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Part II Federal and Hybrid Federal Systems in Africa, 5 A Federation without Federal Credentials: The Story of Federalism in a Dominant-party State

Yonatan Tesfaye Fessha

From: Decentralisation and Constitutionalism in Africa

Edited By: Charles M. Fombad, Nico Steytler

From: Oxford Constitutions (http://oxcon.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved.date: 16 January 2021

This chapter addresses how, in contrast to Nigeria, federalism in Ethiopia has eventuated in a dominant-party state. From the foregoing, it is clear that there is a wide gulf between the Constitution and practice in Ethiopia. That gulf can partly be explained by the process that led to the making of the current constitution and the developments that unfolded thereafter. The fact that the 1995 Constitution was not a product of ‘bargaining’ among ‘competing social forces’ has raised questions about its legitimacy. As a result, those who feel they were excluded from the making of the Constitution are more interested in overhauling it than seeing its enforcement. Contributing to the lukewarm attitude towards the Constitution is the fact that the country, even after the adoption of the Constitution, has not seen the emergence of independent social, economic, and political forces that champion vertical constitutionalism and challenge the constitutionality of government actions.

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