The rise of corruption in Ethiopia: Is a lack of constitutionalism to blame?
Ayele, Zemelak Ayitenew
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In 2001, a political division arose within the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF)1 , arguably the core the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the ruling party and a coalition of four ethnic-based regional parties.2 There was a disagreement between the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (also the former Chair of both EPRDF and TPLF) and some of the top brass of TPLF. The true cause of the dispute still remains unclear.3 It is clear though that Meles faced strong opposition from some of the most senior party members, including Gebru Asrat (the former president of Tigray, one of Ethiopia’s nine states), and Siye Abraha (the then Minister of Defense). Some of the leaders of the other three constituent units of EPRDF also sided with the dissenters as the division spread to these parties. 4 This led Meles to undertake an extensive political ‘purge’ within the TPLF and the other EPRDF member parties. ‘Dissenters’ were expelled from TPLF and, therefore, EPRDF. Those among the dissenters who had been elected to national and regional representative councils representing the party were informed that they had been ‘recalled by their constituencies’ and were dismissed from those councils.