2013, Jose Adrian Garcia-Rojas
(Abstract) Federalism is one of the most common solutions are offered to solve the problems in divided societies. Only a few countries have federal experiences conducted in Africa. Among them, Nigeria is the only one maintained in its Constitution federalism since its independence. These institutional arrangements are slowly extended to other countries from the mid 90s. Ethiopia and the Union of the Comoros. Ethiopia and the Union of Comoros introduced federalism in their constitutions as a way to end secessionist trends that had led these countries to situations of state collapse. Nigeria and Ethiopia are deeply divided societies religiously and ethnically. However, Comoros is a homogeneous society in ethnic and religious terms, but strongly divided for reasons of being an archipelagic State. In all three cases offer different institutional arrangements, ranging from the creation of ethnically homogeneous member states, as in Nigeria, to the rotation between the different member states of the presidency, as in Comoros, or opening the institutional channels for possible independence of any of the member states, such as Ethiopia. Nevertheless, none of these three African federal experiences seems to solve successfully all the problems of their divided societies on its configuration as nation states, not seem to put an end to the centrifugal tendencies of certain parts of their territories. Either way, his remarkable institutional differences, these countries seem to have channeled, with varying success, some of the problems that prevented them from living without the constant threat of rupture of the State.
2008, Aregawi Berhe
“This book is a study of the origins and evolution of an Ethiopian insurgent movement, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, that emerged some 34 years ago and has determined much of contemporary Ethiopia’s political development. The study is primarily a narrative political and military history but also intends to address general sociological issues of ethnic-based inequality, political conflict, social mobilization and revolutionary armed resistance in a developing country.”
2013, TEMESGEN THOMAS HALABO
This study explored the ethnic quest for self-governance and their management under Ethiopian federal system by focusing on experience from the Southern Regional State. The FDRE constitution has created a positive interrelationship between practicing the right to self-determination and ethnic identity thereby recognizing this right to ethnically defined groups. Therefore, it is justifiable and legitimate for all ethnically defined groups to claim the right to self- determination. The main objective of this study was to examine the ethnic claims for self-governance in multi-ethnic Southern Regional State within the context of Ethiopian ethnic federal system. This study was based on qualitative method approach and the study employed a number of data collection methods such as data from primary and archival sources and secondary literature. The finding of the study revealed that by merging very diverse ethno-linguistic groups into one federated unit, the Southern Nation Nationalities and Peoples Regional State, the existing political system has created minority-within-minority. As a result, those ethnic groups who have been given their own sub-regional administrative units have acquired political majority over the subsumed ethnic groups. This, in turn, has created a feeling of being dominated and marginalized by the subsumed ethnic groups. This is the basic cause for continuing dynamics of ethnic claims for self-governance at Regional, Zonal and Woreda status in this Regional State. The study recommended that the Southern Regional State should be restructured to accommodate continuing dynamics of ethnic claims for self-governance.
2003, Abu Girma Moges
Abstract: Fiscal federalism is a process of redistribution of fiscal decision-making power in an effort to improve the performance of the public sector in resource mobilization, efficient resource allocation and in the process enabling the economy achieve fast and sustainable economic growth. This paper addresses the economic rationale, implications and concerns of pursuing fiscal federalism in a poor country and in a political environment of ethnic federalism. The main findings suggest that when fiscal decentralization is exercised with high horizontal and vertical imbalances, it fails to diversify public output in line with the preferences and priorities of local population and to internalize the decisions of regional governments within their own jurisdictions. This in turn encourages the prevalence of big and yet weak government that extracts resources and fails to allocate for the purpose of sustainable and shared economic growth.
2004, Elana A. Baylis
Unresolved ethnic conflicts threaten the stability and the very existence of multi-ethnic states. Ethnically divided states have struggled to build structural safeguards against such disputes into their political and legal systems, but these safeguards have not been able to prevent all conflict. Accordingly, multi-ethnic states facing persistent ethnic conflicts need to develop effective dispute resolution systems for resolving those conflicts. This presents an important question: what kinds of processes and institutions might enable ethnic groups to resolve their conflicts with each other and the state? This Article explores that question, reviewing the inter-disciplinary literature on ethnic conflicts, the legal literature on legal process and conflict resolution, and a case study of ethnic conflicts and conflict resolution in Ethiopia. At crucial moments in the development of an ethnic conflict, legal processes such as mediation, arbitration or constitutional interpretation might play a role in resolving the dispute. But ethnic conflict resolution institutions and processes must be carefully designed to take account of the variety, complexity and dynamics of ethnic conflicts, and to address the substantial number of ethnic groups and interests that diverge from the "minority rights" legal model. Ultimately, the Ethiopian example calls on us to consider whether and how legal processes might be able to ameliorate the threat posed by ethnic conflict.
Tsegaye Regassa, 2010
Ethiopia has been experimenting with federalism for several years now. Its accent on ethno-linguistic criteria for state formation, its constitutional recognition of the right to secession, the unusual mode of constitutional adjudication through the House of Federation (a body that is analogous to an upper house of a bicameral legislature), the de facto asymmetry that persists in spite of the de jure symmetry, the lack of explicit textual recognition of federal supremacy and the consequent parallelism/dualism noted in federal practice, among other things, have attracted attention both in academic and non-academic circles. This article seeks to reflect upon whether the Ethiopian federal experiment can offer some lessons to other countries of the Horn of Africa who feel the similar burden of diversity, conflict, and insecurity. In other words, it inquires into the “exportability” of the Ethiopian brand of federalism. In so doing, it first seeks to descriptively situate federalism in Ethiopia’s past and present. Then it weighs the (ir)relevance of the Ethiopian federal experiment to the countries in the sub-region by looking into the significance of multi-ethnic federalism for internal peace and stability, for entrenchment of ethno-cultural justice and for governance of diversity, and for the prospect of regional integration. In the quest for a potential ‘market’ to export to, this piece reflects on the factors that facilitate the migration of law (e.g. success at home, prestige abroad, and the psychology of the countries of the sub-region which inevitably is informed by a history of chequered relations, etc). In this way, it seeks to examine the comparative relevance of the Ethiopian federal experiment to other countries with a common set of ailments to deal with.
Fisseha Yacob Belay, 2016
This research, using critical qualitative research methods, explores the conceptualization and impact of multiculturalism within the Ethiopian education context. The essence of multiculturalism is to develop harmonious coexistence among people from diverse ethnic, social and cultural backgrounds. The current Ethiopian regime has used the ethnic federalism policy to restructure Ethiopia’s geopolitical, social and education policies along ethnic and linguistic lines. The official discourse of Ethiopian ethnic federalism and multicultural policies has emphasized the liberal values of diversity, tolerance, and recognition of minority groups. However, its application has resulted in negative ethnicity and social conflicts among different ethnic groups.
Two universities, one in Oromia and another in Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s (SNNP) region, were selected using purposive sampling for this study. Document analysis and in-depth interviews were used to collect data from ten professors, ten students and three curricular experts. The findings of this study revealed that Ethiopian multiculturalism has stemmed from the ethnic federalism political system; however, participants’ conceptualizations ranged from unity to division and difference to allegiance. Data further revealed that the impact of multiculturalism in the Ethiopian education system has involved mother tongue usage, quality of education, lack of leadership and foreign policy, while the impact on inter-ethnic relationships includes the declining social cohesion, the rise of ‘narrow nationalism’ and the implication of ethnic conflicts. This study discusses the effects the politics on language use, the declining quality of education and policy transfer all have within the Ethiopian education system. In addition, the study addresses the proliferation of negative ethnicity and the path to genocide. Finally, it makes recommendations to educators and policy makers to improve the education system as well as provide an environment to cultivate ethnic harmonious coexistence.
Kostas Loukeris, 2004
This paper discusses the contending political ideologies in Ethiopia after 1991, i.e. in the past decade. Such a discussion is of paramount importance if one aims to understand contemporary Ethiopian politics and controversies and at the same time situate oneself within the historical moment that gave birth to them. More precisely one has to investigate how current political ideologies are linked to the ways intellectuals have been 'produced' in Ethiopia. I am of the opinion that all political ideologies currently promoted in Ethiopia share the commonality of political exclusion. This means that all of them are based on particular characteristics that force other Ethiopian citizens to either accept them and thus deny their own ideological orientation or feel excluded from its political system. These processes create grievances and breed conflict.
George Anderson, 2013
Federal and devolved systems of government are based on a territorial delimitation into political states, provinces or regions (constituent units: CUs). When previously unitary countries enter into a constitutional transition to federalism, delimiting the new CUs can be politically controversial and even an obstacle to achieving federalism. Several countries have confronted this issue recently or are currently engaged in doing so. Their success has varied considerably. This paper looks at the experiences of over 20 federal and quasi-federal countries in defining new CUs. It examines both the issues around CU definition during a period of constitutional transition as well as the rules that have been developed for the incremental creation of new CUs once a federal constitution has been adopted. Some lessons are drawn regarding approaches to timing of CU definition, criteria, decision-making processes during transitions and longer-term rules that may be appropriate in different contexts.
Elliott Green, 2011
A growing literature in political science has examined the impact of democratization on decentralization without much attention, however, to how decentralization influences political opposition movements. In order to help fill this gap, in this article I examine two case studies of decentralization in Africa, namely Sudan’s experiment with decentralization in the 1970s and Ethiopia’s more recent experience with decentralization since the 1990s. In the former case political opposition pressured the government to abandon decentralization in the South, leading to a renewed civil war and a successful coup d’état, while in the latter case the political opposition has both remained fragmented and failed to gain a foothold in a series of national elections. I argue that the key reason for these divergent outcomes was the differing equality of decentralization. More specifically, inasmuch as Sudanese decentralization initially only applied to the South, political opposition in the North remained united and instead focused its attentions on Khartoum. In Ethiopia, however, President Zenawi’s regime introduced an equitable form of ethnic federalism across eleven regions, which quickly became a site for political party competition and fragmentation. This article thus suggests that equitable decentralization can promote opposition political party fragmentation.
Shimeles Kassa Kebede, 2015
The central objective of this study is to examine democratization process and evaluate the performance of good governance post 1991 in Ethiopia. To this end qualitative methodology was employed to gather data from different secondary sources. Based up on the data the study revealed that Ethiopia was experienced various forms of state building. Pre 1991 centuries of oppressive autocratic regimes have contributed to deeply rooted undemocratic political culture and generally submissive behavior of citizens vis-a vis the state. But, post 1991 FDRE Constitution, espouses parliamentary federalism, contains a bill of rights guarantying freedom, equality and social justice. So that the coming of EPRDF in to power in the country is a land mark for country`s transition to democracy and good governance though the problem of good governance is very rampant in the country. When the EPRDF regime took power in 1991, different legal reforms which are essential for the realization of democracy and good governance have been undertaken. Some of the initial measures undertaken include the participation of political parties in the political discourse, decentralization and adoption of federalism and parliamentary system. The FDRE constitution further provides for the protection of different democratic rights such as the right to hold opinion, thoughts and freedom of assembly, public demonstration and the right to petition etc. But, in the country democratic institution and governance performance cannot reach reliable stage of development. There is a problem of implementation on the ground from the formal rhetoric provided in the constitution. For example in light of major variables of good governance such as legitimacy, accountability, transparency of government activities, rule of law as well as competency of government, the Ethiopian governance performance proved to be one of the low performing systems in the world.
The major problem can be best categorized in the following three areas: problems of implementation, problems of interpretation, and problems related to legal lacuna and shortcomings of legislative framework.
The language based federal arrangement is a new frontier under the Ethiopia political scenario. Unlike
the previous regime which overlooked various ethnic groups of the nation, the current political system
recognized the presence of multiplicity of ethnic identity and taken it as a main political value for the
reengineering of the present Ethiopia. Initially, it seems the solution that responds old nationality
question of the country through recognizing each ethnic group as an equal partner of the federal
arrangement with the power to administer its internal affairs autonomously. Hence, it brought a modest
peace and stability so that the economy of the state arguably, registered a double digit growth for the
last two decades. As time goes, for the past two decades, however, unmanageable problem has being
emerged throughout the country. A continuous claim for recognition of new identity, high potential for
secessionist demand, problem of demarcation of internal territory between ethno-nationalist region, and the issue of irredentism, and indigenous-settler dichotomy brought pervasive and protracted conflict between different ethnic groups which become the cause for the casualty of human life and destruction of resources. This article therefore try to assess whether ethnic based federalism is feasible or not in
Ethiopia, to investigate the root cause of ethnic based and boundary related conflicts that are observing
now in different parties of the state.
The Ethio-Eritrean war (1998-2000) is often considered a turning point in the nationalist discourse of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and the main cause of the reactivation of a strong Pan-Ethiopian nationalism (here taken as synonymous with Ethiopianness), after the introduction of “ethnic federalism” in 1995. This paper argues that Pan-Ethiopian and “ethnic” nationalism coexisted in TPLF/EPRDF’s nationalism before the 1998-2000 war. As a political and pragmatic tool to grasp and keep power, the “multifaceted” nationalism of the EPRDF was adapted and adjusted to new circumstances. This explains the ease with which Pan-Ethiopianism was reactivated and reinvented from 1998 onwards. In this process, the 2005 general elections and the rise of opposition groups defending a Pan-Ethiopian nationalism also represented an important influence in EPRDF’s nationalist adjustment.
State-building establishes state-nation (s) [the state that makes diversity and democracy possible] as opposed to nation-building [which urges to create one nation (nation-state) without due consideration of diversity]. Through the institutional, policy and politico-psychological innovations, state-building is geared to accommodate diversity and ensure democratic good governance. In this regard, federal governance has the potential to do so as it combines elements of shared-rule and regional self-rule. Since 1991, Ethiopia has been in the track of state-building project experimenting identity-based federal model on one hand and lavishly adding (un) responsive strategies. This paper argues responsive state-building strategies consolidate federal democracy; foster culture of accommodating and managing diversity; strengthens federal decentralization and resolves conflict in Ethiopia. To the contrary, the paper challenges any unresponsive state-building approach that emanate from government’s ideology, policy, practice on one hand and unconstitutional ways of peoples’ reaction to the state.
Referring to Aristotle’s "Politics", we define "ethical altruistic voting" in a multi-ethnic developing country as the individual’s renouncement of voting for an ethnic party that will favour his ethnic group at the expense of all others regarding public good allocation, so as to promote instead an "Ethiopia-oriented" party struggling for an equitable allocation of public good among ethnic groups. Ethical altruistic voting may thus be considered as a way of preventing internal conflicts from emerging in the political community, and of creating instead a state of concord potentially favouring economic growth and poverty reduction.
In this paper, we investigate whether "ethical altruistic voting" exists in such a framework, by focusing on Ethiopian politics where ethnicity has been widely politicized over the last decade by the Tigray-based ruling party EPRDF. We exploit the results of a questionnaire submitted for that purpose to 331 students from the Addis Ababa University in May 2004. Respondents’ political preferences are revealed through an "approval voting" question and a "voting" question.
We implement a three-step analysis.
We first address the complex issue of ethnicity in Ethiopia by high-lighting how it has been manipulated by the current political elite to implement a "divide and rule" strategy.
We then model a utility function showing individuals’ trade-off˙ be-tween egoism and ethical altruism and predict, according to the degree of ethical altruism, the results of both the "approval voting" and the "voting" questions.
We finally test these predictions by relying on a probit analysis af-ter having made sure that our understanding of the Ethiopian political landscape coincides with the students’ one.
Our results not only demonstrate the existence of ethical altruistic vot-ing, but also its strong impact on individuals’ vote. Indeed, we show that being an ethical altruist decreases the probability of voting for ethnicity-oriented parties rather than for Ethiopia-oriented parties by almost one half, and more fundamentally reverses the outcome of people’s vote com-pared to the case where they are egoists.
In this setting, the resounding victory of CUD, a newly-formed coali-tion of "Ethiopia-oriented" opposition parties that won 20 out of 23 seats dedicated to Addis Ababa at the House of People’s Representatives during last May 2005 national elections, may partly illustrate ethical altruistic voting behaviours on the part of Ethiopian citizens.
For more than two decades, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi managed Ethiopia’s political, ethnic and religious divides and adroitly kept the TFPL and EPRDF factions under tight control by concentrating power, gradually closing political space and stifling any dissent. His death poses serious risks to the ruling party’s tenure. Deprived of its epicentre, the regime will find it very difficult to create a new centre of gravity. In the short-term, a TPLF-domina-ted transition will produce a weaker regime that probably will have to rely increasingly on repression to manage growing unrest.
The international community ignored and to some degree supported the authoritarian tendencies. It preferred short-term security to long-term stability and turned a blind eye to growing dissatisfaction that in the absence of political space is being channeled along ethnic and religious lines, potentially radicalising society. In the post-Meles era, it needs instead to push the ruling party to revive the rights and freedoms of the 1994 constitution and promote inclu-sive reforms as the only way to ensure internal and regional stability, as well as durable development.
It is argued that in order to evaluate the capacity of the Ethiopian federal structure to accommodate ethnic diversity and to regulate ethnic conflicts, the research cannot be limited to an analysis of the constitutional mechanisms at the federal level. One of the crucial features of the Ethiopian federal structure is that it provides its nine regions with the power to enact their internal constitutions. This implies that each and every region has the power to develop its own internal state structure, within a minimum federal framework. From here it follows that the federal structure to have the potential to lay the foundations for a viable Ethiopian state, it is essential that not only the federal but also the regional constitutional mechanisms have the capacity to realize unity in diversity. As is explained in this article, not a single Ethiopian region is ethnically homogeneous. The ethnic diversity which characterizes the federal level is therefore also present at the regional level. Therefore, when evaluating the capacity of the Ethiopian state structure to accomplish unity in diversity one also has to include an analysis of the regional mechanisms. The latter analysis is the core objective of this article.
Despite the EPRDF’s authoritarianism and reluctance to accept genuine multi-party competition, political positions and parties have proliferated in recent years. This process, however, is not driven by democratization or the inclusion of opposition parties in representative institutions. Rather it is the result of a continuous polarisation of national politics that has sharpened tensions between and within parties and ethnic groups since the mid-1990s. The EPRDF’s ethnic federalism has not dampened con-flict, but rather increased competition among groups that vie over land and natural resources, as well as adminis-trative boundaries and government budgets.
Abbink, Jon (2009),
Eighteen years after the change of power and the ushering in of the second Ethiopian republic in 1991, the political process in Ethiopia has, according to most observers, rigidified and largely closed the space for rep-resentative democracy. This paper will look at the main organizing political ideas or ideology of the current Ethiopian republic and to the nature of its governance techniques in the face of domestic and international challenges with reference to the debate on “failing” or “fragile” states. The new “social contract” defined after 1991 and codified in the 1994 Constitution is pre-carious. Dissent and ethno-regional resistance to federal policies are dealt with mainly by coercion and discursive isolation. Oppositional forces voice the need for a rethinking of the organizing ideas and institutions of the sec-ond republic in order to enhance political consensus and a shared political arena, but get little response.
The paper will sketch an interpretation of governance in Ethiopia, fo-cusing on the dilemma of reconciling local and modernist political practices, and will discuss the status of “republican” ideas, in name important in Ethiopia but mostly absent in practice. Explicit debate of these ideas is usu-ally sidelined – also in academic commentaries – in favour of a focus on the ethno-federal ideology of the Ethiopian state.
The Ethiopian Constitution has the makings of a grand tool that will promote democracy, human rights and individual liberties, despite some structural flaws. The key to Ethiopia's success will be its ability to promote economic development, which will be seen as time progresses. Hopefully, as the economy develops, so will the other rights so closely linked to the nation's economic prosperity.
If each tribe in Ethiopia claimed to be a separate nation within Ethiopia, surely it would result in Ethiopia's demise. Ethiopia as a nation of tribes would be disheartening. By recognizing Ethiopia's constituent parts, this situation can be averted. A Constitution that ignored Ethiopia's ethnic groups under the false veil of one culture, presumably the Amharic culture, before allowing Ethiopia a chance to develop a unique culture of its own, would blind the Ethiopian people to a strong ethnic reality and reduce their voice to the meaningless semantics of the Ethiopian Constitution. As Gibran also said, "Woe to the nation, whose sage is voiceless, whose champion is blind, whose advocate is a prattler."
Abdi Ismail Samatar
Given the variety of ways of orchestrat ing a democratic future, here are four real possibilities in Ethiopia. First, the gov erning party can bury its head in the sand and continue to intimidate the public in order to hang on to power. Such a strategy is destined to fail. The only way a coalition with TPLF can have a life span longer than the next five years in a democratically inclined Ethiopia is to undertake a transparent and serious analysis of the ethnic formula and why the voters rejected the party that liberated the country from a fascist dictatorship. Such re-assessment must be qualita tively different from past gimgemes in which certain groups had the privilege to scrutinize the 'wrong-doings' of un derprivileged groups. Endorsing this ap proach does not guarantee TPLF's continued dominance but it will give the country the chance to build on the progressive contributions made in the early 1990s and transcend political eth nicity. Second, the chauvinist opposition could aim to seize power using massive street demonstration in Addis Ababa in order to reinvent Amhara dominance over three-quarters of the national popu lation who are non-Amhara. This strat egy will also lead to a dead-end. Third, the progressive elements of the opposi tion from various regions have an occa sion to embark on the creation of a national civic movement which is re spectful of cultural differences among the population, but that does not ossify it into state-sanctioned political identity. Establishing such a movement will re quire incredible dedication and good faith, an uncommon feature of Ethiopian politics. One of the key challenges for such a movement is how to build trust among a new generation of leaders that are genuinely representative. Creating such a movement is the most exigent route but could also be the most promis ing avenue to a civic future. Finally, a combination of circumstances driven by current political pressures might lead to a calamitous end. A cunning but dishon est TPLF remains dominant, an opposi tion that is driven by the tribal haughtiness or lust for power, and a disorganised public alienated from national politics could usher the end of Ethiopia as one country. This is the nature of the crossroads which the 2005 election signifies: reject ethnic chauvinism, respect cultural differences, and nurture a just civic federation, or perish.
Results of the implementation of Ethiopian ethnic federal-ism are remarkably anomalous even after this political order has been in place for more than two decades. Among others, the anomaly is evident within the range of ethnic groups existing at the local level. In particular minorities that share a federal state within majorities have not obtained equitable positive change from the federal system. Investigation of the impact on their social, economic, and political life shows that indeed they are inadequately accommodated to the extent they are promised at the level of constitutional promulgation. For some, the era of federalism has become even the era of old and/or new predicaments. As an illustration, this article assesses the case of a minority group Known as Kumpal in the lowland of Northwest Ethiopia. Among the all-rounded problems of the Kumpal, the pa-per only takes into account the case of the unchecked influx of the highland population into their land and some of the predicaments ensuing from them.
Abdi Ismail Samatar
One of the biggest obstacles to Ethiopia benefiting from the EPRDF’s devolutionary policies does not lie, as the government’s actions seem to suggest, with Amhara chauvinists wanting to resurrect a past ethnic hegemony which is surely buried, but with the Front’s contumacious implementation of the policy, and its effort to control virtually every facet of the political process.
Berhanu Abegaz (2015)
This note offers tentative thoughts on the consequences for Ethiopia of atavistic political ethnicity. It does this by looking at the dilemma facing the Amara, as the prominent upholders of Ethiopian nationalism and hence as targets of ethnicist persecution, through the prism of the incomplete project of transforming Ethiopia from a historic Christian state into a modern supraethnic republican state. It will hopefully throw some light on the tepid response from the Amara so far, and on the inherent danger of infantile ethnocentrism for the national political fabric.
Abebaw Yirga Adamu (2014)
Multiculturalism is one of the guiding values that universities in Ethiopia promote and uphold in pursuance of their mission. Universities also aspire to create a campus climate in which everyone feels welcome, and which contributes to facilitate and improve students’ personal and social development. The first step toward creating such an environment is to understand the campus climate for diversity in each university. The purpose of this study was to provide a better understanding of the campus climate for diversity in Bahir Dar University (BDU) by examining different elements of the campus climate with regard to ethnic and religious diversity. The study was guided by a framework for understanding the campus climate for diversity. The research design was a qualitative case study. Interviews were used to generate data from students, teachers, managers and staff. Focus groups and document review were also used to collect data from students and documents respectively. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. The results show that BDU has an ethnically and religiously diverse student population, but there is a numerical dominance of one ethnic group which in turn contributed to a numerical dominance of one religious group. The campus community has generally a positive perception of diversity and diverse student population. The results also show that there are more positive relationships between members of different religious groups than between different ethnic groups. Students often ignore or avoid discussing religion-related issues with outgroup members. They also lack interest in discussing ethnic-related issues with ethnic outgroup members. There are also ethnic and religious tensions and conflicts on campus due to various reasons. Although BDU has identified promoting diversity as one of its core values, it lacks developing good strategies, implementing diversity-related plans, and supporting diversity-related programs and activities. To enhance a positive campus climate for diversity the University should provide more opportunities to create diversity awareness as well as to facilitate positive intergroup contacts and relations. The government of Ethiopia also should understand the impact of some of its policies, strategies and political system on the campus climate for diversity.
Chase E. Riddle (2015)
This paper presents a new way to understand the occurrence of ethnic discrimination within Ethiopia. I argue that during the time studied, 1950-1992, the more culturally similar five lesser ethnic groups were with a dominant ethnic group’s culture the less amount of political discrimination they faced from this dominant ethnic group. Using Minorities at Risk data in addition to a cultural similarity scale I have created I argue that ethnic discrimination levels within Ethiopia fluctuated over time due to the level of shared cultural traits a certain group had at any given point with the dominant Amharan ethnic group culture. Ultimately I am able to show that Amharan culture acted “behind the scenes” as a dominate force within the Ethiopian state and such an observation can be used by scholars moving forward to better understand why certain ethnic groups are discriminated against more so than others within Ethiopia.
Temesgen Thomas Halabo (2016)
Despite the evolution of multiethnic Ethiopia by territorial conquest, successive feudal regimes were embarked on hegemonic project of building a nation–state. However, this had brought the National Questions as the politico-ideological agenda by the Ethiopian Student Movement (ESM). The ESM advocated Marxist–Leninism as their ideological curricula and promoted self–determination up to secession as a solution to the National Questions. Descended from the ESM, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and its satellite armed groups assumed the state power as the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) after waging a successful armed struggle against socialist military regime in 1991. As a legitimate response to the National Questions, the TPLF/ EPRDF adopted a federal system that was explicitly based on ethnicity and formalized ethnic rights to self-determination up to secession. By transforming itself into multi-ethnic EPRDF, the TPLF enlarged its programme and ideology nationwide with the ambition of creating a renewed, ‘revolutionary–democratic centralist federalism’ instead of an enforced unitary state. Accordingly, the normative base for ethnic federalism in Ethiopia is undoubtedly connected with ideology of the TPLF. With its triple radical and pioneering approaches: federalism, ethnicity and principle of self–determination, Ethiopia has gone further than any other African states and further than almost any state worldwide.
Muhabie Mekonnen Mengistu (2015)
Being one of the most diverse nations in the world, Ethiopia is not an exception to be free from ethnic conflicts due to its weak political structures and mal governance. The existing ethnic federal arrangement of EPRDF is devised with the aim to accommodate the interests of distinct ethnic groups in Ethiopia. Meanwhile, it is still subject to criticisms. Hence, this study questions whether the contemporary ethnic federalism in Ethiopia enables to manage ethnic conflicts or exacerbates them due to its theoretical and empirical applicability. The study is entirely based on secondary sources of data that were interpreted using a mix of interpretivism and constructivism to guide the qualitative method of research. The findings of the study revealed that ethnic federal model of Ethiopia, which solely or majorly formed on the basis of ethno-linguistic lines in most, but not all situations exacerbate and/or generate and transform ethnic conflicts from national into lower structural levels. Thus, a mixed federal system that guarantees ethnic groups self-governance with high inducements for integration and inter-ethnic collaboration is a suggestive solution to move federalism forward in Ethiopia.
Alem Habtu (2003)
In 1991 Ethiopia established an ethnic federal system that gave full recognition to ethnic autonomy, while maintaining the unity of the state. Its new constitution created a federal system largely consisting of ethnic-based territorial units. The constitution aspires to achieve ethnic autonomy and equality while maintaining the state. The federal system is significant in that its constitution provides for secession of any ethnic unit. It encourages political parties to organize along ethnic lines, and champions an ethnicized federal state with a secession option. As an exception to the general pattern in Africa, it is a worthy case study. The paper has four interrelated objectives. First, it situates the Ethiopian case in comparative perspective. Second, it provides an overview of ethnic diversity in Ethiopia. Third, it analyzes the evolution and structure of ethnic federalism in Ethiopia. Fourth, it attempts to provide a preliminary appraisal of its success and failure thus far and to speculate on its future prospects.
Bekalu Atnafu Taye (2016?)
The current regime in Ethiopia adopted ethnic federalism and redesigned the country along ethnic lines as soon as it took political power in 1991. The aim of this article is to examine the prevalence of ethnic conflict in Ethiopia and to evaluate the potential causes of the conflicts that followed in the past twenty-five years. There are competing claims, for and against federalism. And though it may be accurate to state that the founding principles of federalism have few ideological shortcomings, it may be that technicality issues (types and forms) may hamper the imposed federal system in Ethiopian. Thus, ethnic conflicts prevailing in Ethiopia may be caused by such technicality problems and the ethnic federal arrangement in Ethiopia needs an urgent reconsideration before the case moves to the worst scenario.
Fessha, Yonatan Tesfaye and Van der Beken, Christophe (2013)
Not a single federal arrangement has been successful in demarcating the territorial matrix of the federation into separate ethnically defined territorial units. The decade-old federal experiment in Ethiopia is no exception to the impractical reality of creating ethnically pure sub-national units. Although the internal structure of the federation, by and large, follows an ethnic line, ethnic minorities are found in the midst of most, if not all, regionally empowered ethnic groups. This has brought to the fore issues about the majority–minority tension at the level of the sub-national units or, as they are called in Ethiopia, regions. The status and treatment of those who do not belong to the empowered regional majority has emerged as a thorny issue that has bedeviled the federal experiment.
The aim of this contribution is to examine whether the federal system adopted in Ethiopia responds adequately to the challenges of internal minorities. It, in particular, examines whether the federal arrangement provides for appropriate institutional solutions to the tensions that exist between regionally empowered groups and their internal minorities. Before discussing the Ethiopian case, however, the article, in the following section, casts the issue in the context of multi-ethnic federations. By doing so, it seeks to show that the problem of internal minorities is not unique to the federal arrangement in Ethiopia.
Lovise Aalen (2006)
Together with a large part of the states on the African continent, Ethiopia struggles with a double challenge: how to accommodate an ethnically diverse population and at the same time enhance democracy.
Vick Lukwago SSALI
Ethiopia is another of the few functioning federations in Africa, and it has undergone two arrangements during two distinct periods: the period of formal federation between Eritrea and Ethiopia (1952-1962) and the current federal experiment in ʻethnic federalismʼ since the adoption of the 1991 charter.
Any attempt to suppress or ignore ethnic concerns would only provoke violent resistance where the power of ethnicity could be unleashed. Facing ethnicity directly but rationally would lead to a more peaceful and acceptable solution. This is not beyond the scope of a reasoning man or woman. Therefore the need of building democratic institutions that can sustain the free expression of the Ethiopian people at individual or group level in a participatory modus operandi should be the urgent task of all democrats if Ethiopia is to be relieved from the vicious agony of ethnic conflicts and traverse through the path of peace, stability and development. A federalism established with the consent of the people, and only in such a process could claim to be genuine.
Marc Michaelson (1999)
Edmond J. Keller (2002) only abstract
Ethiopia has embarked upon what it claims to be a novel experiment in “ethnic federalism”. The ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democracy Front has asserted that it is intent on forthrightly addressing the claims of ethnic groups in the country of historic discrimination and inequality, and to build a multi-ethnic democracy. The essay critically assesses this effort, concentrating on the emerging relations between the federal and regional state governments. Particular attention is given to the strategy of revenue sharing as a mechanism for addressing regional inequities. Where appropriate, comparisons are made with the federal system in Nigeria, Africa’s most well-known federal system. The article concludes that, while there may be federal features and institutions normally found in democracies, Ethiopia has not constructed a system of democratic federalism. Moreover, rather than empowering citizens at the grassroots level, Ethiopia tightly controls development and politics through regional state governments, with very little popular decision making in the development process.
Alemante G. Selassie (2003)
A salient characteristic of SSA states is ethnic heterogeneity. Most SSA states contain a number of ethnic groups (as many as 250 in Nigeria). These groups view themselves not only as being different from other ethnic groups, but also frequently self-identify, or are identified, with particular regions of a country.
The arguments considered in this Article suggest three important lessons for African states. The first is that it behooves African constitution-makers to recognize that ethnicity is an important source of individual and group selfidentification. As such, if the integrity of an SSA state as a unit of politics is to be preserved, it must accommodate collective claims rooted in ethnic identity. An equally important lesson is that, in cases where pressures for ethnic autonomy exist, it is unwise to retain unitary state structures in the face of such pressures. Dogged resistance to these pressures will only help exacerbate ethnic tension and discord. The final lesson pertains to the actual configuration of the federation and the particular manner in which ethnicity is accommodated territorially. Devolution of territorial power to discrete ethnic groups exacerbates ethnic tension even more than a unitary state system does. Accordingly, African states would do well to consider alternative approaches when faced with the question of how peoples of varying cultural and ethnic identities may harmoniously coexist within the same polity. In this writer's view, federalism should certainly serve as the starting point in the search for a solution. To prove workable, however, such a solution must result from the weighing of a number of factors, including the need to promote national unity and state integrity, economic interdependence, human rights, and the wishes of the people.
Institute for Peace and Security Studies (2010)
What is on offer in these pages is representative research by young scholars in peace and security studies. The work ranges from urban communities to varied rural communities. Sources of conflict examined are many: differences and rivalries over cultural identity; in-tensified competition for scarce resources aggravated by environmental degradation, to-gether with new weapons and borders. Other new phenomenon considered include the growing trend in privatization of the provision of public goods such as security and pun-ishment, a trend giving rise to new challenges in public regulation and accountability.
Hailie E. Ayichew (2015)
Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic nation with cultural differences between its component ethnic groups. From the north to the south, the range in types of social system, dress, diet and languages far exceeds that to be found elsewhere in the world. This diversity has resulted into two major problems namely: conflict between ethnic groups and the hostility that derives from competition between people for wealth and power. Since EPRDF controlled the power throne in 1991, there are extreme conflicts among different Ethnic groups. EPRDF has been using boldly ethnicity to stay on power by creating conflicts among ethnic groups and to manipulate, to oppress, persecute, revenge, and disappearance of people who stand against the EPRDF propaganda. EPRDF higher officials and prominent figures are the main calibrates in creating conflicts between ethnic groups to assure continuation of the regime. This paper examines ethnic politics and its effect on democracy in Ethiopia.
Jon Abbink (2012)
One of the core principles instituted by the post-1991 government in Ethiopia that took power after a successful armed struggle was ethnic-based federalism, informed by a neo-Leninist political model called revolutionary democracy. In this model, devised by the reigning Tigray People’s Liberation Front (later EPRDF), ethnic identity was to be the basis of politics. Identities of previously non-dominant groups were constitutionally recognized and the idea of pan-Ethiopian identity de-emphasized. This article examines the general features and effects of this new political model, often dubbed an ‘‘experiment’’, with regard to ideas of federal democracy, socio-economic inclusiveness, and ethno-cultural and political rights. After 20 years of TPLF/EPRDF rule, the dominant rhetorical figure in Ethiopian politics is that of ethnicity, which has permeated daily life and overtaken democratic decision-making and shared issue-politics. The federal state, despite according nominal decentralized power to regional and local authorities, is stronger than any previous Ethiopian state and has developed structures of central control and top-down rule that preclude local initiative and autonomy. Ethnic and cultural rights were indeed accorded, and a new economic dynamics is visible. Political liberties, respect for human rights and economic equality are however neglected, and ethnic divisions are on the increase, although repressed. Ethiopia’s recent political record thus shows mixed results, with positive elements but also an increasingly authoritarian governance model recalling the features of the country’s traditional hierarchical and autocratic political culture. This may produce more debate on the need for ‘‘adjusting the experiment’’.
Ethnicism seems to define Ethiopian politics. It is a common denominator to the ruling party and the opposition. The two, precisely speaking, have a lot in common than their differences. If they differ at all, it is related to getting supremacy and power. The less the difference exists between the ruling party and the opposition, the more frustrating and meaningless would be the political struggle. That is mainly why we do not see any promising development both from Ethiopia and abroad. If the opposition really care about and for Ethiopian politics, they must think and act out of their boxes- their ethnicity. Ethiopia is much more than the sum of all the political parties and ethnic groups.
This paper is presented in two parts. The first part presents the historical account of federalism, i.e. its evolution and purpose, what federalism is and the different flavors of federalism. The second part of the paper uses its first part to examine Ethiopia’s ethnic federalism. I strongly advise readers to critically read all parts of the paper to see the pros and cons of federalism, and have an informed stand as to why one disagrees with Ethiopia’s ethnic federalism.
Dereje Teshome Birru (2018)
This paper sought at understanding the paradox of ethnic federalism implementation in Ethiopia. The Tigray People Liberation Front took power in 1991 and established the Ethiopian People Democratic Revolutionary Front. As means of conflict resolution and exercising of democracy, the government architected the ethnic federalism system in which the country was divided into 9 administrative constituents and 2 self-administrative cities with a full recognition of self-administration up to the right to secession. However, the practical implementation of the ethnic federalism system proved that ethnic federalism with the right to secession was not the right choice. Contradicting to its establishing goal, it generated and regenerated conflicts from the national to the lower local level of governance. Due to the precarious conflict thousands died, jailed, displaced and resources were plundered. Due to conflict, more than 1.5 million people were displaced which made Ethiopia the first country followed by Syria.
Daniel N. Posner
In most studies of the impact of ethnic diversity on economic growth, diversity is hypothesized to affect growth through its effect on macroeconomic policies. This article shows that most measures of ethnic diversity (including the commonly used ELF measure) are inappropriate for testing this hypothesis. This is because they are constructed from enumerations of ethnic groups that include all of the ethnographically distinct groups in a country irrespective of whether or not they engage in the political competition whose effects on macroeconomic policymaking are being tested. I present a new index of ethnic fractionalization based on an accounting of politically relevant ethnic groups in 42 African countries. I employ this measure (called PREG, for Politically Relevant Ethnic Groups) to replicate Easterly and Levine’s inﬂuential article on Africa’s “growth tragedy.” I ﬁnd that PREG does a much better job of accounting for the policy-mediated effects of ethnic diversity on economic growth in Africa than does ELF.
Charles E. Ehrlich
Ethiopia makes a stark contrast to all traditional state theories. The regions in the new constitution have no historic justification and purport to an even greater extent to correspond to ethnic subdivisions within society. However, those ethnic lines are often not clearly defined and so the new constitution there is virtually attempting to create ethnic groups. This a recipe for disaster. Ethiopia may not really require pseudo-ethnic regions to protect the rights of its citizens, on the other hand, Ethiopia may not be properly set up to allow a federal system along United States lines. The destruction of its agesold monarchy meant the loss of the one main unifying force. Nevertheless, Ethiopia can continue to exist as a viable state if it finds the right degree of administrative decentralization and stable central institutions. Ethiopia has much to learn from Western - European and American - thought; Ethiopia need not copy Western models.
Bruce J. Berman (2010)
The paradox of efforts over the past twenty years to reinvent democracy in Africa has been that rather than dampening the fires of ethnic conflict, they have often made them more intense and in the past decade have been accompanied by the explosion of violent conflicts of autochthony, confrontations of ‘sons of the soil’, that threaten the very bases of social order and cohesion in multi-ethnic societies. This essay explains the relationship through an argument in five parts. First, I examine the social construction of African ethnicities since the imposition of European colonial rule, with particular focus on both the role of the state and the market, as well as the internal response in African societies. Second, I discuss the particular relationship between the state, colonial and post-colonial, with effective institutionalization of ‘Big Man’ politics and patronage as the essential link between ethnic communities and the state and mode of access to the resources of modernity. Third, we will see that both nationalism and ethnicity in Africa share a common origin and focus on grasping control of the state apparatus that reinforces rather than undermines the salience of the nation-state. Fourth, I argue that neo-liberal ‘reforms’ of the state and market have led to significant political, social and economic decay that can reinforce ethnic cleavages and undermine democratization in multi-party regimes, even where there have been serious efforts at constitutional reforms to contain and limit its political expression. Finally, and fifth, I look at the conflicts of autochthony that have exploded in four very different national contexts that share a common relationship to economic crisis, growing social decay and increasing inequality in supposedly democratizing nations.
Asebe Regassa Debelo (2007)
This study deals with ethnicity and inter-ethnic relations in African context, with particular emphasis on the new ‘Ethiopian Experiment’ of ethnic politics. The study challenges the already existing thoughts on ethnicity, which map the concept on contours of polar extremes and suggests an approach to transcend the primordialist/constructivist perspectives.
It is argued that in the face of rising ethnic politics in Africa, and particularly in Ethiopia where everything is ethinified, ethnicity can no longer remain only an analytical concept nor can inter-ethnic relations be understood separately from the political context. This study thus makes use of ethnicity both in analytical and political contexts. The concepts of politicised ethnicity or ‘Formal Ethnicism’ and its policy instrument - ‘Ethnic Federalism’ - are used in drawing the contours of national discourse on ethnicity and the dynamics of local inter-ethnic relations, taking the Guji-Gedeo relations in Southern Ethiopia as a case study. In this study, I agued that with the politicisation of ethnicity in the country’s political scene, particularly following its articulation in a formal political programme of the government in 1991, ethnic entrepreneurs activated elements of dichotomies at the expense of mutual co-existences like the Guji-Gedeo case.
The historical relationship between the Guji and Gedeo ethnic groups has been examined in the context of economic interdependence, sharing some elements of cultural practices, political allegiances, belief in ancestral curse in case of homicide and myth of common ancestor. It also addresses the 1990s conflicts between the two groups drawing lines of connection between the national discourse on ethnicity and the local realities.
This study also casts some light on the convergence between ethnicity and indigenousness in an African context, both concepts inconveniently sidelined by the bogus ambitions of post-colonial African leaders who try to build ‘nation-states’ at the expense of the rights of their member groups.
Asnake Anteneh (2014)
Trends in Africa show that ethnicity has been manipulated by rulers for political appointment, economic control, social supremacy and cultural domination. Previous studies on the continent, extensively tried to explore ethnicity in terms of its political and cultural implications. Its economic inferences has not been well explored until recently.
This study, by employing a qualitative approach, critically investigates the adverse effects of ethnicity on economic development in Ethiopia and Nigeria. It also aims at deriving constructive African lessons on how ethnic diversity can be managed and switched to fast, equitable as well as sustainable economic growth.
In general, the research findings show that although federalism (either in ethnic or other forms) has been implemented as a system for state building in Ethiopia and Nigeria, still there are rising laments on political and economic inequality as well as manipulation of federal power by dominant groups. Ethnicity, with having a great space on the politico-economic structure of the nations, has hampered economic development through influencing investment, intensifying brain drain, amplifying corruption, leading unfair competition, eroding trust and exacerbating economic marginalization. Thus despite registering remarkable growth over the past couple of years economies in Ethiopia and Nigeria, while they enrich few sections of political elites and affiliated spectrums, leave masses of ethnic groups to live under poverty and face inequality. This directly shows the nations’ inability to implement genuine federalism for viable economic development.
By recognizing the very existence of various ethnic groups and widening space for their prosperity through implementing genuine federalism, the study suggests that, the governments should propagate the grand positive impacts of national identity for state building and harness it accordingly.
Jan Záhořík (2011)
This paper examines the post-Mengistu development from the perspective of internal potential conflicts and clashes of nationalisms in Ethiopia after the introduction of the Federal Constitution. It examines the problems of selected Ethiopian regions in regard to the Constitution and their implications for the future. Since the 2005 elections it seems that the question of democracy becomes more problematic and the lack of good governance and democracy thus only helps certain nationalist tendencies to grow and to become more visible. I argue that the- emphasis on ethnicity and ethnic origin may become an obstacle to peace and development in Ethiopia which can seriously affect the region of the Horn as well.
Sarah Vaughan (2003)
This thesis explores why ethnicity was introduced as the basis for the reconstitution of the Ethiopian state in 1991, examining the politicisation of ethnic identity before and after the federation of the country’s ‘nations, nationalities and peoples’ was instituted. The establishment of the modern Ethiopian empire state in the nineteenth century, and the processes of centralisation and bureaucratisation which consolidated it in the mid twentieth, provide a backdrop to an emerging concern with ‘regionalism’ amongst political circles in the 1960s and 1970s. Ethnicity operated as both resource and product of the mobilisation by which the major movements of armed opposition to the military regime of the 1970s and 1980s, later the architects of ethnic federalism, sought control of the state. Under federalism through the 1990s, political representation and territorial administration were reorganised in terms of ethnicity. A stratum of the local elite of each ethnic group was encouraged to form an ethnic organisation as a platform for executive office. Meanwhile ethnic groups and their elites responded to these new circumstances in unanticipated but calculative ways, often radically reviewing and reconstructing not only their sense of collective interest, but also the very ethnic collectives that would best serve those newly-perceived interests.
The architects of ethnic federalism are influenced by a Marxist formulation of the ‘National Question’ which incorporates contradictory elements inherent in the notion of ‘granting self-determination’: the conviction that self-selected communities respond better to mobilisation ‘from within’, in their own language, by their own people; and the notion that ethnic groups are susceptible to identification, definition, and prescription ‘from above’, by a vanguard party applying a checklist of externally verifiable criteria. These two sets of assumptions correlate with tenets of instrumentalism and primordialism respectively, which are, as they stand, equally irreconcilable.
An investigation of theoretical approaches to ethnicity and collective action suggests that many conflate the ‘real world’ and ‘socially constructed’ referents of the ethnic profile of an individual (the constituents of the individual state of being an ethnic x), with the fully constructed collective accomplishment which creates members of an ethnic group (conferring the social status of being an ethnic x, of which those referents are markers). Differentiating the two, and exploring the recursive relationship between them, by means of a consideration of calculative action within the framework of actors’ categories (emerging from emic knowledge systems) and shared social institutions (premised, whether their referents are ‘natural’ ‘social’ or ‘artificial’, on collective processes of ‘knowledge construction’), may improve analysis of the causes and operation of collective action associated with ethnicity and ethno-nationalism.
Ethnic federalism in Ethiopia offered the prospect of a shift away from the ‘high modernism’ of that state’s past projects to ‘develop’ its people, apparently in favour of the collective perspectives of groups of its citizens. The coercive and developmental imperatives of the state that guided its implementation, however, have militated against the substantive incorporation of locally determined social institutions and knowledge.
Berhanu Gutema Balcha (2008)
To get out of the quagmire, the federal model in Ethiopia needs to consider multiple criteria such as geography, socio-economic factors, settlement patterns, linguistic considerations, population mix and other essential factors. For instance, most of the urban areas are inhabited by synchronized multiethnic communities where ethnic identities are so diluted and less significant and ethno linguistic criterion have become inappropriate and inapplicable. Whereas, the rural areas, where the overwhelming Ethiopians live, are inhabited in most cases by a concentration of a specific ethno- inguistic community in a specific territory, it may raise a need for some kind of structure that could recognize such settlement pattern and linguistic considerations, but with utmost respect for the rights of minority residents. More importantly, the federal project in Ethiopia should reward ethnic fluidity and intermix by politically discouraging exclusive arrangements and fragmentations that could hinder mobility and evolutionary fusion.
Furthermore, it is important to create a hybrid federal model that can respect ethnic groups, encourage inter-ethnic cooperation, evolutionary fusion and harmonisation by suppressing hubris and upholding humility; by engineering a political interaction that promotes respect and trust while undermining and dissuading vengeances and arrogant behaviours and activities. A political system that recognises and respects diverse identities, upholds achievements and merits in place of ascriptive requirements and nepotism can lead to the creation of a desirable system based on trust and tolerance among ethno-linguistic groups. After all, ethnic identity or nationality are not an all-embracing or the greatest identity of an individual, community or people. People used to change them frequently when opportunities or threats are greater. There are various and plural identities in which people would find very important, of course, ethnic identity could be one of them. As Amartya Sen (2006) powerfully put it that: “The illusion of unique identity is much more divisive than the universe of plural and diverse classification that characterize the world in which we actually live.”