Extracting Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's Extracts. Leenco Lata
Why Seek Something You Already Have?
"Never since the likes of Kwame Nkrumah were removed from the African political scene have I witnessed an African leader writing a book while still in office." Mr Lenco Lata. That is until I came across an Internet posting of extracts from a forthcoming book by Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, African Development: Dead Ends and New Beginnings. Witnessing this possible turnaround of African leadership quality hence brought back refreshing recollections of those exuberant early days in post-colonial Africa. Tragically the decades thereafter saw a steady deterioration of the quality of African leadership with the Samuel Does, Idi Amins and Bokassas replacing the Nkrumahs, Senghors, and Nyreres. The emergence of well-read and articulate leaders like PM Meles Zenawi could hence herald the dawning of yet another more promising era in African history and is thus a cause for celebration.
“Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has been ruling one of Africa's most populous states situated in one of the continent's most turbulent sub-regions for the last sixteen years. Writing a book while shouldering such a heavy responsibility is a remarkable feat for which he deserves to be commended. He has thereby restored the hopes of many of us who have despaired that the likes of Nkrumah would never again emerge in Africa.” Lenco Lata.
What we have of the forthcoming book at this stage are extracts made public for "discussion" as clearly stated on its front page. Commenting on such limited revelations of the whole material, however, poses one major difficulty. Anyone who comments on the available excerpts of the larger material runs the risk of being criticized of taking issues out of context. Not commenting, however, would be tantamount to abdicating the responsibility of taking up the Prime Minister on his evident offer of engaging in public discussion on his vision. The only way this difficulty would be resolved is when the Prime Minister expedites the publication of his book. So I appeal to him to put at our disposal the entire material as expeditiously as possible so that interested persons can have a fuller grasp of his ideas and hence offer more substantive comments.
The central theme of PM Meles Zenawi's forthcoming book appears to be the role of the state in promoting economic development in Africa. This is an issue of tremendous importance for all Africans deserving a continent-wide public conversation on a sustained basis. African scholars and political activists should hence welcome the Prime Minister's evident call for public debate and start offering their opinions.
Those of us who have a direct interest in Ethiopia's political and economic development have a particularly pressing reason for engaging in such a public conversation. The Prime Minister is destined to implement his vision in Ethiopia, thereby either positively or negatively affecting the lives and livelihoods of our relatives. We should hence be grateful to him for letting us know what he has is in store for our peoples by laying out his vision in such a detailed manner.
Since I have a very limited acquaintance with the discipline of economics, my comments would only deal with the political repercussions of the Prime Minister's articulation of the type of the state needed to take Africa out of poverty. He prescribes the developmental state as the key and necessary agency for bringing about this much-needed change in Africa. Lenco Leta.
You can read more from allafrica Posted to the web February 12, 2007.