Creating a United Democratic Ethiopia after Zenawi’s regime -but how, with its diverse ethnic groups?
on May 27, 2012
In the first part of this paper, I will present my analysis of forced unity and its consequences. I will argue that unifying ethnic groups by decree has resulted in institutions that are not suited to achieving cooperative agreements among the various groups. Instead, ethnic groups in Ethiopia lived and continue to live in what I would like to call Prisoner’s Dilemma Situations.
All previous institutional arrangements in Ethiopia have been disappointing. All indicators show
that such institutional arrangements are not suited to harmonize the interests of heterogeneous groups. Thus, in the second part of this paper, I will discuss how to harmonize conflicting interests of various
ethnic groups to create a truly united democratic Ethiopia after the departure of Meles Zenawi’s regime.
Unity by force and its consequences
Many tribal communities existed independently before Menilek II left his kingdom in Northern Shewa to conquer them. These communities frequently consisted of thousands of members or even millions and possessed well-developed cultures and languages and clear tribal consciousness. In the process, without due regard to ethnicity, culture, or even the existing institutions of government, different ethnic groups were united under the kingdom of Menilek II. The various groups did not participate in deciding which other groups to unite with nor did they have an opportunity to agree on the nature of their relationship with these other groups. Read the rest of this entry