The Quest for Security Sector Reform in the Ethnically divided and Politicized Ethiopia: the cases of Regional Special Forces in harnessing the balance of Local Security and National Unity

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Kefelegn Tesfaye


The purpose of this study is calling attention on the quest for security sector reform in balancing the local security and the national liability, the case of regional special force (Liyu Hail) in Ethiopia. The study employed a qualitative approach and designed as a case study. The data are collected from primary and secondary sources mainly through key informants and document analysis. The personality of security sector institutions and governance systems decisively determines the liability of local security and national unity. Ethiopia is in a paradox of ethnically charged federalism with extreme ethno-nationalism and contentious regional states relation with continual huge special force building and counterbalance. Nevertheless, regional states have organized the special forces since 2007, out of constitutional mandate, neither local security in many localities has promoted nor the national liability and unity is certainly guaranteed. Indeed, regions are in contentious interactions, territorial claims with their adjacents, and competitive central power seeking. Moreover, the monitoring capacity by the central government about the roles, sizes and weapons of the regional special force have questioned their legitimacy and popular support. To that end, local security, national unity and nation building at large are jeopardizing. Therefore, the different lessons and incidents that Ethiopia has been experiencing are warning and calling more cautious regional states special force reforms in balancing local security and national liability.

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