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Identities Or Resources At Stake? Controversies On National Self-Determination In Sidama And Wolayta

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Chapter Summary

In the past few years, Sidama and Wolayta have been caught up in three major controversies linked to the issue of national self-determination and implementation of the institutional arrangements of ethnic federalism. This chapter discusses how ethnic identities, constructed upon historical and cultural experiences selected from the repertoire of each group, become relevant in the interaction between ethnic groups and the state, as well as how the Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front's (EPRDF) politics of ethnicity and power in such a context is itself conflict producing. The conflicts explored in this chapter concern three key aspects of governance in multiethnic states: self-rule, territory, and identity. The establishment of Awassa led to the eviction of Sidama semi-pastoralists, members of the Havella clan. The Abaya conflict is an example of how political leaders who are originally disengaged from the local context can contribute to the escalation of a conflict.

Keywords: Abaya conflict; Awassa; EPRDF; national self-determination; Sidama; Wolayta



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