Article 47 of the Ethiopian Constitution stipulates that the Benishangul-Gumuz National Regional State is one of the nine regions in Ethiopia. With the recently formed Sidama State, Ethiopia will have ten states.
It is known that before the 1987 FDRE constitution came into force, the region was used to be governed under the name (Region 6). Its regional capital is Asosa. However, after the adoption of the 1995 constitution, the region was created in the western part of Gojjam district (north of the Nile River) and in the northwest part of Welega province (south of the Nile). The name of the region comes from two local nationalities; Berta or Benishangul and Gumuz.
Although the region is named after the two nations, Berta / Benishangul-Gumuz and Gumuz, it is also home to a large number of other ethnic groups. For example, the Amhara (25.41%), Berta (21.69%), Oromo (13.55%), Shinasha (7.73%) and Agew-Awi (4.22%) ethnic groups and others (data from 1999 census).
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Armed militia men killed more than 30 people in the Metakal zone of Ethiopia’s Benishangul-Gumuz region(September 26).The attacks, whose victims included women and children, happened in two occasions. The first one happened on Sept. 6-13 killing about 30 civilians and the second happened on 25th September killing about 20 civilians.
Immediately after the first phase of attack to control the security problem in the region a command post was declared in the region which means the region remains under the military control temporarily. Despite this, at least 15 civilians were killed on 25th of September due to continued assault in western Ethiopia, by unidentified armed assailants in the region’s Metekel Zone in a pre-dawn attack, the latest in a spate of targeted killings of civilians this month (Ethiopian Human Rights Commission press conference on Saturday September 26, 2020)
The tally of dead civilians/Amhara Nationality groups/ goes to more than 50 (September 7-26, 2020.)
The causes of the problems
Despite the fact that the locale was serene, it has as of late become a region where serious human rights violations have occurred because of ethnic viciousness. In spite of the way that the denials of basic liberties were ethnically persuaded, the ruling party has consistently expressed in the nation’s media that the culprits are outfitted OLF-Shene/Oromo People Liberation Front-shene/and TPLF/Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front/, yet the reason for the wrongdoings and the characters of the culprits have not been distinguished. Be that as it may, the accompanying fundamental issues can be considered as the reason for the repeated human rights violations:-
The Constitutions of the Federal and the regional government
In accordance with Article 2 of the Benishangul-Gumuz Proclamation No. 31/2010(constitution), the indigenous people groups of the state are Berta, Gumuz, Shinasha, Mao and Komo identities, while the staying ethnic gatherings are called non-indigenous people groups of the region. Thus, countless ethnic groups, including Amhara and Oromo, don’t reserve the privilege to possess the area on equivalent balance with the remainder of indigenous individuals in the locality. It is verifiable; in this manner, the division by the arrangement of the constitution identities as indigenous and non-indigenous is becoming the root cause of the problem.
Comparative issues are apparent in other state constitutions of the nation. For instance, the 2009 Constitution of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Region; The constitution of the Gambella Regional State, which was revised in 2003, specifies in Article 46 (1) that the establishing countries of the district are Anuak, Nuer, Ginger, Opo and Komo. Article 8 of the Oromia Regional State Proclamation No. 44/2002 and its preamble accommodate similar division among residents. At long last, the constitution of the Harari region makes a comparable division between the individuals of the district (as indigenous and non-indigenous).
Subsequently, it is anything but difficult to see that these state constitutions have made divisions among the residents and are making massive violations to human rights.
In any case, despite the fact that there is no arrangement in the FDRE constitution with respect to the privileges of indigenous and non-indigenous people groups, it very well may be considered as a political choice and want by the government to legitimize and conceal the local governments’ move for instituting troublesome constitutions. Maybe other characteristic issues can be referenced in the FDRE Constitution, for instance: Article 38 of the FDRE Constitution specifies that one must talk one of the provincial dialects so as to take an interest in governmental issues; this has made an open way to denials of basic liberties.
While the answer for this issue is accepted to be a revision of change to the federal and state constitutions, the ruling party has not made any move up until now.
The ruling government and the prosperity party (especially the Oromo and Amhara factions)
The area is home to Amhara (25.41%) and Oromo (13.55%). While the presence of a sacred issue might be the reason for issues in the area, it is critical to inquire as to why comparative issues have not happened in different districts. It is protected to expect that the political emergency in the region could be a political ploy by Amhara and Oromo prosperity party to assume control over the area. Maybe it means that they are utilizing various strategies to dispose of one another. It is particularly essential to inquire as to why Amhara is the main casualty. In this way, it very well may be expected that it is a scheme being brought forth by individuals from the Oromo Prosperity Party.
Unmistakably the explanation behind this is the outrages submitted against the individuals of Gedo in the southern region were started and driven by the Oromo Prosperity Party. Also, Abiy Ahmed’s administration utilized similar strategies to capture the leader of the Somali region Mr.Abdi Eilee. It is imperative to inquire as to why Abdi Eilee? The somali natitionalities are very much aware that the explanation behind Abdi Ile’s capture is accepted to be a danger to the Aby Ahmed’s government on the off chance that he keeps on partner with the TPLF. There is no doubt that Abiy Ahmed’s government is making similar moves in the Benishangul Gumuz area.
It merits referencing two focuses here. There is no doubt that the first Abdi Ile is a tyrant, and it isn’t questioned that the TPLF is a gathering that has been carrying out abominations in this nation.
The arrangement is that it is hard to state that the heads of the Amhara and Oromo Prosperity Party have framed a genuine union dependent on the current circumstance; accordingly, they should do useful alliance/union for both groups and the nation dependent on the standards of common advantage.
Opposition Forces (OLF Shene and TPLF)
These forces are groups that are recently being used as culprits and cover for atrocities committed by anyone in the country. It should not be forgotten, however, that these forces will not hesitate to do anything bad if they can. However, it is weak to think that they are the only ones who are causing the problem as these forces have recently weakened and lost their public base(though they have millions of followers such followers are less likely to engage in such non-peaceful actions).
On top of that despite the continued accusations, the government has not been able to provide evidence about the role of these opposition groups for human rights crisis in the country. This can be argued that if the Prime Minister had evidence against these forces, they would have been mercilessly deployed with military.
The solution is though there evidences that shows these forces are in contrast with the government, but there must be a determination to solve the problem through political dialogue and consultation rather than accusations and military and other measures. Otherwise, unity will only be achieved through paper and political talk. This is because both groups have millions of followers of their ideologues, both inside and outside their nationalities.
Weak security institutions and information system / lack of political commitment
The human rights crisis in Benishangul-Gumuz and other parts of the country is attributable to mainly to one of these two causes. The first is a weak security and information system, and the second is the lack of political commitment. The latter is justified through evident silence and inactions by Aby Ahmed’s party which is thought to be the party is doing this for political profits. This follows that if the government is keeping silent while cognizant of the information for mass killings for political gain, then this refers the government as anti-public and power mongering government.
If the government justifies that, the culprits preparations are not known by the government security, this would lead to a conclusion that the county’s information and security system is in a state of disrepair.
In the end, it is inevitable that the government will give one of two reasons, but in both cases it is undeniable that the government structure failure to protect its citizens is apparent.
Therefore, this is not the only cause of the problem, but it should definitely be considered as a strong cause. The solution is to work on strengthening government institutions and free oneself from false propaganda.
Conspiracies of ethnic federalism
In particular, Amhara scholars and politicians have used the Ethiopian federal system to blame for all the problems and to explain that ethnic federalism is not a viable option for this country. But this tactic has so far not only benefited from media stigma. Instead, it has made the Amhara people more vulnerable.
This trend has been observed in different parts of the country. The local community is well aware that the conspiracy against Bench Maji and Keffa was orchestrated by this group, especially in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region.
The solution is to recognize that this approach will have far-reaching consequences in the future, and that it is better to press harder to reform the constitution that is causing the problem. This requires strong consultation with the political forces and the ruling party.