and social issues that might lead one to declare a war against a state, and this is exactly what the late Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi decided to do in 1975. His decision changed Ethiopia forever, both socially and economically.

I would like to first admit that praising one who passed is typically done by people who had close ties to the person or knew the person well. However, my conscience compels me to write this piece about late Ethiopian leader Meles during the fifth anniversary of his death.

After the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) successfully deposed former Ethiopian communist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam in May 1991, Meles surprised The World Bank and other global financial institutions by rejecting hundreds of millions of dollars that were offered to Ethiopia in the form of a loan. His main reason for refusing to take the loans was that the conditions of the loans were not compatible with Ethiopia’s economy at the time.

He was right to refuse: the loan would have placed Ethiopia at a greater economic disadvantage, given the fact that interests associated with the loans were too high.

Under the leadership of Mengistu, Ethiopia was synonymous with poverty and famine. The Red Terror Mengistu waged against Ethiopians in 1977-1979 resulted in the death of thousands of Ethiopians who opposed his regime. It was a tragic incidence.

However, Meles’ efforts helped eliminate such a perception. He eliminated poverty by expanding Ethiopia’s agricultural sector and investing in small farming. Ethiopia’s economy is now booming because of his ideas. Meles also correctly identified that dependence on foreign aid does not progress the nation’s economy. He was a strategic decision-maker who pushed for Ethiopia to effectively utilize its own natural resources.

Advertisements

As someone who once studied in Ethiopia, I witnessed Ethiopians who were living under extreme tyranny. Mengistu’s rule was a pure dictatorship that also limited his people’s freedom of movement.

If one were to study the late Ethiopian leader Meles, they would conclude that he was indisputably a brilliant strategic thinker. One of Meles’ political achievements was the inclusion of Ethiopians whose ethnicities were theoretically outlawed by Mengistu from Ethiopia’s politics. I recall listening to a song from certain Ethiopian nationalities, other than those in Amharic, which was seen as being in direct opposition to leadership. The oppression used by former Ethiopia’s dictator was simply too broad and ruthless.

Meles Zenawi once said: “We have our own script. We have our own calendar. We represent the greatness of Africa's past. We also represent the worst of Africa's present, in terms of poverty. It is the best and the worst of African reality.”

Literary works of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi - Ethiopian Embassy UK

Africa lacks leaders with the mentality of Meles. The continent will probably remain undeveloped for many decades, perhaps centuries, if its leaders stick to the old mentality of focusing their energies on staying in power for life rather than developing their countries.

The late Ethiopian leader proved that he was fighting for a reason, with strategies that he used successfully. Ethiopia is now the East African economic powerhouse, a notion that was unthinkable under Mengistu’s rule. I believe Africa would prosper if its leaders adopted Meles’ economic ideas.

Meles’ economic thoughts are revered throughout Africa and around the world. For example, the thriving Rwandan economy was a brainchild of Meles. The Rwandan President Paul Kagame copied Meles’s economic ideas, which allowed his country’s economy to prosper. Meles’s policy of development, elimination of poverty, and the pursuit of economic growth for Ethiopia changed his country for the better. His sudden passing in August 2012 left millions of Africans stunned. His decision to wage a war against Mengistu’s was morally right. He fought, won, and implemented the ideas he was fighting for. He was a hero for Ethiopia, Africa, and the world.  Meles was truly a brilliant strategic African thinker gone too soon. 

Duop Chak Wuol is the Editor-in-Chief of the South Sudan News Agency. He can be reached at duop282@gmail.com. The views expressed in this article are his and should not be attributed to the South Sudan News Agency.

Advertisements

More Articles

General Samora Yenus Ethiopian National Defense Forces chief of staff visits China

Ethiopian Airlines Starts Thrice Weekly Service to Bahrain

The Ethiopian people demand the anti-corruption campaign to continue

Ethiopian Public participation to realize GERD at its peak

Addis Ababa 50 MW waste to energy plant just about done

Call for US Military Partnership with Eritrea rejected by law makers

Ethiopian government lifted the state of emergency today

Benyam Kebede Ethiopia First editor commentary on the Ethiopian anti corruption movement

Teddy Afro is An ethnocentric con artist in Ethiopia

Four experts discuss Ethiopian booming economy to conquer poverty

Sporadic skirmish reported throughout the Ethiopia-Eritrea border

The Structure of Tax and Rationale of Recent Business Income Assessment in Oromia

The peaceful peoples of Tigrai and Amhara need no reconciliation, but justice

Professional Cyclist Tsgabu Grmay Achieves Remarkable Results in Tour de France 2017

Ethiopian Foreign Minister Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu briefed US Congress on Ethiopia

The Making Of Ethiopian Tech Sector - SHEBA VALLEY

Members of the Rebel Group Benishangul People Liberation Movement Defected from Eritrea

Mekelle Industrial Park Inaugurated today

ESAT TV is a stopgap WMD for Egypt and Eritrea against the Ethiopian people

Ethiopia secured access to Berbera port of Somaliland from DP world

Ethiopia and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding on peaceful use of atomic energy

Top member of Ginbot-7 Tadesse Kersmo arrested on charges of terrorism in London

Ethiopian constitution recognizes the metropolis as the capital of Oromia

Ethiopian Railways Corporation to start test run on the Awash Woldiya Hara Gebeya Railway

European Investment Bank confirms $282 million USD private enterprise financing programme for Ethiopia

European Investment Bank Vice President to visit Ethiopia and announce largest ever engagement

Ethiopian Council of Ministers approved a legislation to grant Oromia Regional State special privileges in Addis Ababa

Isaias Afwerki treacherous deed against Qatar and Iran

The Fastest Growing Economy In the world for 2017 Is Ethiopia

Ginbot-7 the terrorist group based in Eritrea left with only 280 soldiers

Sponsored Links

Betray Not Tigrai Again by Helena HaileSelassie, MD

Tesfaye Gebreab and his lies, once an errand boy always an errand boy

Mekelle University-MU to work with UIBE, China

Mekelle University to expand partnerships in China, Signs MoU with IPP, CAAS

African Union Urges Restraint in Djibouti-Eritrea Border Conflict

Ethiopian Airlines Plans to buy 10 Airbus A350s Worth $3 Billion

It seems PFDJ is deporting Ginbot-7 members from Eritrea to Ethiopia

Ethiopians resume enjoying their internet access after a week of disconnection

Ethiopia leads Africa in economic growth and fast expansion says The World Bank

Mesfin Weldemariam: one foot in the grave and still disgorging odium

After twenty six years what did the anti EPRDF forces accomplish?

U.S. Government Inaugurates state-of-the-art Health Laboratory in Mekelle, Tigrai


Opinions published on this site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Tigrai Online.
©2005-2017 Tigraionline.com All rights reserved.