Ethiopia: reconciling unity and diversity



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The centralized forms of government adopted in the past could not accommodate the diversity of Ethiopia and therefore led to extensive armed struggles and conflicts. The country is sufficiently diversified and has then adopted a multinational federal system with the aim of creating a political and economic community while respecting diversity. The multinational (ethnically based) federal system and the decentralized form of government have since tackled the centuries-long questions posed by Ethiopians.

But recently there are new developments that threaten the centuries-long unity of the country, including the most important is ethnic compartmentalisation. The former unitary history of the country that threatened to cause disintegration and the recent trend of ethnic compartmentalisation have again raised the fierce debate between ethnic federalists and unionists.

Admittedly, Ethiopia is very diversified in terms of culture and geography. And there is no doubt that federalism is the best and ideal form of government to manage diversity. For the ethnic federalists it would therefore not be practical to think that the rights of such a diverse group of people would be guaranteed by a unitary form of government. This makes a choice for them federalism in Ethiopia without an option.

On the other hand, the multinational (ethnic) federal system has long been a source of controversy. Unionists claim that multinational (ethnic) federalism is against the unity of the country and that its adoption was a historical error. In particular, Article 39 of the Constitution, which grants the right to self-determination to secession for the states in the Federal Republic, has been a source of concern for the proponents of a strong unity. They fear that this will lead to the eventual disintegration of the country.

It was as the two extreme positions could not reconcile and the unity of the country was again threatened, when the reformist prime minister Abiy Ahmed, who worked as a unit, came up with the concept of "medemer", the Amharic equivalent for addition, but contextually this means synergy, as a solution for the growing ethnic division and the strong unitary sentiment.

As a result of the strong desire and emotion for unity, the prime minister brought the concept – an invitation to a common cause that is Ethiopia – at the right time to reconcile extreme visions. "Medemer" created public euphoria for unity because it boldly reflected the concept of unity while recognizing diversity. And it is in keeping with the centuries-long culture of harmony and coexistence of Ethiopians.

Admittedly, federalism is the right form of government for Ethiopia. But the problem is that in the past too much emphasis was placed on diversity at the expense of unity. In most cases, the rhetoric of unity has been affected.

That is why the country, while absorbing the fruits of multinational nationalism, has witnessed the growing sentiment of narrow nationalism. This trend is an alarm that much remains to be done to restore old and shared values ​​of unity. And if it is well understood and applied, the term & # 39; co-worker & # 39; from Dr. Abiy play a key role in this.

What must be underlined here is that diversity is a blessing, but it can also be a curse if it is used for short-term gains and wrong intentions. And this is what has been observed.

That is why it is better that we use our diversity to further strengthen our unity. Although federalism assures the right to self-government, it is also necessary that we emphasize shared rules.


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