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International Journal of Political Science and Development

Vol. 3(4), pp. 166173, April, 2015.  

DOI: 10.14662/IJPSD2015.024

ISSN: 2360-784X



Research Paper



Constitutional Perils of Ethiopia’s Ethnic Federalism: Insights from Self-Determination Principle in Case of ‘Kunama’ Ethnic Minority


Girmay Abraha


Girmay Abraha, PhD. Candidate in Addis Ababa University, Institute for Peace and Security Studies. He is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Civics and Ethical Studies, College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Samara University, Ethiopia. Email: gakl42@yahoo.com


Accepted 18 April 2015




The current FDRE Constitution of Ethiopia has recognized dozens of ethnic groups to apprehend right to self-determination by launching nine regional states through their respective ethnic outlines. Given this, the ultimate purpose of this article is to explain and analyze the extent of Constitutional peril in degrading minorities’ right to self-determination in today’s federal setting vis-ŕ-vis the Kunama ethnic minorityin Tigray Regional State, Ethiopia. To this end, methodologically, substantial scholarly literature and politico-legal documents (largely the federal and Tigray regional constitutions) were reviewed and discussed through both descriptive and critical analysis approaches. Thus, the findings demonstrated that the constitutional right to self-determination in case of Kunama minority is seemingly slim due to: first, the absent of accessible structural and constitutional arrangements of the minorities to hold sound political representation and participation in most of the regional, zonal and Wereda structures and institutions. Second, there is lack of constitutional policy/mechanism to promote the socio-cultural traditions of the minorities; and third, asymmetric regional power distribution and empowerment for the minorities. Hence, with an optimistic intent to resolve ethnic injustices, reshuffle unenforceable constitutional principles, foresee unintended discriminations, renew cultural denials and rearrange inattentive political recognition of the minority, this article forwards, there should be a timely constitutional reconciliation and structural renegotiation maneuver at all the federal, regional, zonal and Wereda levels through the virtuous spirit of constitutionalism.


Keywords: Constitution, Constitutionalism, Self-determination, Ethnic-Federalism, Minority


Cite This Article As: Girmay A (2015). Constitutional Perils of Ethiopia’s Ethnic Federalism: Insights from Self-Determination Principle in Case of ‘Kunama’ Ethnic Minority. Inter. J. Polit. Sci. Develop. 3(4): 166-173






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