Factors of Ethnic Conflict in the Ethiopian Federation
Since 1991 Ethiopia has made a change in thinking favoring federalism against the centralized hierarchical power to radically respond to the problem of diversity and better recognize and accommodate the country's ethnolinguistic and cultural diversity. Paradoxically, Ethiopia had experienced more ethnic-based conflict in its post-1991 existence than ever before. Among others, the Somali-Oromo conflict is the worst ethnic-based conflict in the country’s history. Though the two communities, have a long tradition of co-existence and strong socio-cultural integrations due to their shared Muslim-Cushitic identity, economic interdependence, and shared cultural practices; antagonistic relationships, and intermittent conflicts due to resource competition, territorial expansion, bad governance, and other factors have prevailed in the last three decades. It is the objective of this paper, therefore, to investigate and analyze factors of ethnic conflict along the shared border of the Somali and Oromia regional administrations, specifically Bable and Bobas districts, within the context of Ethiopian federalism. Methodologically, the study employed a comparative research approach and made use of key informant interview and survey questionnaires' techniques in gathering the relevant data, and in effect, both qualitative and quantitative data interpretation and analysis methods were utilized in the analysis section. The findings of this study demonstrate that the Somali-Oromo conflict is complex & dynamics and the result of the interplay of historical, institutional/structural/political, economic, socio-cultural, and environmental factors. Furthermore, the result of the study reveals that major drivers of ethnic conflict in both areas are similar.
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