Evaluating the Roles of Regional Based Political Parties in Fostering Ethnic Unity in Benishangul Gumuz Regional State, Ethiopia (Since 1991)

Muluneh kassa


In multi-ethnic federations which were particularly established to manage the existing diversity, the political parties should promote, preserve and protect the existing diversity and simultaneously endorse the sense of unity. Under multi-ethnic states political parties as one main actor should audaciously nurture sense of unity in diversity ideally and practically. Here, fostering ethnic unity means not only sharing identical political philosophy among individuals or groups, but it also remind as that individuals or groups may have differences in opinion and leaning. Therefore, the main purpose of this paper is to critically examining the practical role of regional based political parties in promotion of ethnic unity under contemporary Benishangul Gumuz Regional State (hereafter used as BGRS). In this regard, the author of this paper collected various empirical data through personal interviews, focus group discussions and administering survey questionnaire. Based on the information gained through various research instruments the author concluded that despite the fact that the government has recognized the creation of ethnic political parties as a positive political measure to promote every ethnic group in the country to have a sense of belonging, but in contrast, the existence of ethnic based political parties and hasty mushrooming of narrow ethno-nationalist politics has constituted one major impediment to promote unity and peaceful coexistence among various ethnic groups in BGRS. Moreover, the writer also argued that organizing political parties only through political lens of ethnicity would gradually create elevated ethnic fundamentalism, chauvinism and parochialism among politicians and individuals. And later it also opened the door for politicians and individuals to play lopsided proxy ethnic political game within the neighbouring regional states and consequently this situation tend to ethnic conflict. Thus, this kind of political party establishment road-map in the country has paved the way to series ethnic conflicts which resulted major predicaments and disunity among various ethnic groups in the country in general and regional states in particular.

Keywords: Political Party; BGRS; Ethnicity; Ethnic Unity; Ethnic Conflict; Ethnic Diversity; Politicians

DOI: 10.7176/RHSS/9-1-06

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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