ETHIOPIA: The Derg Years [978-1-59-907150-3]


Author : Tesfaye Dinka

ISBN Code : 978-1-59-907150-3
Language : English
Pages number : 330
Format : Paperback; map; illustrations

The intended focus is on Ethiopia, and how national and international developments impacted the country and its people. The performance of the economy is reviewed in some detail, with a view of balancing and correcting the standard dismal narrative—some deliberate—repeated about economic trends during the period.

Named Prime Minister of Ethiopia as one of the last official acts of Lt. Col. Mengistu Hailemariam before he fled the country for exile, Tesfaye Dinka played an integral role in the post-revolutionary era. Neither a comprehensive and well-documented history of the Derg era nor a full-fledged autobiography, the book attempts to provide a brief account of the period from the perspective of a fairly close observer of events and trends.

One of a group of self-described technocrats who quietly struggled behind the scenes to keep the government and industry running smoothly in the midst of the turmoil following the 1974 toppling of Emperor Haile Selassie, former prime minister Tesfaye provides an inside account in which Lt. Col. Mengistu's Derg held Ethiopia in its grip.

As a civilian minister of industry and finance who rose to the highest levels of government, Tesfaye here gives an unflinching account of this crucial period in modern Ethiopian history--from the seizure of power and the execution of former officials, through the internal power struggles, insurgencies, foreign invasions and devastating famine that ultimately led to the undoing of the Derg regime. The main preoccupation of this book is on the central issues of war and peace in general, and the long-drawn-out conflict in Eritrea and to some extent Tigrai.

Set against the backdrop of the rapidly escalating Cold War and including sections of autobiography, this book provides a relatively detailed account of the belated effort to bring about a peaceful resolution of the conflicts in the north, including in particular how and why the 1991 London Peace Conference was aborted before its planned formal opening, and provides essential text for a comprehensive understanding of what happened--and why.


Part I:    The 1974 Revolution and the Rise of the Derg (1974-1978) 

  • Origins of the Revolution
  • The Unfolding of the Revolution and the Emergence of the Mengistu-led Derg
  • Nationalization and Other Radical Economic Measures
  • The Derg’s Early Adversaries: EPRP, Meison, Northern Insurgencies, and Somali Aggressors
  • Dramatic Realignment of Ethiopia’s Foreign Relations

Annex I:  My Schooling and Earlier Years of Public Service

Part II:    Consolidation, Setbacks and Missed Opportunities     (1979-1987)

  • Reconstruction Campaign, Economic Planning and Performance
  • The Red Star Campaign and the Gradual Shift in Military Momentum
  • Rural Shocks: Drought, Relief and Resettlement, and Villagization
  • Establishing the Workers’ Party and the People’s Democratic Republic
  • Missed Opportunities on both the Domestic and International Fronts

Annex II:  More Years at Industry Followed by a Transfer to Finance

Part III:    The End of the Derg Era and the Derailment of a Democratic Transition (1988-1991)

  • The Military Successes and Territorial Gains of the EPLF and the TPLF
  • Deepening Crisis, Attempted Coup, and Belated Reform Proposals
  • The Search for Peaceful Resolution and Related Diplomatic Effort
  • The Collapse of the Army, the Aborted London Conference, and the End of the Derg Era

Annex III: My Continued Membership in Government

  • The Derg’s Legacy and the EPRDF’s Suppression of a Democratic Transition



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