Multinational federalism serves as framework for equality, Justice, democracy, peace and Development of Ethiopia

Articles and Analysis

Multinational federalism serves as framework for equality, Justice, democracy, peace and Development of Ethiopia


Qalibessa Olana

December 11, 2010


Is this article the way Multinational federalism addresses the nationalities questions of equality, Justice, democracy, peace, development and how it is guarantees the right of Ethiopia nations, Nationalities and Peoples will be presented. Furthermore, in what way Multinational Federalism guarantees the survival Ethiopian peoples together by accommodating diversity within unity and how it will serve as a base for justice, development, peace, democracy will be analyzed. Additionally, what principles guarantees for such issues listed above and how-this principal put in practice will be analyses.

The Ethiopian Multinational Federalism engineers understood the injustice, inequality that developed among Ethiopian. They correctly answered why the country loses peace, stability and development and why destructive civil- wars were fought up to Multinational Federalism engineered in the country. They also well understood peace and stability are as pillar of development only achieved when equality and rights of Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities and Peoples are guaranteed. These rights were guaranteed when EFDF constitution came in force in august 1995. The constitution for first time recognized equality of nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia and vests the ultimate sovereignty to them (Alt 8:1-2), which deprived under previous regimes.

Multinational Federalism as a frame work for equality, Justice, peace, democracy and development need deep analysis and establishment of causation to each of this variable. In Ethiopian political culture politicization of diversity became the independent variable that moves the politics of the countries since state formation and a force of organization for ethno-national Movement and struggles. Now let us see how Multinational federalism serves as a base for the above variables.

Framework for equality and justice
Ethiopian peoples were fought bitter wars for rectifying unjust, unequal relations and discriminatory system that created between ethno- national groups of Ethiopia in their Political history. This avoided when federal states were formed on the bases of Multinational criterion and consent of the people concern (Art 42:2) constitutive document of FDRE. The basic reason to use Multinational criterion to form constituent units of Federalism is to provide equality and justice to Ethiopian Ethno-national groups.

In this regard Tronvoll(Ethiopia: anew start? ) observes that “in Ethiopia federalism was introduced as response to solve two historical developments; the centralization power at the center and marginalization of the various ethno-linguistic groups. In connections with the above criterion federal states of Ethiopia formed based on equality of principles of peaceful coexistence, and justice by avoiding discrimination & domination among Ethno-national groups developed by unjust and unequal relations. These member states are: Tigray ,Afar , Amhara, Oromiya , Somalia ,Benishangul Gumuz ,SNNPS, Gamvella ,Harari.

This was done to establish equal self administering ethno national states under this Federalism and to promote equality and justice among ethno-national groups. Their equality guaranteed under Art 47:4 which say member states of FDRE have equal right and power. In this regard Aalen identifies the position of federalists in Ethiopia to renounce secession agenda if just and equal relations guaranteed and opted for equality & Justice. she write that they being part of a multinational Ethiopia based on equality where are no oppressor or oppressed nations, where the right of every nation with out any distinction is constitutionally and in practice safeguarded, where democracy & social justice prevails. This equality and justice in practice framed under Multinational federalism for Ethiopian nationalities by making the House of Federation the representative of all Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia (Art: 61,1). Furthermore, to promote equality and justice the Multinational federalism clearly show where the former discriminated and not benefit from former regime located and give then special financial, technical and developmental support to remove the historic inequality and injustice distribution of developmental and infrastructure faculties. Equality and justice for ethno-national groups reflected in Multinational federalism by reserved seats for minority nationalities in House of people Representative at least 20 seats and also justifies group right and individual right as un- detachable reality for equality & Justice for Ethiopian Ethno-national groups and citizen.

Thus, Multinational Federalism as response to historic injustice and inequality among ethno-national group of Ethiopia addresses equality and justice for them. This is realized by allowing and enabling them to handle their own affairs by forming states, special zones, werdars based on ethno-national criterion. To foster equality and justice Multinational federalism identity the disadvantaged nationalities group under former regimes as “ less developed regions” and “minority groups”, and give special affirmative privilege in developmental, educational and social services to equalized them with other region and protect their right from majority rule at expense of minority right respectively. To sum up Multinational federalism serves as equality and justice by filling the rifts that created in Ethiopian political culture /tradition/.

Multinational Federalism as mechanism for peace, democracy and stability In Ethiopia context Multinational Federalism was engineered to accommodate diversity within unity, as mechanism of conflict management among this diversity and to usher democracy to multi-national Ethiopian polity. But how it real serves as the bases for peace, stability and democracy questions and need answer here.

Ethiopia has been multinational state since its formation but these nationalities were not entertained equally and not integrated on equal level and just relations to the centralized state. This gave rise to nations and nationality questions of equality, freedom, Justice and democracy in all spheres of these diversities and differences. Due to these questions different protest, rebellions, struggles and wars change the country in to unstable and issue of peace for Ethiopian peoples in much of 20th become gold bar, which not easily gained with out greater scarification of cost. The issue to peace and stability as pillar of development understood by Ethiopian political actors only achieved when and only when accommodation of diversities and differences of ethno-rational groups done based on their demands and wills. They fought for to preserving, developing and use freely their identities, cultures and languages with out any hindrance. These questions in- stabilized and remove peace from the country.

As response to alleviate the county from instability and to achieve peace Multinational federalism in Ethiopia give answer to the causes of instability, civil wars as means of conflict management. The criterion used to form constituent unity of FDRE was the answer to make the county peace full and stable by removing the causes of civil wars and contradictions among nations and nationalities by satisfying the will and rights of their differences & diversities. Here Elazor(Exploring Federalism. Elazor, 1987:12) states that federal principle, which aim at achieving both self rule (based group will) and (equally) shared rule greatly attracted multinational states as means of managing their ethno-linguistic diversities. In the same wa , Aalen (Ethnic Federalism in Dominant party state: Ethiopian Experience 1991-2000, 2002:14) has pointed out that federalism is today conceived as one of the better device to mute conflict among groups and between the centrals government and sub-national communities. More specifically Majeed (Conflict management in Federal plural society: some lesson from India, 2003:5) has indicated Federalism as a mechanism and advice of share governance for sharing power in social pluralism in their unit of identification and expression of all political powers and it is not just consensual form of democracy but also an effective mechanism of conflict management .

In the same manner multinational Federalism in Ethiopia was engineered as mechanism to pacifying the county by forming its constituents units based On Ethiopian people identification and expression that is multinational criterion. The ethno-national questions of self- administration including secession for which the country lost stability, peace and development were clearly codified and guaranteed for all Ethiopian nations and nationalities in 1994 and put in to practices since onward.

As the result peace and stability are visible is current Ethiopia since adoption of multinational federalism the intensity of conflict substantial reduced and national liberation fronts reduced to few number when compared to pre-Federal era. Ethiopia relatively stable now in comparison to states of the horn of Africa. This is due to the quality of multinational federalism other than other attributes of the states even though Ethiopian is the most heterogonous country of the region.

Generally, peace and stability are relatively achieved because this arrangement frames equilibrium between former oppressed and oppressors and remove ethnic domination and appeasing all nations and nationalities by giving answer for their national questions. Furthermore, this Federalism enable to form their own self administering regional states for major competing ethnical groups and make proportional representation for all ethno-national groups in federal government institutions (HPR&HF). In this process the root of conflict up rooted and conversely the fruits of peace and stability are started to be tasted by Ethiopian citizens. But still this is in process due to long historic grievances and cultural justification of roundness (superior complexity) by some ethno-national groups the root of conflict and instability not completely uprooted, from their inherited mind of old values. Howe very peace the way led to peace and stability constructed among Ethiopian peoples since 1990s. As base for democracy in Ethiopia.

To start with this argument is better to look Abraham Lincon definition of democracy “rule of people, by the people, for the people”. In connection Requejo conversely justify the democratic value of Multinational federalism by saying that “territorial federalism as a model govern by homogenizing interpretation of democratic concept of “popular sovereignty” and which avoids basic question un answered in democratic theory about “ who are the people are” and “who decides who they are” and as well as Ideas about equality of citizen ship (ethno-national groups) and equality between the federative unit’s components (quated by Assefa, 2001:20). From these two citations, the definition of democracy and the converse imperative of democratic values of the Multinational federalism is visible. The argument here Multinational federalism has more value of democracy because it clarity indicate the peoples (groups) who decide for each ethnic groups (peoples) as democratic concepts of popular sovereignty and rule of people, by people and for the people based on peoples demands, wills, identifications and questions .

In Ethiopian context the people identify themselves on based of Multinational criterion and also their democratic questions are structured along diversity line due to political culture of the county as indicated in previous two chapters. This logically lead Multinational federalism as structured in Ethiopian based on peoples identification, expression and organization line it could sponsor give democracy for Ethiopian peoples (ethno nations groups). Multinational Federalism in Ethiopia as base for democratization process make Ethiopian state non centralized in line Ethiopian demands of self-administration and decide for them selves themselves.

Thus, Multinational federalism avoids the vague concepts people who decide for than other from of state and also provide base for democratization of multinational society of Ethiopia. Here Assefa (Multi-Culturalism and Federalism as challenge to nation-state: the case of Ethiopia, 2000:2) says that “if we remain within the orbit American Federalism the answer to the questions about possibility of regulation of democratic citizens or multi national society basically negative one .By interring conversely this, Multinational Federalism play in regulating by accommodating this diversities by democratic principles ,democratic rules and by addressing the questions of majority rule and minority right, which identified on majority groups in HPR emanate for this democratic quality of Multinational federalism. This federalism as the response to usher democracy in the country enable ethno-nation groups to elected their representative proportional to their population number in decision make at federal level. It also vests supreme power in the hand of nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia to form government by their elected representative at their region or at federal.

To sum up Multinational Federalism as response to democratic questions of Ethiopian ethno-national groups addressed by guarantee majority rule and minority right and also it avoid undemocratic relations between ethno national groups. This federalism realized democratic questions of self administration, freedom, right to vote and elected, guarantees socio-cultural and political right of an ethno nation groups in Ethiopia. As the result of this to day Ethiopia different political parties established for their democratizing the county.

Accommodate diversities within unity as mechanism to guaranteed living together Now we are in the position to present the values and principles of Multinational federalism as a frame work for peace, justice, equality, democracy and development in comprehensive manner. First of all the Multinational Federalism saved Ethiopia from disintegration and instability through addressing all rounded nations, nationalities and peoples and religious questions to solve them systematically by allowing and respecting the rights, freedom and demands from self-administration up to secession. Ethiopia is only understood as “Home of nations” since adoption of this arrangement in this line Knife(Ethiopia from Empire to Federalism . 2001).justifies Multinational Federalism as a frame work for unity and harmony. He say that answering national question through ethnic federalism is the only way of bringing unity and harmony to multinational country like Ethiopia, with along historical oppression and domination (Kinfe, 1994:18) In addition, he argue that the present reality of nationalities groups need strong assertion of their national right other-wise left them to coercion and forceful subjugation and war as the only alternative to Multinational federalism. That mean, the federal system is seen as the only means to ensuring peace, democracy and Justice in Ethiopia. The argument Multinational federalism as accommodating diversity and grant unity is realized from above citation and general reality of Ethiopian today. First of all the old aged rifts that created due unjust and relation among ethno-national groups that causes distractive wars and also develop sense of center fugal forces removed by Multinational Federalism. By recognizing diversity as beauty of Ethiopia, it recognizing equality among them and enabling them to administer themselves by form their own states and develop, use, preserve their cultural expressions and values.

This arrangement rectifying historic injustice and accommodation of diversity with unity based on equality and justice for which tension, contradictions, instabilities, mistrust developed among ethno-national groups and wars were fought in the county now elapse. This is due to the best model of Federalism that fit Ethiopian contest was engineered by answering ethno-national questions by empowering them. The question for Ethiopian peoples were fought for equality, justice, democracy, peace and development guarantee and recognized. Thus, Ethiopian peoples not hate living together but they hate unjust relations, undemocratic government in their history. But, now these all is in way of removal in Ethiopian polity.

To sum up the Ethiopian people unit under Multinational Federalism now; equality, peace, justice, democracy and development in of Ethiopian under Multinational federalism in way of flourishing as basic demands for Ethiopian peoples living together with their difference and diversified values, identities and culture. Now in every corner of the country the ethno-national groups develop, promote and preserve their culture, identity, norms and cultures languages for expression of their way of life. So, why Ethiopian people hates living together in unity? Ethiopian used the proverb unity is strength this show their willing unity. In this way Multinational federalism grants Ethiopian people living together.


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