The New Federal Experiment and Accommodation of Diversity in Ethiopia

By: Nahusenay Belay Gebremedhin  

After the collapse of the military regime in 1991, Ethiopians embraced a “new political vision” of ethno-linguistic diversity. Constitutionally, Ethiopia began federalizing its political landscape in 1994, with adoption of the federal constitution. For the incumbent regime, the “national question” was the fundamental driving force behind the federal structure. The new political experiment is basically organized along ethnolinguistic and cultural lines, and the right of self-determination is recognized, including the right to secede. The paper highlights the issue of the trade-off between centripetal and centrifugal forces dealing with the politics of diversity in an inclusive manner. The Ethiopian experiment is quite unique in this regard, inasmuch as it accommodates centripetal forces by assuring unity in diversity, yet it also accommodates centrifugal forces (e.g. separatist forces) by providing them the constitutional right to separate from the federation (Art. 39 of the FDRE constitution). This paper examines these experiments in federalism in terms of their ability to offer a sustainable solution to the problem of diversity accommodation and governance.

Accommodation of Diversity.
Community Diversity and Governance
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Nahusenay Belay Gebremedhin

PhD Candidate and Lecturer, College of Law and Governance, Addis Ababa University , Ethiopia