• Rene Lefort on Medhane's Paper: Meles Zenawi and the Ethiopian State

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    If I understand Medhane well, it’s “the widespread democratic aspiration of Ethiopians”, which makes the developmental state needs to be revisited. Taking the risk of being politically incorrect, I would question the nature and the range of this aspiration. 

    Last Updated on Monday, 05 November 2012 00:15
  • Meles Zenawi and the Ethiopian State

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    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. 

    Download full textMeles Zenawi and the es2.pdf


    Last Updated on Sunday, 14 October 2012 21:10
  • The Egyptian elections and their aftermath

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    Gerard Prunier

    It is a reality play , not a morality one , between one traditional Establishment (the Army , as inheritor of the old Turkish “hukum”) and an aspiring one basing itself on a highjacked vision of Islam (the Muslim Brotherhood) . The heart of the matter is that the deep Egyptian crowds want neither but are not capable of expressing themselves because they lack the organisational structures enabling them to translate their fundamental aspirations into a coherent political reality.

    Last Updated on Sunday, 22 July 2012 06:17
  • Can Nigeria’s internal contradictions be mediated?

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    Funmi Olonisakin


    The Nigerian state is riddled with internal contradictions, the zero sum nature of which further compounds its complexity. Indeed, the Nigerian state is confronted by a crisis of authority and legitimacy, with the co-existence of multiple systems – economic, social, justice and security – in which the non-state systems are more trusted than the formal state-led systems. The failure of the political elite to make state systems more responsive and accessible to the vast majority of citizens exacerbates this crisis. The inability or perhaps unwillingness of Nigeria’s governing elite to resolve or manage the country’s contradictions raises questions about its capacity to cope with crisis on several fronts. The most recent of these have been in the Niger Delta where the attacks by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) against the state only recently subsided; and in Northern Nigeria, where a sect known as Boko Haram has escalated its campaign against the state. Download full textHDNigeriapaperRevisedOLONISAKINJune2012.doc

    Last Updated on Saturday, 28 July 2012 21:48
  • Fast and Furious

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    Jonathan Dirda

    The size and sprawl of US diplomatic expeditions to Africa precede from impatience with the limits of US power and an ambition to hunt a bigger game than the mere symbolic collision of interests with Beijing.

    Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 July 2012 12:16

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