Thu 12:30 PM

Pursuing Performance Legitimacy: Coalition Politics and Institutional Outcomes in Ethiopia and Rwand

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When: Thursday, May 29, 2014
12:30 PM - 1:00 PM  
Where: 620 Library Place, Conference Room  
Evanston, IL 60208 map it
Audience: - Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students
Contact: Program of African Studies   (847) 491-7323
Group: Program of African Studies
Category: Lectures & Meetings
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PAS Affiliates Series

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Pursuing Performance Legitimacy: Coalition Politics and Institutional Outcomes in Ethiopia and Rwanda

Moses Khisa, PhD Candidate, Department of Political Science

Ethiopia and Rwanda are two Sub-Saharan African states at the forefront of engineering accelerated economic growth and state-directed development. This is seen as a consequence of the nature of the state systems constructed under the current regimes. Both countries have relatively robust public administrations, fairly efficient bureaucracies and highly disciplined military and security agencies. On average, they display stronger state capacities than most African states. Yet in both states, decision-making power is highly centralized and personalized. Avenues for elite profiteering are significantly limited while political participation is highly controlled and engineered from the top. This study traces the institutional path taken by these two countries since 1991 (Ethiopia) and 1994 (Rwanda). I argue that failure to build broadly inclusive governing coalitions created huge survival threats to Meles Zenawi’s regime in Ethiopia and Paul Kagame’s in Rwanda. Thus, unlike other authoritarian rulers who legitimate their rule and consolidate their authority through dispensing patronage to elite power brokers, both Meles and Kagame sought legitimacy through socioeconomic transformation and regime stability. To achieve this, they simultaneously personalized decision-making power while at the same time building implementation capacity to both crush their opponents and win over the masses.