Constitutional Design Options for Ethiopia: Managing Ethnic Divisions

Ethiopia’s political landscape has long been fraught with contending nationalisms with diverse, and at times contradictory, visions for managing ethnic division. While some political forces have advocated policies that could facilitate strongly convergent politics, others have stressed the need to effectively address the country’s age-old ‘nationalities’ question. Some have proposed solutions that lie between the two – gravitating to one side either ideologically or policy-wise. While all political forces have raised and debated several issues on diversity management, federalism has dominated most of their discussions. Although the Ethiopian federation is a reasonable springboard for political and academic debates, discussions on managing diversity should go beyond alternative routes to federalism. The discourse should benefit from all the options that comparative studies on managing ethnic division offer.