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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Dynamics of political ethnicity and ethnic policy in Ethiopia: national discourse and lived reality in the Guji-Gedeo case
Author:Asebe Regassa Debelo
Periodical:The journal of Oromo studies
Geographic term:Ethiopia
ethnic conflicts
Abstract:By the late 1960s, the question of nationalities had begun to lead the political agendas of ethnic-based social movements in Ethiopia. These movements contributed to the 1974 revolution and toppled the military regime in 1991, ushering in a new political order in which ethnic federalism was the principal organizing theme of Ethiopian politics. Defenders of ethnic federalism argue that granting administrative autonomy to ethnic groups is the only solution to redress past injustices. Ironically, interethnic conflicts have escalated in the post-1991 period. Even ethnic groups who claim to possess shared values, cultures, beliefs and myths of common ancestry and have for centuries coexisted in harmonious and interdependent relationships were involved in bloody conflicts. Such conflicts occurred in 1995 and 1998 between the Guji and the Gedeo of southern Ethiopia. Using the Guji-Gedeo conflicts as a case study, this paper explores the nexus between the discourse on ethnic federalism and the practical challenges in implementing federalist policies. It shows that the conflict was an early outcome of the implementation of the Ethiopian experiment of ethnic federalism and that it resulted from the discrepancy between the official promises of the political model and how power was actually exercised on the ground. Bibliogr. [ASC Leiden abstract]