Land Tenure and Democracy in Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


This Thesis has investigated the nexus between land tenure and democracy in Ethiopian context deploying relevant primary and secondary sources informed by key informants. The Thesis considers the nexus between forms of land ownership and liberal democracy in a context where there is people’s land ownership policy as recognized under the FDRE Constitution. It has identified and explored four major indicators to determine the nexus between land tenure and liberal democracy. These indicators are: land tenure in relation to neo-patrimonial states, land tenure and making the government accountable and transparent, land tenure and democracy (which is conceived as “government by discussion”) and land rights as human rights of individuals and a constituent part of liberal democracy. Using these indicators, the Thesis explores and establishes the nexus between land tenure and liberal democracy. Specifically the Thesis has established the nexus on two different but related grounds and reached to the following findings in Ethiopian context. The people’s land ownership regime in Ethiopia has enabled the government to cultivate a political/governance culture that is contrary to the principles of liberal democracy. Moreover, this land ownership regime has aggravated the problems the country faces in its democratization process. Finally, the Thesis concluded that there is a nexus between land tenure and democracy in the country and argues the issue of land tenure to be an essential political issue that needs to be considered for solving existing problems of illiberal and undemocratic governance.