Ethnic federalism is not the reason Ethiopia is disintegrating
Tigrai Online Editorial, July 25, 2019
Ethiopia is in the process of fragmenting like the former Yugoslavia did in the nineteen nineties. The reason why Ethiopia is tearing itself apart at the seams is not because the way it is structured currently.
The causes for the ongoing fragmentation of Ethiopia are not ethnic federalism or the Ethiopian constitution giving the Ethiopian people self determination up to secession.
The Ethiopian government is structured in nine regional states based on ethnic, linguistic, geographic amalgamation. The implementation of the federal structure gave the people of Ethiopia the power to be an active participant in decision making, safe guarding their interests, the right to own land and other resources, plan and map out their own political affairs within the Ethiopian federal system.
The federal restructuring also distributed political and economic power that was concentrated in one place, namely Addis Ababa and one ethnic group for almost a century to all the regional states.
Some analysts blame the Ethiopian federal system and constitution for the political unrest in Ethiopia in the past four or five years and now. Exclusively Ethiopian Amhara elites and activists are completely certain the Ethiopian federal system is harmful to their interests. The main reason behind Amhara opposition to the new structuring, they claim they were not represented when the federal system was adapted. That is not entirely correct because there were many Amhara intellectuals and political groups and individuals when the new constitution was created.
The real reason why only the Amhara elites and to some extent the general population bitterly oppose the Ethiopian federal structure and the new constitution is hidden behind a fake agenda called “Ethiopiawinet”. The first real reason is the Ethiopian political power was monopolized by Amharas and they lost is when TPLF/EPRDF came to power. The second reason is the Amharas are the most dispersed ethnic group in Ethiopia. About half of the total population of Amharas lives outside of the regional state throughout the country. Wherever they settled they expropriated the land of the local people by force.
Amharas think they have every right to own the land where they live even if their population is disproportional to the land they own.
These are the main real reasons why Amharas oppose the Ethiopian current federal arrangement. Amharas wanted to take more than their share like the old times, but it is imposible to do in the current arrangement. Amharas dodn’t love Ethiopia more than any Ethiopian or care about Ethiopian unity more than the next ethnic group. They claim they paid more than any other people to protect Ethiopia, but there has never been a single war that was fought only by Amharas and won in the history of Ethiopia.
Due to the geographic location and proximity to the red sea, all the invaders came through Eritrea and Tigrai. The battles of Gundet 1875, Gura 1876, Aylet 1887, and Senhit 1880 against the Egyptians, Sahati 1887, Dogali 1887 against the Italian invaders and many more battles were fought and won one hundred percent by Tigraians. In the above battles the Tigrai heroic troops annihilated the Egyptian and Italian invading armies with the superior leadership of Ras Alula Engida Equbi the famous African military general under Emperor Yohannes IV, King of Zion. In the above decisive battles there weren’t any Amharas or other Ethiopians. So, there is no factual ground for the fairytale that the Amharas tale the world they defended Ethiopia for centuries.
They were not even able to defend the old capital, Gonder when it was ravaged by the Mahdists, but it was the Tigrai army led by Emperor Yohannes IV that ejected the Sudanese invaders and the blessed Emperor gave his life to defend it.
The so called political analysts are barking in the wrong tree when they are blaming the Ethiopian federal structure and the Ethiopian constitution for all the chaos in Ethiopia including what is going on in southern Ethiopia this week.
We think all the questions of statehood in southern Ethiopia should be addressed in democratic, respectful, peaceful and transparent manner as soon as possible. The Ethiopian government is sending federal security forces including regular army troops to stop the unrest, but using force wouldn’t solve the root cause of the issue.
The federal government or any other force should not touch the Ethiopian constitution or the federal system for any reason. Doing so will have a dire consequences for Ethiopia and the entire Horn of Africa region.