Federalism Debate: Are Somali Ethiopians Less Ethiopian? – M. Qardojeex

March 12th, 2010 Print Print Email Email

Debate rages over the future and well-being of Ethiopia as election fever grips this nation. (more…)

Debate rages over the future and well-being of Ethiopia as election fever grips this nation. While some of the debates are public and political parties face off on issues of national importance, others are just private conversations between ordinary citizens. One debate that caught my attention though is the recently televised acrimonious debate between the ruling party, EPRDF, and some opposition parties over the Federal system.

A small group of us watched this debate together and we had an after-thought conversation about the current Federal system. The small band agreed on some issues and disagreed over other key pillars of the unique Federal arrangement in Ethiopia, but we finally plunged into a specific discussion on whether the current ethnic-based Federalism has provided a better representation for the historically marginalised Somali Ethiopians- we were all from the Somali region (Ogaden). It is obvious that election related discussions are going on all over the place and need not be publicised, but a very significant constitutional question was raised in our exchange and it begs for an answer- the question of the representation formula in the House of People’s Representatives (HPR).

According to the supreme law of the land, i.e. the constitution, every 100,000 citizens have the right to elect one Member of Parliament (MP) who represents them in the House of People’s Representatives. The website of the Ethiopian Federal Parliament points to this fact and says “Each member of the HPR represent 100,000 constituency”. Since representation is based on population estimates, let us take Tigray which has a population size similar to the Somali region. Based on the 1994 Census by the Central Statistical Agency, both regions had a little less than 3.8 million populations. In accordance, Tigray has currently 38 MPs in the House of People’s Representatives and that is 1MP per 100,000 citizens (view the Ethiopian parliament website to see the list of MPs). On the other hand, Somali region has 23 MPs in the House of People’s Representatives which corresponds to 1MP per 160,000 citizens. This discrepancy was raised during our discussion and none of us could find an answer. Can you?

Tigray is not the only well represented state in the HPR. Oromia, Amhara, Sothern Nations, Afar, and all other Federal states except the Somali Regional State are represented based on their population size.

The fact that the House of People’s Representatives is the highest authority of the Federal government one may assume that it mirrors the rest of the Federal institutions in Ethiopia. I therefore urge the Federal Government to look into this constitutional issue before the upcoming election takes place.

M. Qardojeex

  1. Ibrahim
    | #1

    As your name indicates, really you are Qardojeex. What better representation you are talking about, from Menelik to this Meles, the worst regime in terms of human suffering is the current one you praising. If you are satisfied with illusion of TPLF, if you are ignoring the thousands of women, children, and elderly people who are perished under the TPLF rule, if you are happy about the fake name “The Somali Region”, if you think Da’ud Amhar is the head of the Somali region not Gebrayes, then you lost a lose that you cannot identfy who you are. Be what you are, or believe Melez as he is your uncle.
    Thanks Qardojeex

  2. melik
    | #2

    Nice point.

  3. Feisa
    | #3

    It has nothing to do with being one is more ethiopian or less ethiopian
    as you said the representation has to do with the number of population
    in the state.I am not sure whether the number of population of Tigray and Somalia are very close as you are claiming. One thing is clear
    during census one can come up with a very close population number in
    Tigray, but i have doubt in Somalia because certain quantity of the population tend to pursue nomadic life so the government has to decide
    the number of house of representatives according to the number of population at hand. So stop compaining! Try to turn your head and see other factors also.

  4. ብስራት
    | #4

    በርግጥ በጣም አስቸጋሪ ነው

  5. Anonymous
    | #5

    Somalians all the way to Moquadishu have always been Ethiopiansm, and will always be Ethiopians (at least by Genetics), since the days of Giza. They are ancient Ethiopians (Egyptians)and their language is similar to the older form of the Ethiopian language. Today religion and politics have diveded them from their neighboring Brothers in Ethiopia

  6. Ayub
    | #6

    The same question can be asked as whether Somali Ethiopians feel more of Ethiopians or Somalians? will they give and contribute to a stable, stronger and economically independent Ethiopia or to the fragmented clan based politics operating in Somalia who are causing havoc and devastation? To answer the Author’s question on fair representation of all regions to elect Member of Parliament, i agree with the Author on the Formula of electing one Member of Parliament reflecting the number of population of the Region should apply to all with no exception.

  7. ደስ
    | #7

    ብዛት ያላቸው፣ ሁለ-ገብ ጥያቄዎች እየተነሱ ነው። በበኩሌ ልደቱ አያለው ያነሳቸው ነጥቦች፣ ለምሳሌ የሐረሪ ክልል ራሱን የቻለ ሲሆን፣ የሲዳማ ብሄረሰብ በብዛቱ ከሀረሪ ህዝብ በ4 እጥፍ የበዛ ሆኖ ሳለ የራሱ ክልል የለውም። እንዲሁም በሀሪሪ ክልል ውስጥ ከመቶ አመት በላይ የኖሩ፣ የቅድመ አያቶቻቸው እትብት በተቀበረበት፣ ቁጥራቸው ከሃረሪ ቋንቋ ተናጋሪ በላይ የሆኑ የአማራ እና የኦሮሞ ተወላጆች ይገኛሉ። እነዚህ እንደ ሀገረኛ ሳይሆን እንደመጤ ተቆጥረዋል። በተጨማሪም፣ በሁለም ክልል ውስጥ የሚኖሩ ከተደባለቀ ብሄር ተወላጅ የሆኑ ሰዎች፣ ወይ ያባትህን ወይ የናትህን ብሄር ምረጥ/ጭ በመባል ኢ-ሰብዓዊ የሆነ ድርጊት እየተፈጸመባቸው ነው። ኢ-ሰብዓዊ ያልኩት ይህ ወላጅን የማስመረጥ ድርጊት ከተወላጆች የተፈጥሮ ዝንባሌ፣ እናትንና አባትን ሳያበላልጡ እኩል ከማየትና ከመውደድ ተፈርሯዊ ስሜት ጋር የሚፃረር በመሆኑ ነው።

    እዚህ የቀረበውም የሱማሌ ብሄረሰብ ጥያቄ ከዚሁ፣ ትርጉም ከሌለው አልባሌ አሰራር የመነጨ መሆኑ ግልጽ ነው።

    ኢህአዴግ የህገ-መንግሥቱን ማስተካከያ አንቀጾች ከህዝብ ጋር በመቅረጽ ማስገባት አለበት። አለት ላይ እንደተጻፈ ድርቅ ብሎ የኢትዮጵያን ግለሰብ ሳይፈገው በየብሄሩ መዶል፣ ዞሮ ዞሮ ሽንፈት ነው የሚያስከትለው።

  8. Dire
    | #8

    That is right. The formula should apply uniformly.

Comments are closed.