Original Research

Challenges arising from ethnic internal boundary determination in Ethiopia since 1991

Tshehledi I. Mokgopo
New Contree | Vol 82 | a57 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/nc.v82i0.57 | © 2023 Tshehledi I. Mokgopo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 January 2023 | Published: 30 July 2019

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Tshehledi I. Mokgopo, University of Limpopo, South Africa

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Like any other African country, Ethiopia has different ethnic groups with different languages. The Federal Constitution of Ethiopia guarantees all its ethnic groups including ethnic minority the right to self-determination. The constitution has also acknowledged the existence of different ethnic minorities at the regional level. The majority of these regions have also designed the institutions of local government as the primary mechanism of protecting sub-national ethnic minorities. In this article the deduction can be made that though ethnic minority status is guaranteed in the constitution there are still ethnic tensions in the country resulting from the use of ethnicity in determining internal boundaries in Ethiopia. Furthermore, it finds that Ethiopia is sitting on an ethnic time bomb and it must come up with a possible solution. This therefore left open the questions of whether ethnicity is a panacea for curbing ethnic tension and conflict when determining and demarcating municipal boundaries. In answering this question reference is made to Ethiopia where both regional and internal (local government) boundaries were demarcated using ethnicity as a factor. The discussion to follow analyse ethnicity in demarcating boundaries. It also highlights the challenges of demarcating boundaries using ethnicity.


Ethiopia; Ethnicity; Boundaries; Minority; Local government; Regional integration


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