Violent ethnic extremism in Ethiopia: Implications for the stability of the Horn of Africa
Scholarship on the challenges of ethno-linguistic federalism in contemporary Ethiopia is copious; yet a critical analysis of violent ethnic extremism in the country and its implications for the sub-region is rare. This article argues that violent ethnic extremism is a threat to the existence of Ethiopia and a destabilising factor for its neighbours. Based on qualitative empirical data, it attempts to address the knowledge gap and contribute to the literature by examining why violent ethnic extremism has persisted in the post-1991 Ethiopia and how it would impact on the stability of the Horn of Africa. Analysis of the findings indicates that systemic limitations of ethno-linguistic federalism; unhealthy ethnic competition; resistance of ethno-nationalist elites to the current reform; unemployed youths; the ubiquity of small arms and light weapons; and cross-border interactions of violent extremists are the major dynamics propelling violent ethnic extremism in Ethiopia. Thus, Ethiopia and the sub-region could potentially face cataclysmic instabilities unless collective, inclusive, transformative and visionary leadership is entrenched.