The TPLF developmental state theory never much in reality

By Habtamu Ayenew (OSLO) – May 20, 2013

TPLF (Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front) who is afraid of neoliberal idea, because it has no clue as capitalism is a means of development, job creation, increase competitiveness, encourage entrepreneurship, they chose development state theory for Ethiopia economic development, and use it for their own enrichment.

Chamber Johnson, the driver of developmental state defined the idea as “a state that focused a leadership ruthlessly committed to a national development (and not to partial interests or its own enrichment)” (Allen & Thomas, 2000).  The extremely corrupt TPLF leadership government in Ethiopia not only attempted to apply the theory and failed, but also from the beginning they are agents for the collapse of Ethiopia. Shortly after they took power through guerrilla war in 1991, before they get legitimate to represent the will and desires of the nation they facilitates Eritrean independence achievement (Meles letter to UN, 1991 ) and make Ethiopia Land locked.

Jeffry Sacks, an architect of the Millennium Development Goals reminded us how land locked states in general face the worst problem in economic development (Harrison & Huntington, 2000). This was another problem to face Ethiopia, the country which was remained largely separated from the world economy, and ruled by archaic monarchy and dictator Derge regime who failed to respond adequately to the national question in Ethiopia (Allen & Thomas, 2000). Because of failed to build institution to initiate development in the country, peoples grass root movement and political parties activities led to the down fall of the archaic monarchy and dictator Derg. Unlucky the TPLF lead government EPRDF (Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front) took power in 1991 and got praise as a good leader who can trust to bring development and democracy in land locked Ethiopia through ethnic federalism model.

                        After the toppling of the Derg regime and the gaining of power by the EPRP, the new regime was viewed with mixed feeling by the donor community. While few lamented the fail of Mengistu, there were apprehensions as to the new regime; with a background from a dawn-out guerrilla war, which until recently had espoused an explicit Marxist doctrine. On the other hand Meles was also perceived as belonging to a new breed of African leader (Borchgrevink , 2008)

Donor relation with corrupt TPLF largely connects Ethiopia with world economy. For example, after the establishment of TPLF lead government in Ethiopia World Bank approved a large emergency and reconstruction fund (Borchgrevink, 2008). Other follows on different motivation, my host country Norway and the other Nordic countries inspired by their welfare state “where the goal was to improve condition for poor and resource-weak groups in their own population” (Martinussen & Pedersen, 2005). But as I learned from the discussion between Norwegian politician and Ethiopian diasporas on Ethiopian development week here in Norway, donors seem to have weak to influence the TPLF regime to achieve their motivation. The regime used the aid money to do crime with humanity, to its own enrichment, and support political repression (the human right watch, 2010).

An article from The Economic shows how clear TPLF use developmental stat theory to achieve their own and loyalist enrichment. The article says to do business in Ethiopia you should be TPLF loyalist, “about 80% of supposedly privet business conglomerates controlled by state loyalists, the late prime minister wife runs the main one EFFORT, which dabbles in everything from banking and to metal, travel and cement all without public scrutiny” (The Economist, March 2013). This was the theory propose by late prime minster Meles for all Africa development, in his unpublished masters dissertation, titled ‘African Development: Dead Ends and New Beginning`, and now they want fake us to  defended the theory by arrest corrupt ministers which are not loyal to the TPLF regime in Ethiopia  (Reuters, May, 201)

 Our determination to fight the TPLF junta must continue by any means available like opposition to the Development Fund’s cooperation with the dictatorial ethnic regime in Ethiopia (The task force of Ethiopian for democracy and human rights in Ethiopia, May 2013). We should argue and tell donors is not simply because the obstinate character of the EPRDF regime, but  primarily because they have seen incapable of applying consistent and coherent policies  to take note on human rights, democracy , and rule of law first before economic development in their so called cooperation with TPLF tyrant in Ethiopia (Borchgrevink , 2008). For Peter Gitmark, a member of the main political opposition in Norway, human rights come first before development process. He said that there is wrong doing in Ethiopia since the crackdown of opposition in the aftermath of the 2005 election, he want see a tougher line from the Norwegian authorities (Utviklingsfondet, May 2013). Not only donors, Medhane Tadesse, an academic specializing in conflicts in the Horn of Africa who also acts as an adviser to the Ethiopian foreign ministry, admitted that, `there is a need for political reforms both to meet the democratic aspirations of the Ethiopian people, achieve political stability as well as the revitalize the much needed developmental state model` (Tadesse, October 2012).

These all show TPLF developmental state theory never much in reality, they failed to apply the theory, and instead they use it to repressed Ethiopian people.  We are in the right direction to fight the TPLF tyrant regime, we should continue what we are doing, and then nothing stops us to free our country from TPLF tyrant.

To reach me


Allen, T. & Thomas, T., 2000. Poverty and Development into the 21st century.

Borchgrevink, A. 2008.  Ethiopia, Aid and conditionality. Editorial, Forum for Development Studies, (2.08)

Harrison, L.F. & Huntington, S.P. 200. Culture matters: how values shape human progress.

Human Right Watch, 2010.  Ethiopia: Donor Aid Supports Repression.

Martinussen, J.D. & Pedersen, P.E. 2005. Aid- Understanding International Development Cooperation

Meles Zenawi. 1991.  Meles’s letter to UN

Reuters, May, 2013. Ethiopia arrests minister, 11 others over corruption.

Tadesse, M., October 2012. Melese Zenawi and the Ethiopian State.

The Economist, March 2013. Ethiopia and Kenya: Doing it my way


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