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Participatory governance and politics 'beyond the vanguard' in Ethiopia?

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Room G3, Main Building, School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS)

Thornhaugh Street

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WC1H 0XG

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Participatory governance and politics 'beyond the vanguard' in Ethiopia?

Jason Mosley

Waves of popular protests during the last year have produced what may be the most significant challenge the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has faced since it took power in 1991. The Ethiopian government declared a six-month state of emergency on October 8. Ethiopia's politics appear to be at a significant inflection point. It is conceivable that the government's recent offer of political dialogue and of new mechanisms for engaging with different (potentially dissenting) voices signals a potential opening of political space, and a shift towards more genuinely inclusive governance – a real move towards politics beyond the 'vanguard'. However, given the accumulation of resources and power under the status quo, it would appear more likely that the many beneficiaries of the current political dispensation will not see it as in their interests to move towards significant political reform. Rather, the state of emergency, and the explicit structural dynamics it has created, will reinforce the tendency towards containing, rather than engaging with, the protest movement.

Jason Mosley is an Associate Fellow of the Africa Programme at Chatham House, and a Research Associate at the African Studies Centre of Oxford University. He is also Managing Editor of the Journal of Eastern African Studies.


The Anglo-Ethiopian Society is affiliated to the University of London’s Centre of African Studies (CAS) and all of our events at SOAS are co-hosted with CAS.

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Room G3, Main Building, School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS)

Thornhaugh Street

London

WC1H 0XG

United Kingdom

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