State of Oromia’s Interest in Addis Ababa (Finfinnee): Undelivered Constitutional Promises

Type Working Paper
Title State of Oromia’s Interest in Addis Ababa (Finfinnee): Undelivered Constitutional Promises
Addis Ababa emerged as the capital city of the Abyssinian Empire, Ethiopia, in
the heart of Oromia. In the period prior to Menelik’s conquest of the center and
the south, the Tulama, who were gradually evicted from their homeland, inhabited
Finfinnee. This eviction continued as the city experienced rapid population growth
and physical expansion. Consequently, Addis Ababa’s demand of ecosystem
services has increased more rapidly. It gets major ecosystem services from the
surrounding Oromia areas. The 1995 Federal Democratic Republic of
Ethiopia’s Constitution granted the city the right of self-government. Equally
important is that the State of Oromia’s interest in Addis Ababa is to be
respected. Article 49(5) states that “The special interest of the State of Oromia in
Addis Ababa, regarding the provision of social services or the utilization of
natural resources and other similar matters, as well as joint administrative
matters arising from the location of Addis Ababa within the State of Oromia
shall be respected.” However, this promise has not been kept. This study employs
historical institutionalism to investigate the denial of constitutional rights to the
State of Oromia. It argues that the denial of rights to the Oromo nation witnesses
the continuation of the century-long action of the exploitative political and
economic institutions of the Amhara-Tigrian ethno-national groups. Hence,
political power symmetry is more vital than ever in Ethiopia in order to implement
constitutional rights and develop inclusive institutions that will benefit the Oromo
and other captured nations. And, Addis Ababa should adopt a city within state
governance arrangement in the face of the State of Oromia’s interest in the capital.
It is only via such mechanisms that Oromia’s interest in Addis Ababa will
materialize and be protected.

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