Response to Dr.Negasso’s NED speech on Ethiopia politics By Teshome M. Borago

March 1st, 2015 Print Print Email Email

The much anticipated NED presentation in Washington DC by former President Dr. Negasso Gidada gives us a unique perspective on those Ethiopians who support ethnocentric manifesto. Also, hidden inside his heavy retrospection was his interesting endorsement of “Consociational Democracy.” While this new doctrine might not completely solve the decades long deadlock that is in Ethiopian politics, it can potentially bridge some major gaps. I will give a brief analysis on what exactly is “consociational democracy” and give my recommendations.

Before presenting my analysis, I have to mention two concerns. First, for those Ethiopians who saw Dr. Negasso Gidada briefly working with the UDJ opposition party, his speech in favor of ethnic-federalism and Article 39 must be a disappointment. At the same time, I believe it is a dangerous mistake that some Ethiopians (i.e. Dr Daniel Teferra’s response on Ethiomedia.com yesterday) still refuse to accept the existence of diverse ethnic groups and nationalities inside Ethiopia. Whether we like it or not, identity politics and ethnic consciousness exists everywhere in Ethiopia and it is irreversible. Whether we like it or not, the question of nationalities exists and it must be addressed.

It is embarrassing and disturbing how some Ethiopian scholars today still fail to understand such a basic concept that was already understood over 50 years ago by Ethiopian students like Wallelign Mekonnen et all. We can never have a healthy political discourse in Ethiopia if we continue to completely reject the aspirations, the identity and the beliefs of our brothers and sisters of Oromo, Tigrayan, sidama et al descent.

So, what is the “Consociational democracy” recommended by Dr Negasso Gidada?

Consociationalism was originally developed for European countries like Switzerland and Netherlands because incurable political and social divisions threatened the survival of these states, and to avoid endless civil wars. Most political scientists say that a stable democracy works when there is a homogeneous (cultural/identity/linguistic) majority, so it was believed that heterogeneous multi-ethnolingual countries that do not have one majority bloc will always be unsuccessful in establishing real democracy. Thus, the solution to this problem was introduced as “Consociational democracy.”

– “The goals of consociationalism are governmental stability, the survival of power-sharing arrangements, the survival of democracy, and the avoidance of violence. Political scientists define a “consociational state” as a state which has major internal divisions along ethnic, religious, or linguistic lines, with none of the divisions large enough to form a majority group, yet nonetheless manages to remain stable, due to consultation among the elites of each of its major social groups.”

So, is the best solution to Ethiopia’s problems Consociationalism?

In an extremely diverse country like Ethiopia, it is nearly impossible for the same type of democracy to be copy & pasted from the West. We have to adjust, design and develop our own form of democracy. We cannot impose the same type of liberal democracy used in countries that have a homogeneous majority.

Also, in third-world countries where most of the populations are often poor and illiterate, people tend to vote with their emotions over logic. Therefore, a government led by a diverse coalition of educated and moderate political elites (elected by the people) can fix fragmented societies of deeply divided countries. In many ways, consociationalism could be a better fit for Ethiopia.

There are many benefits to consociationalism in Ethiopia. For instance, if one of the purposes of Consociational democracy is “the avoidance of violence,” then Ethiopia qualifies because our country has sufferred decades of bloody civil wars and it is in danger of more wars in the future. Even with Dr. Negasso’s ethnic-federalism approach to cure our internal division, we still witnessed dozens of ethnic violence cases between 1991-2005.

The ethnic violence will be exponentially greater if ethnic groups are allowed to secede or create their own country. The violence will also increase if provincial-federalists take over Ethiopia and overturn the ethnic-federalism structure completely. Therefore, if some form of “Consociational democracy” arrangement can stop Ethiopia from a devastating and endless war, it is worth giving it a chance.

Yet, how do we apply Consociational democracy in Ethiopia?

First, we have to carefully identify the competing major political camps that must come around the negotiating table. According to Dr. Negasso, Ethiopia is faced with two competing camps. According to him, the first camp is made up of secessionist groups like OLF, ONLF, SLF etcetera. And the second camp is made up of anti-ethnic-federalism groups like Ginbot 7, UDJ and Patriot fronts. So according to him, “anti-secession ethnic-federalists” (like EPRDF and OFC/Medrek) are the middle ground. But this is a wrong conclusion. I believe the two polar opposite groups today are ethnic-federalists (it does not matter whether secessionist or not) and provincial-federalists. I believe these are the real two ideological extremities today. If ethnic-federalism and provincial-federalism is the main polar opposite ideologies in Ethiopia, then it is up to us to find a middle ground solution. I believe the best accommodating middle ground position could be a combination of both ethnic-federation system in the rural and a multi-lingual provincial-federation system around urban centers like Adama,Gondar, Addis, Awassa, Dire Dawa etc. But in order to have a consensus about the details, we must have an inclusive conference and a honest dialogue on which form of federalism structure is best for Ethiopia to accommodate all major ideological camps. To have a win-win situation, our elites representing both sides must negotiate.

Are the conditions in Ethiopia today ready for such a vital conference to take place between ethnic-federalists and provincial-federalists?

The short and simple answer is: NO. This all inclusive conference should have happened in 1991 but it didn’t. Today, the ethnic-federalists are empowered and well-represented inside and outside Ethiopia because they control the government (EPRDF) and they dominate the opposition (Medrek, OFC, UEDF, OLF, ONLF, SLF etc). Despite winning the 2005 election, the provincial-federalists (CUD, Ginbot7, UDJ, AEUP) are weakened and they are always victims of EPRDF schemes. For example in 2013, ex-OLF officials changed their outfit and went into Ethiopia under the ODF banner. In contrast, outspoken provincial-federalists are being targetted and chased out of the country. The current system in Ethiopia simply does not permit their existence. The only way to find long-term solution in Ethiopia is, first, by empowering the provincial-federalists like UDJ and Ginbot 7. Unfortunately today, UDJ has been paralyzed by the ruling party bureaucracy while Ginbot 7 is begging Eritrea to survive. The ruling party must know that the voice of millions of Ethiopians who oppose the current ethnic-based federal system should not and will not be stifled forever. Western nations who support the ruling party should also pressure Ethiopia to hold such an inclusive conference. Otherwise, the status quo is unsustainable.

One of the biggest obstacles to negotiations is that Dr Negasso Gidada and many similar people do not exactly understand which sector of the Ethiopian population opposes ethnic federalism. They are misinformed and they don’t trust the Ethiopians who reject ethnic-federalism. So to clarify, i have categorized them into 3 types of opposition to ethnic federalism.

Type1) Patriotic Ethiopian nationalists of any ethnic background who choose to self-identify themselves as
“Ethiopian” first.
Type 2) Mixed “Ethnic Ethiopians” by blood who have no choice but to call themselves Ethiopian because they are
born from two or more ethnic groups ancestry.

Type 3) People who seek to gain advantageous social status and economic benefit via exploitive unitary system.

One of the biggest mistakes made by some Oromo, Tigrayan and other ethnonationists is they ignore type 1 and type 2 as illegitimate; by grouping them all into a type3 blanket. Yes, those Ethiopians who belong to type 3 should never have a place in a future Ethiopia, but those Ethiopians belonging to type 1 & 2 should be given appropriate representation inside the government. Type 1&2 Ethiopians are the same Ethiopians that made the CUD party victorious in Addis Ababa, Adama, Gondar, Awassa and all semi-urban areas of the country during the 2005 national election. The ruling party may have imprisoned their leaders yesterday and today; but their people’s state of mind can never be imprisoned today or forever.

Final Recommendation

For Dr Negasso’s Consociational democracy to be successful in Ethiopia; the power sharing arrangements should not only be between ethnic groups; but also between one ethnic-based groupings, mixed ethnic based groups and non-ethnic based nationalists. The federalism structure should also be designed the same way by providing equality for all groupings.

One of the negatives of the “Consociational democracy” system is that it perpetuates division and institutionalizes political sectarianism. Unfortunately for Ethiopia, tribalism and negative ethnic differences have already been institutionalized over the last 50 years, especially the last 25 years. So it is too late. The only remedy is to balance its negative impact by co-institutionalizing Ethiopianism and providing equal representation to mixed Ethiopians and promote our common shared history. Therefore, I would propose our own unique Ethiopian Consociational democracy. This would be an “integrative and assimilative Consociationalism” toward a common sense of purpose, unity and citizenship to recreate a united states of Ethiopia made up of both ethnic-based states and provincial-based states.

teshomeborago@yahoo.com

  1. Mechal
    | #1

    Did you see Tadeos Daniel’s rebuttal to Negasso Gidada’s proposition? The political groups represent none but themselves.They are mincing words and queuing through the backdoor to grab power. For Ethiopians, the need is individual freedom and democracy! When such atmosphere prevails, the people shall determine how best to govern themselves. This is the road map to be pursued.

  2. aha!
    | #2

    I prefer to comment on the core issue of constitution based on ethnic and secessionist politics and/or policies with ideologies of ethnic federalism, secessionism and totalitarianism and or/state capitalism as opposed to a constitution based on Ethiopian Nationalism of Ethiopia as a One Nation State; when Dr. Negasso Gidada Solan video presentation, and Dr. Daniel Tefera’s response to that video and the current response by Teshome Borango to video presentation of Dr. Gidada Solan appear on the on Abugida website, where both Dr. Negasso Gidada’s and Teshome Borango’s approach is a redress of TPLF/eprdf’s constitution with superimposition of democracy/democratic rule over ethnic rule/ethno-cracy to justify the current ethnic federalism/ethnic homelands a prelude to ethnic secessionism, future boundary conflicts, and an ongoing ethnic cleansing as opposed to ratifying the constitution to mitigate those predicaments by resorting to the original provinces and developing languages and cultures in hyperspace and human and natural resources according to ecological regions commensurate with Ethiopian Nationalism. It is not only redressing the TPLF/eprdf’s constitution and it is also pandering to OPDO/EFDF/Medrek/fdre, a mirror image of TPLF/eprdf regime with its implicit support of the constitution with the objectives of respect for ethnic rights, “yekilil Mengistats iqulinet Mebit Mekeber (Nine ethnic homelands), democracy and human rights and political space with regard to election, where ethnic and secessionist rights overrides individual rights.

  3. Alemu
    | #3

    Thanks for this arricle
    Your ideas are commendable to unite ethiopians
    The problem is the nationalists want to return to DERG federalism and the tribalists like the current federalism
    So nobody is willing to give and take

  4. Yigermal
    | #4

    Ato Teshome,

    I want to start my comment by thanking you for your thoughtful commentary. Your suggestions are very reasonable if what you called “elites” from both sides were truly concerned about the existence of Ethiopia as most of us prefer (a democratic country where the rights of its citizens are respected). The reality is that most of the so called “elites”, educated or otherwise, can be categorized into your third group of ethnic Ethiopians and all they care about is how they are going to grab political power and personal wealth.

    Even in the current ethnic based federal structure, we know the reality on the ground and it is a handful of people from one ethnic group who manipulate everything and the so called “nations, nationalities, and peoples” that Dr. Negasso talks about don’t have real autonomy to elect their own leaders or handle their affairs.

    To those who are reading this comment, I found the following related article written by Mahlet, https://addispress.wordpress.com/tag/gurage/, in response to what Ato Teshome wrote back in 2009. There millions of Ethiopians who don’t fit or don’t want to put themselves into this or that ethnic box. If Ato Meles and his followers are proud to be a Tigre, why don’t I have equal right like him to call myself an Ethiopian?

  5. Garo
    | #5

    Mr. Borago.

    Just like the other group you criticize, you simply don’t have any study to back up your assertion. All those three groups you mentioned can be summarized as urban dwellers led by Amhara elites.And it is really a very small section of the Ethiopian population. The so called mixed ethnic group are just Urban phenomenon.These are people who are not really trusted by the opposing groups exactly for their mixed heritage.The reason they believe in the so called Ethiopian nationalism is because of their own self interest and it has nothing to do with vested interest of the whole country. This concept is really nothing new. It is Amhara nationalism disguised as Ethiopian nationalism. When you remove all the catchy phrases all it says is one Ethiopia in the images of traditional Abyssinian culture. This concept which excludes roughly Eighty percent of the rest of Ethiopian can not be unifying concept.

    What we need to understand is the culture of the ruling elite has been very hostile to any change that will accommodate all interests of its citizens. This idea of blaming the oppressed people for the problems the country is in, is not going to be the solution.

  6. Yigermal
    | #6

    @Garo,

    You are so obsessed with your tribal agenda that you don’t even realize the truth under your nose that most Ethiopians, be it in the urban or rural areas, are from mixed ethnic backgrounds. Supporting Ethiopian nationalism is by no means a disguise for Amhara nationalism and your claim as such shows your unnecessary fear of the Amharas. In a country where people from all backgrounds intermarried and lived together, your assertion that having a mixed background is a small phenomenon in Ethiopia speaks volume about you and your desire to stop millions of Ethiopians from exercising their God given right to live freely without being told to fit into this or that ethnic box.

    By the way, you asked the author of the article to back his claims and yet you make a rather ridiculous claim that the three groups he mentioned in his article are a very small section of Ethiopians who live in urban areas? Where did you get this “fact” Mr. Garo? The author proposed his idea to help us live together by compromising, what exactly are you offering other than driving a wedge in the crack?

  7. Ethioman
    | #7

    Dear Mr Teshome,

    Those ethiopians you call “provincial federalists” are proud ethiopians who believe in unity. Their party won ethiopian election by 99% of the vote in addis, in snnpr and amhara region. They also havr support in most towns so probably 60% of ethiopia supports provincial federalism

    So, why should we entertain the OLf and Tplf tribalist when we are clear majority?

  8. No Tribalism
    | #8

    Dear author,
    first of all you should have told us who NED is, here is a quote:
    ” In that sense, the terms of Kofi Annan (1997-2006) reflect the reality of the historical period, that of a unipolar world subjected to the globalization of U.S. hegemony at the expense of nation-states and the peoples that they represent.

    This strategy is in line with the device set up by Washington in the 1980s involving the National Endowment for Democracy, an agency that, contrary to its title, aims to carry forward the subversive action of the CIA by manipulating the democratic process. The NED subsidizes, legally or not, employers’ organizations, labor unions and associations of all kinds. In return, the beneficiaries participate in the Global Compact, thereby bending the positions of the Nation-States which lack the means to fund their own lobbies. Peace has stopped being a concern for the UN since the unipolar world has its own policeman, the U.S.; thus the organization can concentrate instead on absorbing all forms of protest to better corroborate the global disorder and justify the progressive global expansion of U.S. hegemony.”

    And the USA like its puppet TPLF favour tribalism in Ethiopia over Ethiopian nationalism because of its imperialist agendas.
    But the Ethiopian people have rejected tribalism in the 2005 elections, and will reject it again because it doesn’t fit Ethiopia and is USA and TPLF imposed. Why do you have a problem expressing that ?

    So what we have in Ethiopia is Ethiopian nationalists on the one hand who are backed by the population and tribalists on the other, who are agents of foreign powers. The foreign powers of course support their agents to advance their agendas. That is why they have been supporting tribalism in Ethiopia the last 24 years and earlier.
    Our position should be to reject the foreign imposed tribalism, which is also rightly rejected by all Africans. TPLF members and tribalists like Negasso Gidada should rather be charged with treason for having served foreign agendas.

    So the choice is easy, Ethiopian nationalism versus tribalism, Ethiopian interest versus foreign (USA, West) interest and Patriotism versus Bandaism.

  9. No Tribalism
    | #9

    In my view the author should have better demanded the satanic powers USA and UK should get out of Ethiopia.
    We had no tribalism problem before they came to our country, surely ethnic problems in Ethiopia were not worse or different from other countries in Africa, and the problem they now let their agents discuss in CIA cover NED was brought by them in the first place, and will go when they get out of our great country.
    What the foreign powers USA and UK should know that we will not accept tribalism in order to help them advance their imperialist agendas. No no !
    And NED is a CIA cover.

  10. Garo
    | #10

    @Yigermal
    Back it up. with facts not propaganda. We still have an overwhelming majority of people who call themselves Oromos and who want to be identified as Oromos. what about their rights? Mixed heritage if they exist at all is in urban areas. Even those may not be culturally mixed. They all celebrate Amhara cultures. How many wedding of these so called mixed marriages have you been to where the cultures of different ethnic wedding parties were represented? I have been to many wedding parties where even playing music other than Amharic was very offensive to the Amharas at the wedding. That is the kind of mixing you are talking about where one side has to disappear for the other side to be dominant. That is not mixing my friend. That is CULTURAL GENOCIDE which is still going on all in the name of Ethiopia.

    We know what life is like for people in the South even today because we still live it. Not much has changed. And the idea somehow some people have the audacity to ask us to give up our heritage just so that they can rule the country is mind boggling.It is not going to work because it does not represent the interest of the large majority of the people. That was the Monarchy fail, that was why the Derg fail, and that is why the TPLF is going to end up the same way.

  11. Garo
    | #11

    @Yigermal
    Back it up. with facts not propaganda. We still have an overwhelming majority of people who call themselves Oromos and who want to be identified as Oromos. what about their rights? Mixed heritage if they exist at all is in urban areas. Even those may not be culturally mixed. They all celebrate Amhara cultures. How many wedding of these so called mixed marriages have you been to where the cultures of different ethnic wedding parties were represented? I have been to many wedding parties where even playing music other than Amharic was very offensive to the Amharas at the wedding. That is the kind of mixing you are talking about where one side has to disappear for the other side to be dominant. That is not mixing my friend. That is CULTURAL GENOCIDE which is still going on all in the name of Ethiopia.

    We know what life is like for people in the South even today because we still live it. Not much has changed. And the idea somehow some people have the audacity to ask us to give up our heritage just so that they can rule the country is mind boggling.It is not going to work because it does not represent the interest of the large majority of the people. That was the Monarchy fail, that was why the Derg fail, and that is why the TPLF is going to end up the same way.
    As to how do I know how many people call themselves Oromos, Sidamas Somalis, Wolitas? look no further look at the census. It is Staring at You ah?

  12. Aleganesh Demisse
    | #12

    Close the stable door after the horse has bolted. Why do “Ethiopians” find it perennially difficult to adjust under Article 39 to live in harmony on equal basis? Afaraas, Oromos, Sidamas and Somali’s are conducting their own affaires in their own languages and scripts. We know it only too well who the losers are in this unequivocal circumstances. The whole point is the late Emperor Haile Selassie and Colonel Mengestab wedi Hailemariam (Tigryanized) dismally failed to take into account the legitimate aspiration of Eritreans, Oromos, Tigryans and Somalis, among others. One should give credit where it is due, the crude implementation of this salient feature by TPLF in offish and a haphazard way at the expense of other ethnic groups is admirable than who preceded by Woyane. People like Teshome had find the sovereign nation of Eritrea as if it is the 14th provinces of old Ethiopian State. To this writer Article 39 is important and indispensable to remedy the acute unequal developments between ethnic groups in terms economic infrastructure and other important issues.

  13. Teshome
    | #13

    Yigermal, Ethioman and No Tribalism are Ethiopians, represent Ethiopia and Ethiopia belongs to them. They are in the camp of the Ethiopian nationalists and patriots, Garo & Aleganesh Demisse however, both most likely TPLF cadres, are in the camp of the tribalists and bandas and represent themselves and the foreign enemies. The white supremacist Americans and Britons very much like to use them as tools. But we the Ethiopian patriots dont allow that. Indeed TPLF members and tribalists should be charged with treason. And saying Ethiopianism is Amharism is cheap lie. Both TPLF and their foreign supporters can not make their tribalism last longer than TPLF rule.

  14. Yigermal
    | #14

    @Garo,

    Lighten up man! I was at a wedding this past January where we danced all night to all kinds of music from different parts of Ethiopia. We all jumped up and down when the most popular Wolaita songs like “Dendaw” were played and almost everyone at the wedding was on the floor dancing. When the popular Wolaita song ended, the wedding hall burst with a loud applause and request to repeat. You may have different experience at the weddings you have attended, but it is simply foolish to generalize your anecdotal experience to all weddings of people from different ethnic or cultural backgrounds. I am from South too and there aren’t that many bitter souls like you where I am from. Your fear of what you dubbed “the Amhara elites” is a paranoia and you have to seek help as our desire to live freely and together as Ethiopians is not a threat to anyone.

  15. aha!
    | #15

    At this juncture of debates about the constitution of the TPLF/eprdf regime, a conglomerate of ex-liberation fronts, which fought against the previous regime against of oppression of nations and nationalities, but not for class struggle in terms of land reform and workers rights in the context of Dr. Negasso Gidada’s proposal on a constitution, there is a need to bring forward to Abugida website Prof. Alemayehu’s article on ” A Magna Carta for Ethiopia”, which stands on its own and Tadeos Daniel’s article entitled “Some Observation on Dr. Negasso Gidada’ Talk” to enable to put matters into perspective.

    From my own perspective in terms of the political model as well as the ideological perspective of ethnic federalism and secessionism built into the constitution puts the Ethiopian Government structure in a unique position than any other nation under dictatorship, which all the above mentioned authors have not put into consideration, when discussing about the constitution of the TPLF/eprdf regime. The TPLF/eprdf regime as well its mirror image embody an ethnic-oriented rather than people oriented constitution or government as such they do not have the basis for democracy, where democracy is a rule by the people, for the people, and of the people, where the party elected to the Office rules by the consent of the governed. The Government includes in its constitution independent of branches of government and party alignments along national agenda, rather than ethnic agenda, where the constitution has front and center individual freedom, liberty and equality before the law as a basis for constitutional democracy not anything proposed ether Dr. Negasso Gida and its supporter in terms of the analogy of Netherlans, Switzerlands, as opposed to the analogy of Germany of 50 feudal kingdoms and later the unification of East and West Germany under democratic rule/democracy similar to the fourteen feudal kingdoms of Ethiopia of assorted ethnic groups to form perhaps form autonomous states or provinces, albeit under Monarchy with a constitution, pending for constitutional Monarchy with democracy, that never materialized because of conflicting interest among the revolutionary movements.

  16. Koya
    | #16

    “What is this fake Nationalism? Is it not simply Amhara and to a certain extent Amhara-
    Tigre supremacy? Ask anybody what Ethiopian culture is? Ask anybody what Ethiopian
    language is? Ask anybody what Ethiopian music is? Ask anybody what the “national
    dress” is? It is either Amhara or Amhara-Tigre!! To be a “genuine Ethiopian” one has to
    speak Amharic, to listen to Amharic music, to accept the Amhara-Tigre religion,
    Orthodox Christianity and to wear the Amhara-Tigre Shamma in international
    In short to be an Ethiopian, you will have to wear an Amhara mask”
    Walleligne Mekonnen November 17, 1969

    Unless the national question is solved ,ethiopia will be in trouble. Garo is the only one who really speaks the truths.
    No more one country ,one language,one religion.
    Tigre mal, can you tell me what is Axum to somali? What is Lalibela to Afar ? What is mixed ethiopian? All this bla bla will lead no where. Come to your sens and let us build a confederation or a true federation of nation and nationalities.
    Any how ethnic federalism is here for longtime

  17. Koya
    | #17

    Please read
    Yigermal in steak of Tigre mal

  18. Koya
    | #18

    AhaI
    Ethiopia is an empire like austria hungry empire,othoman empire,russia empire. You How all this empire ended.
    Either we listen to the nations and nationalities and recognise their rights to live in their national statein ethiopia or we continue talking one nation,bla bla and try day in day out to dismantle the new acquired rights of the oppressed nations.
    Aha,has PHD Daniel tadeos Knowles really ethiopian different nationalities ,their languages,cultures ,why they are fighting.He is talking about the history .But who wrote the history of ethiopia,the winner ,no? But we have our history which is totaly different of those of these phd.

  19. USA Fears Blowback
    | #19

    The author of this article and the commentors should remind one thing: the tribalists exist in Ethiopia because the ferenjis want that.
    The ferenjis want that at least since the 1930s when the Austrian Nazi Baron Roman Prochazka called to dismember Ethiopia.
    And thanks to “Operation Paperclip” the CIA is a Nazi institution and as such tries to implement the plan of Nazi Roman Prochazka.
    Please always remind that and this author and others must quote the Nazi Prochazka when they write about this issue.

    Again the tribalists exist because the ferenjis want that.

    And the CIA, afraid of a blowback, very much likes that the tribalist system it brought to Ethiopia survives the TPLF.
    Therefore we see these activities of NED, an institution linked to the CIA. Consider also that Negasso Gidada could have been bribed to be used for this CIA agenda.

    Ethiopia has no tribal or religious problems worse than in any other African country. Actually inter-tribal and inter-religious relations are exemplary in Ethiopia. And tribalism is rejected and banned in Africa for good reasons. The author should remind that also.

    Few quotes:

    “The Nazis of Austro Hungary had already in the 1930′s targeted Ethiopia as a threat against white supremacy, and white colonialism in Africa, the book by the Austrian Nazi, Baron Roman Prochazka’s “Abyssinia the Powder Barrel” (Vienna 1935), translated in all the major Western languages before the Italian invasion in 1936. Baron Roman Prochazka was posted for two years as Austrian Consul in Addis Ababa until his expulsion in February 1934, for activities not compatible with his job of a diplomat. The Italian translation of Prochazka’s book entitled ABISSINIA PERICOLO NERO meaning “Abyssinia the Black Threat or Danger” was published in 1935, which is a year before the Fascist invasion. ”

    … “The final aim of (Abyssinian) policy of antagonism to the white race, in co-operation with Japan, is nothing less than to act as the champions of all the colored peoples of Africa… It is incumbent on the legations of the civilized nations in Abyssinia to warn their governments to take a definite stand before the Abyssinians attack and destroy western culture and civilization in its entirety. There is no such thing as a united Abyssinian people. The greater part of the non-Christian tribes in Abyssinia has no more burning desire than to be freed from the tyranny of the Amharas.
    If they would vote freely they would certainly prefer a European protectorate to universally hated extortionists and slave drivers. This country is cracking at all its joints and has only been kept together up to the present by methods of ruthless coercion.”

    With all the talk of the “right of self determination” in the 1930′s the CIA’s Ethiopia policy of the right of self-determination and nations and nationalities could has been copied word for word from the Nazi Baron Roman Prochazka, for the tribal dismemberment of Ethiopia. “ ”

    “Navy commander Commodore Tasew Desta wrote in his book “yeetiopia andenet teztana tegel, 1998” :
    “The story of the last days of the EPDA in Khartoum is told us by Commodore Tasew who was the President of the EPDA with a determined stand to serve the cause of Ethiopian unity to the end. As such Commodore Tasew was an element to be liquidated by the CIA and its proxy agents the EPLF-TPLF as well as by the loyalist Wing in EPDA in the service of the CIA led by Dereje Deresa. This is how the story was told by Commodore Tasew; “ yeetiopia andenet teztana tegel, 1998” p.190 ”

    … “ America’ s anti-Ethiopian unity policy had become clear to us beyond any doubt when the US had started to identify itself closely with the EPLF and TPLF and had decided to hand over power in Ethiopia from the Derg to the EPLF-TPLF. It was also then that the CIA had come out openly to block the forces of Ethiopian unity and serve the cause of Ethiopian dismemberment. ” ”

    … ” Aspects of United States recent involvement in Ethiopian affairs have been analyzed briefly by Commodore Tassew Desta in his (Amharic) book, ”Ethiopian Unity: Memories and Struggles”. On page 90 he states that while EPDA — that the Commodore was a part of — was told that any “help given to OLF, TPLF and EPLF was not to dismember Ethiopia but only to strengthen the forces fighting the Derg.” However, he realized that the “policy was anti-Ethiopian unity when a few months before the severing of Eritrea from Ethiopia, certain EPDA leaders were advised (by their contacts) that if they open communications with OLF, EPLF and TPLF and reach a working relationship with them and accept the independence of Eritrea, you will be enabled to go to Addis Ababa and establish a (joint) government.” He adds that the EPDA members approached with this proposal declined to compromise their stand on Ethiopian unity—and the rest is history.”

  20. USA Fears Blowback
    | #20

    USA has zero chance to keep the discredited tribal system after TPLF. The weyanes, shabias, and sekarams like koya
    are also of no help. It is better for the USA to apologize to the Ethiopian people instead of organizing useless meetings in NED.

  21. Abere
    | #21

    @Aha!
    Prof. Alemayehu’s “A Magna Carta for Ethiopia” is not a proposal but a wish list. Essentially it reads as “I wish Ethiopia had a good constitution”, and to me, it goes in the same line as “I wish I had a boat!” with out saying why I need it or what its content should be.

  22. USA Fears Blowback
    | #22

    Another aspect of USA/TPLF imposed tribalism in Ethiopia is that USA and company had also a “tribalization agenda” for the whole of Africa.
    We have heard about TPLF’s attempts (as ordered by its sponsors) to export it’s “ethnic federalism” model to other African countries, and that that was rejected.
    We have heard also about conferences about “ethnic federalism” in the rooms of the African Union in Addis Abeba organized by TPLF and its Western supporters, and that the African countries lost interest to participate there, a diplomatic defeat for both TPLF anf it’s Western sponsors. The African countries not only lost interest in the “ethnic federalism” agenda of TPLF and it’s Western sponsors, some countries such as Ghana, even passed laws that ban political organisation based on tribal grounds.
    It is good that the Western countries suffered a defeat in their “tribalization project” in Africa.

  23. aha!
    | #23

    Apart from the lack of historical perspectives surrounding the constitution from the previous regimes according to Dr. Daniel Tefera, Dr. Negasso Gidada’s proposal lacks the justification for lack of independent branches of Government, lack of alignment of parties around the national agenda for unity, territorial integrity, sovereignty of Ethiopia and Ethiopians where the last item refers to individual freedom, liberty and equality before the law prevalent in a democratic governments, rather than to sugar coat ones project proposal designated for constitutional scholar on a post doctoral fellowship with a consociational democracy as redress to ethnic federalism, secessionism ant totalitarianism and/or state capitalism, which denies the silent majority of Ethiopians free market capitalism at least in terms of ownership of land anywhere in Ethiopia and individual freedom as a basis for a democratic government in the context of Germany but not Netherlands or Switzerland, as there could be no grounds for negotiations between Ethiopian Nationalism and ethnic federalism, ethnic secessionism and totalitarianism and/or state capitalism, supported by TPLF/Political, TPLF/EFFORT, TPLF affiliated enterprises and foreign corporations particularly in terms of land lease that gives the appearance of ex-South African regime. How is consociational democracy a panacea for proposal of a constitutional reform from existing government structure and constitutional frame work based on ethnic on ethnic and secessionist politics and/or policies.

  24. aha!
    | #24

    The supporting argumentative position in this article is: “Present Dr. Negasso Gidada gives us a new perspective on those Ethiopians who support ethnocentric manifesto” (OPDO/EFDF/Medrek/fdre?), other than TPLF/eprdf regime?

    As such both parties bypass the notion that the Ethiopian society had been advancing for centuries by way of intermarriage, by way of immigration and “Zemecha” of one type or another, where by the societies of 80 ethnic groups were living together harmoniously up until the ideologies of ethnic federalism, secessionism and totalitarianism have been inscribed in the constitution.

    Initially the problem of ethnicity surfaced when the elites in the liberation movements who fought the previous regimes against oppression of nations and nationalities drafted a constitution that divides Ethiopia’s land mass by major languages and conglomerate of other ethnic groups into nine Killil /zones of self rule instead of leaving the original provinces in tact as the original kingdoms. Consequently. the current frame work of the constitution as in (Article 46) serves as a prelude ethnic secessionism/ethnic nationalism (Article 39 (1), future boundary conflicts among major ethnic groups and promotes an ongoing ethnic cleansing. Having thus established ill defined boundaries of ethnic homelands under Article 46, with TPLF as the architecture of a divide and rule policy as in a colonial style, with Dr. Negasso Gidada as one of the drafters of the constitution of the TPLF-led Provisional Government and now coming with a reform of the constitution as presented in the argumentative position of the article and the concept of consociatal democracy over the newly established homelands, is nowhere close to the analogy drawn to Netherlands or Switzerland, let alone the UK, with emphasis to major ethnic rule from the current minority ethnic rule, that has already failed in the 2010 election, which does not produce a constitution of a truly democratic government with individual rights (individual freedom, liberty and equality before the law) having precedence over ethnic and secessionist rights. Whereas if the individual rights are respected the group rights follow under a one nation state, but not vice versa in people-oriented than ethnic oriented government, where the unity for democracy is the individual not an ethnic group be it 80 or nine ethnic groups/ethnic homelands.

  25. aha!
    | #25

    In this discussion about Ethiopian Constitution initiated by Dr. Negasso Gidada, I submit an additional request for Prof. Alemayehu G. Mariam’s article entitled “The poison of ethnic federalism in Ethiopa’s body politic” to be brought forward in Abugida website as narratives to ethnic federalism and its consequences.

    Futhermore, the constitution in its current form and the present proposal heads towards disintegration than integration and undermines the positive progress of integration by intermarriage, voluntary migration by trade and/or zemecha of one type or another, other than deterrence by harsh environment, which me the take the analogy of vertically integrated organism such as a tree in which the Oromo/Amhara represent the roots, the Amhara/Oromo represent the stem, and the others the bigger branches and smaller branches of a tree, based on population sizes with each serving its functions and vertically integrated part of an organism called Ethiopia as a one nation state in the context of the 14 original provinces, including Eritrea.

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