EthioPoint: Ethiopians Analysis | Research Articles

Ethiopia’s Ethnic Federalism is turning out to be a curse

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By: Asress Mulugeta

Members of the Oromo community living in the UK protest at a past G20 summit in 2009 against the Ethiopian government’s perceived persecution of the ethnic group. The Oromo Liberation Front has surprisingly dropped its decades-old secession agenda. PHOTO | BBC |
Ethnic-federalism as governing system had been implemented and tested in a number of countries of the world. But it has lead all of them to violent disintegration. The real reason for the failure ethnic federalism in those countries was not economic or lack of democracy. It was simply because of the politicization and manipulation of ethnic relations by the ruling regimes, the regional ethnic elites and/or external forces. This shows how ethnic-federalism is destined to fail. Lack of democracy, unfair share of power and resources among ethnic groups are the other main factors that fuel ethnicization, ethnic conflicts and eventual disintegration of a country.
Since its implementation back in 1990s, the Ethiopia’s ethnic federalism system has never brought any positive aspect to Ethiopian people peaceful coexistence rather it has been a cause of more dangerous ethnic tensions and/or conflicts. For the last two decades, many Ethiopian scholars has been constantly giving a stern warning that the ethnic tensions and/or conflicts in Ethiopia could easily spiral out of control and might slide into a Rwanda type genocide if the ruling minority TPLF, keeps sowing ethnic animosity between different ethnic groups of the country. What has been unfolding in Eastern Ethiopia in the last couple of weeks is the continuation of TPLF’s divide and rule plan that the state-sponsored armed Somali Janjaweed militia gangs are terrorizing people in Oromia – Somali regions, killing and displacing thousands.
The track record of the minority TPLF lead government in the last couple of decades shows that with an absolute control of the security and the military, TPLF has been directly and indirectly inciting ethnic conflicts and carrying out killings in the Amhara, Oromo, Gambela, Ogaden and other regions of the country. But the recent ethnic conflict and killings in Somali-Oromo region is alarming. Since the conflict started, hundreds of people have been killed and more than 450 thousand Oromo people have been forcefully evicted from Somali region. The ongoing ethnic conflict in Somali-Oromia border was initiated by TPLF organized, funded and armed Somali militia groups.
TPLF has been single-handedly ruling the country for over quarter a century. The major ethnic groups of the country such as the Oromo and Amhara have been staging massive protests that began in November 2015. After killing thousands of people and jailing tens of thousands, the government declared in October 2016 a state of emergency. The ruling minority oligarchy still continues to deliberately fabricate ethnic tensions and wage proxy wars against the major ethnic groups of the country such as the Oromo and Amhara to cow them into submission.
The on-going large scale ethnic tension and/or conflicts in Somali, Oromia and Amahara regions of the country are major prelude to the balkanization of Ethiopia. The TPLF’s barbaric plan to disarm one ethnic group while arming to teeth the invading other minority ethnic group is a major genocidal policy. Plotting this kind of evil policy and using proxy militias to wage covert wars against one ethnic group should be stopped before it led the country to Syrian and Yugoslavian like quagmire that we cannot extricate from.