Announcing Convention of Ethiopian Multinational Federalist Forces (EMFF) February 8 – 9, 2020 Atlanta GA.
The Organizing Committee of Ethiopian Multinational Federalist Forces announces a convention to be held in Atlanta to discuss the upcoming national elections and the future of the country. The convention will be a gathering of delegates of Ethiopian community organizations in North America that share a common history of struggle for self- determination and now envision a democratic multinational federalist Ethiopia. This announcement serves as an overview of Convention activities, events and logistics. More detailed information will be provided in the Convention Program.
After years of civil war, Ethiopia adopted a federal constitution in 1995. Two dozen years after its adoption, Ethiopia’s multinational federalism has started to address the question of country’s nations for self-government. Because the constitution endorses the rights of nations to self-determination and self-rule in the framework of a multinational federation, no political party currently advocates secessionism or publicly proposes dismantling the federal structure. In this sense, Ethiopia is an example of a multinational federation that has worked, decreasing rather than increasing conflict through its successful reorganization of states along linguistic lines and settlement patterns.
Despite its success, for the first time in more than two dozen years, the Ethiopian constitution and the multinational federal structure have come under ferocious assault. The political battle line in Ethiopia’s politics has been drawn between multinational federalists and anti-multinational federalist forces. Whether it is the national political discourse or the upcoming elections, the battle is likely to be fought between these forces.
It has thus become an imperative to organize a convention of multinational federalist forces where the participants will deliberate on both the discourses and practice of multinational federalism in Ethiopia. At the end of the convention, a manifesto reflecting the deliberations and recommendations of convention participants will be published.
Scholars and activists who believe that the way forward requires building a democratic multinational federal republic in Ethiopia will make presentations, evaluating the current state of federalism. The presentations explore the promises and praxis of the constitutional design and the multinational federal arrangement based on the experiences of their respective nations.
The convention is designed to be a single gathering with a series of meetings of in which the participants deliberate on fundamental issues that beset the rights of the various nations in Ethiopia to self-determination or help affirm their commitment to principles of national unity based on core democratic precepts. In effect, the convention is expected to lay out a road map for a free, democratic and self-reliant Ethiopia that is at peace with itself and with its neighbors.
Selected scholars and experts discuss the current state of federalism in roundtable format, evaluating the success and failures of Ethiopia’s experiment with federalism. The participants will discuss the challenges and constraints of implementing federal governance raised in the presentations. The goal is to identify the gaps between theory and practice. Rapporteurs will take notes of the discussions and prepare summaries. The convention is expected to issue documents that reveal the convention’s deliberations. The goal is to mobilize the people to protect the existing multinational federation from the real and imminent danger of dissolution.