Semi-authoritarianism : the case study of Ethiopia
In many African countries, including Ethiopia, decades of ruthless dictatorships and civil war, were followed by an almost universal demand for democracy combined with a seemingly willing leadership. However, two decades since this significant upsurge to adopt democratic governance, many are left wondering about the depth of commitment to this effort and the sincerity of political leaders. In fact, many dictators and autocrats have adopted the language of democracy and some of its formal elements. Academics, donor countries, and international organizations are struggling to identify an appropriate model of governance. The theory of semi-authoritarianism strives to address this issue of ambiguity by placing the responsibility for democratization, or the lack thereof, with the political leadership. The argument here is that many countries seemingly in transition are not. Rather, they are semi-authoritarian by design as the political elite has a vested interest in preventing democratic consolidation. The theory of semi-authoritarianism attempts to explain the continuation of false democracies. However, the theory is too broad and superficial, it raises just as many questions as it attempts to address. The attempt to classify and explain emerging political trends in countries such as Ethiopia without an appreciation of deeper forces beyond elite manipulation can jeopardize a realistic appraisal of the fate of democracy.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteeKalowatie, Deonandan; Simonne, Horwitz; Donald, Story; Hans, Michelmann
Copyright DateApril 2011