Bankruptcy of ethnic federalism in Ethiopia

By: Asress M.

In today’s Ethiopia, the Oromos and Amharas feel they are treated like second-class citizens. The ruling party, the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), with its core, the Tigrayan People liberation Front, (TPLF) controls all 547 parliamentary seats. Currently, the country is still under state of emergency rule which was imposed in October 2016 during the worst ethnic violence in 25 years that Ethiopia has seen. No one is yet sure how long the country will stay in state of emergency

The Oromiya and Amhara regions of Ethiopia were war zones since protests began in November 2015. The Oromo and Amhara communities together make up more than 60 percent of Ethiopia’s 100 million populations. However, ethnic Tigrayans, who comprise less that 6 percent, dominate an authoritarian government while the Oromos and Amharas have been excluded from the country’s political process and the economic development. . From October 2015 till January 2017 more than 3000 people have been killed and tens of thousands have been arrested by security forces of the minority ruling party.

The brutal reality that has been observed during the biggest protests in 25 years is that people have been humiliated based on race. The security forces who were mostly Tigrayans have been killing the Amharas and Oromos mercilessly simply because they are not from their ethnic group. The Amhara and Oromo protesters have been also attacking the Tigrayans businesses. If the Tigrayan elites continue abusing the power; it is quite possible that people from other regions of the country unite themselves under a banner which claims the bankruptcy of ethnic federalism and fight for their freedom.

The ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front, with its core, the Tigrayan People liberation Front, (TPLF) has been too stubborn in reforming the country’s political system. It is unlikely that TPLF will change it’s the ethnic federal system and its iron feast rule strategy. Because it fears reforms would encourage even more radical protests aiming to overthrow the minority regime. This may lead Ethiopia to eventually implode of conflict, popular uprising that looks like the Syrian situation.


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