Indeed, in the past we had folks like Idi Amin, Siad Barre, Mengistu Haile Mariam
, Mobutu Sese Seko and their ilk chairing the AU's predecessor, the OAU.
1991-93: Eritrean rebels, who help overthrow the military-Marxist Ethiopian regime of Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam
, seize the Eritrean capital Asmara.
In 1977, Ethiopia's Marxist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam
But Ethiopia has a long history of being led by authoritarian strongmen figures--before Meles Zenawi it was the military dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam
and before him Emperor Haile Selassie, continuing back to the 19th century and Emperor Tewodros II, who began building the empire that became modern Ethiopia.
But whereas South Africa had put in place a robust set of institutional safeguards in the wake of its transition from apartheid, Ethiopia, after the overthrow of Mengistu Haile Mariam
's dictatorship, never managed to build national institutions strong enough to save the country from the ruling party.
Desalegn became prime minister in 2012 after the death of Meles Zenawi, who came to power in 1991 after toppling the dictatorship of Mengistu Haile Mariam
. After Desalegn's resignation, a state of emergency was declared - the second time since 2016 that Ethiopia has issued an emergency decree.
Unfortunately again or perhaps fortunate for him, Mengistu Haile Mariam
's socialist regime got overthrown over there and the SPLM/A split bloodily where Gai Nyok had to run back to Southern Sudan and after in 1992 to Kakuma, a refugee camp in northern Kenya, as one of the nearly 20,000 Lost Boys of the Sudan known also as SPLM/A child soldiers (the Red Army).
1991: Mengistu Haile Mariam
, president of the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, flees Ethiopia, effectively bringing the Ethiopian Civil War to an end.
In the Horn of Africa, the pro-Moscow Mengistu Haile Mariam
seized power as Carter started his presidency.
Ethiopia has undergone a remarkable transformation under his strongman rule since 1991, when his Tigrayan minority group from the country's north came to power with the overthrow of the odious Communist Derg led by Mengistu Haile Mariam
(who is still enjoying a comfortable retirement in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe).
Meles, who quit medical school to join the guerrilla force that toppled the dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam
in 1991, put Ethiopia on the front lines of the war on terrorism, dispatching troops to Somalia against the radical Islamic Courts movement linked to al-Qaida.