The Underlying Tension Behind Ethiopia’s Flawed Federal System and Its Risks

Dozens of people were killed in fighting during a foiled coup by a rogue state militia in Ethiopia’s Amhara region at the weekend, the regional government spokesman said on Wednesday, the first official report of significant clashes. It has significant implications for the near future of Ethiopia’s federal system and peace in the country. For almost three decades Ethiopia’s federal structure – enshrined in the country’s 1994 constitution – has been defended by the ruling coalition, the Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front. Sadly, in a nation of more than 90 ethnic groups, the system created more animosity and competition for power and influence. Debates about the system have resurfaced since prime minister Abiy Ahmed took office in April last year. These include the need for national reconciliation and where domestic administrative borders should be drawn. The challenges Ethiopia faces due to its federal arrangement are substantial. Nor does the country have strong enough institutions such as independent judiciary and agreed conflict resolution mechanisms.SOURCE: THE CONVERSATION

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