Uglier faces of discrimination against the Amhara people in Ethiopia (By Abebech Shiferaw)

Uglier faces of discrimination against the Amhara people in Ethiopia


By Abebech Shiferaw


Discrimination refers to treating a person/group unfairly because of who they are or because they possess certain characteristics. Discrimination make take direct (visible) or indirect (subtle) forms. When a person/group with a protected characteristic is treated less favorably than others, it is direct discrimination. On the other hand, if there is a rule or policy in the workplace that puts a person/group at a disadvantage as compared to others, it may be considered as indirect discrimination. 

Discrimination may be based on different variables such as gender, political stand, ethnicity, age and others. It may take place in different contexts.

Having the above discussion as a background, let us see some uglier forms of discrimination in Ethiopia just to show only tip of the iceberg. 

It seems that discrimination has become a culture in Ethiopia. And the government seems to be busy with justifying and socializing (instead of correcting gaps) citizens to be comfortable with discrimination in different aspects. Workplace, employment and appointment is one area where the problem manifests itself vividly. For instance, a recent advertisement by revenues authority unveiled that almost all the potential candidates are taken from one college and ethnic group. Besides, appointments to civil and military positions especially critical ones are filled with people from one ethnic group.

Discrimination also goes to the agricultural sector and affects farmers. Farmers in Amhara region work very hard day and night. But, most of the crops produced by farmers in Amhara region are used for national consumption and there seems to exist strict control on the price. On the other hand, farmers in other regions (for example, Oromia region) are encouraged to produce cash crops that could be exported for international market with competitive price. 

Moreover, there is discrimination in terms of training of security forces. As seen recently, the Prime Minister strongly condemned the training of hundreds of security forces in Amhara Region arguing that the money has to be used for solving other pressing problems. Few months later, 29,000 security forces were publicly graduated and deployed by a party under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister in Oromia region.

Most importantly, infrastructure development is another area of discrimination. This is evidenced by: the unfair distribution infrastructures (For example, power/electricity and Railway), when infrastructures are allowed there seems a deliberate delay in completion, and they are of poor quality (for instance, major roads crossing Amhara region). By and large, Amhara region and its people shoulder the lion’s share of the problem. This is also attested by scientific evidences produced by credible organizations like the World Bank.

Why Amharas are made victims of the problems? Obviously, this is an extension of the false narratives fabricated and disseminated for nearly three decades by the ruling party and narcissistic political elites for meeting their ideal dream of dominating the pride and country loving Amharas. 

In a nutshell, sample evidences discussed here in above show how pervasive the problem is. Amhara have continuously asked the government to timely correct huge gaps in the sector among regions. This has led Amhara revolution and development of strong Amhara nationalism. What need to be pointed out is the negligence of the government despite continued demands of the public to undo the uglier forms of discrimination. As it reads in the title, the problem is uglier and is of higher scale for it is backed by the government that collects taxes from the poor Amharas. Thus, the purpose of this article is to support the Amhara people and create awareness among potential stakeholders to seriously mind the injustice and advocate for more fair system. The problem has to be addressed in a more participatory manner before it breeds destructive consequences to the security and democratization process of the country and the Horn of Africa at large.



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