Meles Zenawi and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) led Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) came to power in 1991 after a sixteen-year armed struggle in the countryside. In subsequent years Meles Zenawi managed to have a disproportionate power in the Ethiopian state rising above the TPLF/EPRDF. As an instructor, theoretician, military strategist, intellectual and all-around, all-star politician of the EPRDF Meles shaped Ethiopian politics for over two decades and worked hard to sustain the political system he helped create. Consolidating his power and increasing the developmental mission of the Ethiopian state were Meles’s consuming focus. Both were inseparable. This is crucial in understanding the meaning of his death and its impact on the nature of political power in Ethiopia. And equally important, to understand what this says about the character of the Ethiopian state. 

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