Ethiopia has remained in turmoil since its recent transition that begun in 2018. Hope for a peaceful and democratic transition was high during the early days of the transition as Abiy Ahimed Ali, who ascended to the helm of power as a PM in 2018 following the popular resistance movements between 2015 and 2017 against the repressive and authoritarian Ethiopian People Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), took (and promised) serious of reform measures. Ethiopians in and outside the country have supported the new regime and its reform measures that are intended to widen the democratic space. Abiy’s government has also garnered support from different countries and the AU, EU and UN. The PM has also received the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for the rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea and the reform initiatives. However, the country descended into intercommunal violence shortly despite the unprecedented reform measures and promises for further reforms. Moreover, the country has been rocked by the armed conflict largely in Tigray, Oromia, Benishangul Gumuz, and Gambella regional states. This study focuses on the intercommunal violence that are on the rise since the transition. Employing the ethnographic research approach, the study tries to explore the production of communal violence in Ethiopia, how violence operates in the context of the contentious politics of the country following the transition in 2018, and strategies by which the impact of violence can be reduced. In so doing the study delves into the way violent collective actions are related to democracy in the context of the recent transition in Ethiopia. The study furthers the understanding of the dynamics of violence and the nature of democratization in the context of the contentious politics in Ethiopia. This augments the body of knowledge in the area of violence and ‘democratic transition’ through increasing the proper understanding of the dynamics and complexity of violence and ‘democratic transition’ in turbulent regions and thereby inform policy makers strategies to lessen the effects of violence.

  • Funding: NASCERE
  • Time: Sept. 2020-Aug. 2024
  • People involved: Siyum Adugna Mamo (PhD student), Bert Suykens (supervisor), Koen Vlassenroot (supervisor) and Jeroen Adam (supervisor)