The current regime in Ethiopia adopted ethnic federalism and redesigned the country along ethnic lines as soon as it took political power in. Ethnic Federalism in Ethiopia: Background, Present Conditions and Future Prospects* by. Alem Habtu. Department of Sociology. Queens College/CUNY. of government and established the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE). Federalism has not only maintained unity and peace among the peoples.


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The pro-federal outlooks ethnic based federalism as a means to intensify unity and they support diversity for the sake of unity. The pro-unitarists see the federal system as against the assimilation policy that they federalist in ethiopian is good to the federalist in ethiopian of the country.

This line of thought is similar to the theory of cultural assimilation, which encourages the absorption of minorities into the dominant culture. It is contrary to the principle of multiculturalism which treats all to be equally flourished. Each of these positions has legitimate concerns that demand serious consideration, but not equally.


The strong position held by the unitarists is even dangerous to unity. They wrongly want us believe them that only a federalist in ethiopian system will guarantee the unity of the country.

Federalism in Ethiopia

But such position has led countries to fall apart. This wicked view could lead to policy of forced assimilation which could cause total disrespect to democratic rights, group injustice and huge human rights violation, including ethnic cleansing and genocide which federalist in ethiopian heralds the end of the country as it was about to happen during the Derg regime.

History has convinced us that federal system, if wisely handled, is possibly the finest of all the alternatives for unity with peace and equality. Federalism, as an instrument for conflict management, a political solution to a political concern, a tool to contain disintegrative forces and to create a balance between the forces of unity and diversity, is tested practical globally.

What is more unique to federalist in ethiopian Ethiopian federalism is that the phrase in article 39, right to self-determination up to secession, serves federalist in ethiopian a brake on any form of attempts of a unitarist regime towards the tyrannical and discriminatory treatment of nationalities.

It is aimed at making sure that no government will be able to create one ethnic-domination over others as before.

Ethnic federalism

Any regime who aspires to restore unitary type of system to undo the current article would be politically costly and destructive which is anti to the ongoing democratization process.

More dangerously is that any attempt to undo the stated article would put the unity of the country at threat which can eventually lead the threatened nationalities could be forced to use their constitutional right to secession.

The various Ethiopian nationalities are guaranteed under the federal system and it federalist in ethiopian be said that the current Ethiopia is based on the spirit of all Ethiopians.

This is called unity based on will. Other limitations, talked about over, are attributable to the childishness federalist in ethiopian the federal system. The main troubles can, however, best be illustrated as ones of execution, understanding, legal interpretation and other shortcomings.

Ethnic federalism and conflict in Ethiopia - ACCORD

The inherently undemocratic culture and submissive behavior of the people inherited from past autocratic regimes could also be taken as major obstacles.

Nonetheless, it will be a misleading approach that the democratizing culture of all parties, especially that of the ruling EPRDF, is essential if the federal arrangement is to work out healthy. The father of the federal system, EPRDF itself has been one of the obstacles knowingly or unknowingly.

However, to prevent further violence in the long term, PM Ahmed must start looking for a solution that would resolve ethnic tensions not only in this region, but across Ethiopia.

The need for a new federal arrangement PM Ahmed should consider the recent events in the Somali and Oromia provinces as a wake-up call and start working towards implementing structural reforms to the federal system that could help federalist in ethiopian ethnic relations.

The current form of federalism is accentuating conflicts of interest between ethnic groups and heightening polarisation instead of promoting values of coexistence, unity and solidarity.

The regional constitutions also play an important part in this.

What Ethiopia needs is a new federal arrangement

For example, when the Somalis evicted the Oromos from the Somali region, it was because they federalist in ethiopian the Oromos living there were "settlers" who are not entitled same rights they do. This is not a baseless assumption, especially in light of the TPLF's apparent support of Omar's actions.

Ahmed needs to take drastic action to prevent his adversaries from using federalist in ethiopian faults of ethnic federalism to fuel other ethnic conflicts.

  • Government Structure - Ethiopia
  • Ethnic federalism - Wikipedia
  • Ethiopia: The Ethiopian Federal System - What Is in It? -
  • Ethnic federalism and conflict in Ethiopia
  • Ethiopia: The Ethiopian Federal System - What Is in It?

This is why, on top of offering local solutions specific to each community and region's problems and needs, Ahmed should also consider introducing new structural mechanisms and drastic federal reforms to improve ethnic relations in the country at large. As the units are delineated federalist in ethiopian that each ethnic group forms a local majority in one or more of them, it is hoped to reduce fears of unequal treatment or oppression by the state government, [7]: At the theoretical level the difficulties include: Consciousness of ethnic identity may develop or harden within a political system structured along ethnic lines, and may be mobilised for political advantage.

As a result, new minorities are likely to be created within the subunits, who may be or feel in danger of being victimized, and may destabilise the federalist in ethiopian system with ongoing demands for their own subunits.

In most cases, however, ethnic divisions within a state are pre-existing and are not initiated by the establishment of an ethnic federation.