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  • Republicans on the Throne

Republicans on the Throne


Republicans on the Throne is a memoir spanning the author Tekalign Gedamu’s early life during the waning days of the old feudal order, his six-decade career in the United Nations, the African Development Bank, and the government of Ethiopia. The book describes the author’s university education and early career as an international civil servant. It focuses on Ethiopia’s modernization and her painful quest for democracy. For a brief spell, the author was privileged to be an eyewitness and a modest participant to that process. Republicans on the Throne offers a glimpse into the problems of a new educational system. The expansion of education left in its wake a demand for more fundamental reforms which Emperor Haile Selassie’s government was increasingly unable to meet. The result was a coup d’état in 1960 that failed, and another in 1974 that succeeded and triggered a ‘Marxist’ revolution that promised a new era of equality, democracy, and revitalized nationalism. The book examines closely the fundamental forces behind the revolution along with its failed attempts to improve the country’s fortunes on both the economic and political fronts. Seventeen years later, left wing insurgents in the North who had been active throughout the revolution, overthrew the government, allowing the country’s northernmost province to secede and install a regime guided by yet another brand of Marxism (the Albanian variety) at a time when the ideology was entering a period of historic decline. The book provides an assessment of the policies and practices of the new rulers, how the country is faring under their leadership, and concludes that major challenges remain in the struggle for democracy, fundamental freedoms, national cohesion, and the fight against poverty. The legacy of the country’s past, the continuing struggle for democracy, and the likely direction of the country’s future are the central concerns of the last part of the book. While there is little doubt that the curtain has fallen on Ethiopia’s monarchy, this has not prevented a new breed of tyrants from taking power. Ethiopia’s heritage of autocracy therefore survives, but in a far less paternalistic and more sinister form than before. This leads many to be apprehensive about the prospects for democracy and other key challenges. But the author remains hopeful and offers his perspective in the concluding chapters of the book.

$34.95 each

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