Skip to main content

Centre of African Studies: Events


Violence and the Contradictions of Ethiopian Politics

Violence and the Contradictions of Ethiopian Politics
Speaker: Terrence Lyons # George Mason University
Hosted by
Introduced by
Date and Time
13th Jan 2021 16:00 - 13th Jan 2021 17:30
Microsoft Teams

Ethiopia faces multi-sided crises with war in Tigray the most tragic but not only episode of violence. The ruling Prosperity Party (PP) struggles to find a viable balance between contradictory dynamics of a powerful center along with significant support for unity which coexist with strong demands for greater autonomy for ethnically defined regions. Politics is often violent and increasingly polarized by identities that mobilize around narratives of grievance that blame other ethnic groups for their miseries. In this lecture, Lyons argues that the contradictions between the dynamics of central control and multinational federalism that characterized Ethiopian politics since 1991 continue to challenge the ruling PP. The patterns of (in)security manifest in Tigray – but also in many other parts of Ethiopia – may be explained in part by the struggle to find a new balance between the center and the ethnically defined regions. Moving beyond these crises will require recognition of the legitimacy of political rivals and the installation of institutions that can foster nonviolent competition.

Student lying on grass reading book