FEDERALISM and multiparty elections were introduced in Ethiopia in 1995, but it is only now that genuine democracy appears imaginable in Africa's second most populous country.

The long-dominant Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front [E.P.R.D.F.], born as a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist coalition, nearly fully brought into the liberal democratic principles it introduced in the 1995 Constitution; it essentially ruled the country by semi-authoritarian means.

For many years, the Tigray People's Liberation Front [T.P.L.F.], which claims to represent the interests of the people from Tigray, a northern state bordering Eritrea - about 6 percent of the population - essentially monopolized decision making within the government coalition.

Over time, this form of minority rule alienated the Oromo people [more than 34 percent of the population] and the Amhara people [about 27 percent].

SOME honors come too late; others too early. Others still risk scuttling the efforts they are rewarding.

Some months ago Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for, the Nobel committee said : ''his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea'' and starting ''important reforms that give many citizens hope for a better life and a brighter future.''

Since coming to power in April 2018, Mr. Abiy has taken Ethiopia on a political roller coaster. His administration started rapprochement with Eritrea after nearly two decades of stalemate - following a vicious war from 1998 to 2000 and a peace treaty - which some have called  a state of ''no war - no peace''.

He has had tens of thousands of  political prisoners released, has invited back banned political parties and armed groups, has apologized for human rights violations, has revoked repressive laws, has started to open up the economy and has appointed women to leading positions in government.

One could argue that not since Mikhail Gorbachev - another Nobel Peace Prize laureate - introduced glasnost to the Soviet Union in the mid-1980s has any country embarked on such radical reforms.

But a lot more needs to happen before Mr. Abiy can deliver on his pledges, and for ordinary Ethiopians his efforts so far have been a white-knuckle 

The honor and serving of the latest operational research on Africa, continues. The World Students Society thanks authors Tobias Hagmann, and Kjetil Tronvoll.


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