Leadership and the Comparative Origin of Pro-developmental Ruling Coalitions in Ethiopia and Rwanda
Keywords:Collective action, ruling coalition, Leadership, Ethiopia, Rwanda
What does it take to forge a pro-developmental ruling coalition in Africa? This paper answers this question based on a comparative study of the origin of pro-developmental ruling coalitions in Rwanda under Kagame and Ethiopia under Meles. The paper approaches the emergence of pro-developmental ruling coalitions as a collective action problem. It argues that overcoming the two collective action problems of limiting powerful actors` resort to violence in the pursuit of their self-interest; and subordinating their short-term rent-seeking interests to long-term developmental ends, are the sin quo non of forging a pro-developmental ruling coalition. Therefore, to study the origin of pro-developmental coalitions is to study society`s quest to overcome these two collective action problems. The paper maintains that in the quest to overcome these two collective action problems, the agency of leaders is critical because leaders possess a range of ideational, discursive/communicative, and organizational tools that may not be available to other actors. The paper demonstrates this by comparing the role of Meles of Ethiopia and Kagame of Rwanda in the emergence of pro-developmental ruling coalitions in the two countries. The findings of the paper contribute to the literature on coalition formation in Africa and leadership in developing societies.