Ethiopia’s Federalism – Challenges, Opportunities

by Zelalem

More recently, some quarters have been posing multiple threats to the over two -decades- old federal system in Ethiopia through instigating violence and fomenting unrest in some parts of the country.

In fact, the incumbent has been taking measures to restore peace and order in violence -stricken areas, and very recently it has also established National Security Council aimed at holding accountable the perpetrators and ensuring durable peace and stability nationwide.

Despite the ongoing efforts of upholding rule of law, the unrest and the outbreak of lawlessness have been creating havoc in the country and the federal system has also been facing imminent threats.

House of Federation Speaker Yalew Abate says: ” What is happening right now is that developmental thinking and rent seeking mentality are locked horns as the economy is getting bigger.”

For many years, the nation has been working around- the- clock aiming to be one of the low-middle income economies, in the meantime those who want to accumulate wealth through short-cut have been flexing their muscles, he adds.

He goes to say that the county will face endless chaos so long as development thinking does not gain upper hand. ” Corruption, chauvinism, parochialism, religious extremism and other features of rent-seeking have to be combated under any circumstances, otherwise, the country will be at open ended war with rent seekers.”

The speaker also indicates that anti-peace elements have dominated the social media by spreading unfounded stories and this by itself has been worsening the situation .” The government needs to do a lot in-terms of discouraging the inappropriate use of social media and winning the war against rent-seekers.”

To regain the nation’s glorious past, the government has been carrying out deep reform with a view to intensifying the fight against rent-seeking mentality and corruption, he notes.

The government has been saying that rent-seekers are the ones who add fuel to the current unrest behind the curtain. On the other hand, some people have been saying that federalism is the source of all conflicts in the country.

For Yalew, antidemocratic forces and rent-seekers living inside and outside the country have been attempting to assume power undemocratically. “They are always trying to destabilize the country whenever a conflict arises. As they are power mongers and corrupt individuals, they put the national and the public interests at risk for the sake of personal gains.”

Moreover, those who are always blaming federalism for every arsing conflict are out of their senses in one way or another and they are also promoting ‘one country ,one people and one language policy’ which had put the country in danger of disintegration in the past, he notes.

The speaker points out that ever since the federal system of government put into action in Ethiopia, it has managed to bring sustainable peace and development than ever before. For instance, it has reduced poverty rate from 48 percent to 22 percent within two decades. The country’s negative image has totally changed due to its non- stop rapid economic growth and diplomatic achievements, he adds.

According to him, federalism has made every state to practice self- administration and to promote one’s culture and language . It has also brought an end to the era of the oppressive unitary system.

With regard to ensuring sustainable peace and development in the country, Yalew stresses that the government needs to continue taking tough measures against rent-seekers , the core principles of the constitution have to be respected under any circumstances and peace building efforts have to be exerted in those conflict stricken states in a permanent manner.

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