Remarks of Professor Solomon Gashaw on Ethnic-Based Federalism in Ethiopia [Video]

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Professor Solomon Gahaw gave the following remarks regarding the root causes of the ethnic conflict raging in the country.
The root causes of the endemic communal conflict and eviction of population by the regional states is directly linked to the policies of ethnic based federalism. Ethnic based federalism gave ownership to the territories of the titular state. The constitution of the regional states identifies some ethnic groups and proclaims them as “owners of the state.’’ Those Ethiopian citizens who are not identified as part of the privileged ethnic groups even if they have lived in the region over a hundred years are considered exogenous groups. For instances the Benishangual-Gumuz state belongs only to five groups. The state of Oromia belongs only to the Oromos, the Gambella states belongs only three groups, the Somali states belongs only to the Somalis etc.

The 1995 constitution by a stroke of pen has taken away the citizenship rights of huge segments of the Ethiopian population and reduced them to status of “alien” or gust workers of the region that they reside. As aliens they do not have basic rights. The creation of the nine ethnic states is not based on defensible logic. Some ethnic groups with very insignificant population size are endowed with statehood while other with higher population number is not accorded with the same rights. The current ethnic federalism works well for ethnic entrepreneurs or ethnic elites. They will enjoy political, economic other privileges in the name of their ethnic groups. However, the competition for resources and political power keeps the flame of ethnic conflict not only among different groups but within the same ethnic groups. Ethnic based political structure will produce and reproduce zero-sum struggle, where no one groups benefits except few ethnic entrepreneurs.

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