Ethiopia: Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Day Factor for Local, Regional Integration

by Zelalem

Ethiopia is home to 79 nations, nationalities and peoples. As it lies in the center of the region it also comprises people of the same ethnicity that lie both inside it as well as in the neighboring countries. Like many African countries these people were cut off from each other due to the colonial or territorial boundaries that the countries adopted.

In the past the territorial separation had strong impact between the people. Not only people of the same language and culture, but also those who live in the same country were cursed to lead miserable life due to wrong political ideology that failed to accommodate their differences and enable them to live together harmoniously.

As a result the people waged conflict against each other to maintain superiority over the other leading them to severe crisis socially, economically and politically.

But after decades of struggle the nations, nationalities and people were able to emancipate themselves from the subjugation and declare themselves as owners of supreme political authority over themselves. Their hard won liberty was also guaranteed by the constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic Ethiopia (FDRE), promulgated in 1995.

However, the constitution which the nations, nationalities and peoples ratified with their full consent had faced some critics as a potential cause for the disintegration of the nation mentioning the provision of self administration right.

But the people have shown that the constitution is their covenant for unity than disintegration. The best way they remind everyone their ever growing unity is the nations, nationalities and peoples day anniversary.

So precious and important as it is in their history, the diverse nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia have been commemorating the date of the ratification of the constitution just like birthday or independence day.

They have colorfully celebrated the 12th anniversary of the day that is dedicated to commemorate their hard won victory over ages old oppression and subjugation as well as declaration of liberty. It is of the same spirit with those celebrated during the last 11 rounds.

The annual feast follows the day of the ratification and promulgation of the 1995 FDRE constitution which is outcome of the nations, nationalities and peoples ages old struggle. The constitution which was once feared to widen rift and disintegration between the people has rather brought them together not only with each other but also with cross border cousins that were separated due to historical incidents.

In addition to the proximity created by the peaceful relationship between the countries, representatives of neighboring countries also attend the anniversaries where they would be able to watch people of close cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

Furthermore, the people were also able to welcome their cross cousins at the time of adversity by giving safe shelter friendly treatment which won the entire nation an international recognition for exemplary handling of refugees.

The nations, nationalities and peoples have celebrated the date for the last 11 years by taking turns year by year. The days have brought the people closer together with all their indigenous cultural costumes, dances and values. By doing so the date has ensured that their constitutionally guaranteed rights have kept them more united and mutually intelligible. Accordingly they are now able to see a stronger and prosperous country.

The capacity of the states and the city administrations in effectively hosting the successive anniversaries also manifest the fruitfulness of the self administration capacity which they built through time and serves as a solid foundation and building block for stronger unity of the entire nation.

As compared to the long time the people lived under tyranny, the harmony and unity achieved in the past two decades of constitutional rule are highly commendable.

Just as the nations progressed thus far, they still have to work more strenuously towards achieving the nationwide dream of renaissance and building new Ethiopia. They need to ensure that their hard won achievement would never be reversed and abused. Just as any system in the world their cohesion is also likely to face challenges both from local and external forces. But the unity they build should not be something that crumbles whenever some external forces launch malicious designs that aim to disintegrate their unity. Rather they have to make sure that their unity is strong enough to survive in the face of formidable challenge. Therefore they should take the opportunities of their anniversary to preempt such plots and stand together under any circumstance.

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