Challenges of Ethiopian Transition: Breakthrough or Brink of Collapse?

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Amare Kenaw Aweke


Anti-regime protests rocked Ethiopia from November 2015 to mid-February 2018. Two of the dominant Ethnic groups were at the forefront of the protests. Although the dissent was triggered by two separate events, there were a variety of long-standing structural conditions setting the ground for the protest. The campaign succeeded in bringing together hitherto accusatorial groups and mobilized nationwide protest. Although brute force was used by the regime, protesters eventually succeeded in forcing to relinquish its power and ushered political reforms. As a result, the political space declared widened, long-shattered Ethio-Eritrean relation restored, and political prisoners were released. The experience transformed the conventional notions of regime change. The reform shows there is glimmer of hope Ethiopia may succeed in transitioning into democracy. However, there are also some shady areas with the potential to capitulate the entire process of transition. Some of these challenges came along with the new reforms and have the potential not only to disrupt the process but also jeopardizes Ethiopia’s corporate existence as a unified nation. The purpose of this article, therefore, is to analyze transitional challenges that require careful considerations. These include, but are not entirely limited to, historical reworking and meddling between and among identity-based references, feelings of periodic ethnic-power turn takings on the grounds of identity, social media elevated populism & adventurism, local territorial administrative and identity issues. Understanding the challenges is crucial to discount them from being threats while sustaining reforms and ease the process of transition.

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How to Cite
Aweke, A. (2020). Challenges of Ethiopian Transition: Breakthrough or Brink of Collapse?. African Journal of Governance & Development, 9(2), 648-665. Retrieved from
Author Biography

Amare Kenaw Aweke, Dire Dawa University

Dire Dawa University

Assistance Professor of Peace and Security Studies

Ex-Director, Research Affairs Directorate 

School of Social Sciences and Humanities