African Journal of
History and Culture

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Hist. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6672
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJHC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 187


Historiographical review of the current debate on Ethiopian land tenure system

Binayew Tamrat Getahun
  • Binayew Tamrat Getahun
  • Department of History and Civics, School of Humanities and Law, Adama University-Ethiopia
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 10 November 2014
  •  Accepted: 19 January 2015
  •  Published: 28 February 2015


During the period of the Transitional Government of Ethiopia (TGE), that took power following the downfall of the Socialist Derg Government, the issue of land tenancy has hotly debated among politicians. At the ratification of the 1995 Constitution, though the ruling party, EPDRF, made attempt to formally end this debatable agenda by formally enshrining state ownership in the 1995 constitution, the ruling party is not yet able to conclude this controversial and thorny issue in its favour. Since there have been people and dozens of parties arguing for private land owner ship, the debate on the issue continues till this day. Ethiopia’s rural land tenure system in particular has become bone of contention. (Mulat et al., 1998; Hoben, 2002). Land tenancy presupposes land ownership. And the dispute about the Ethiopian land tenure system is largely between those in need of changing the existing state ownership tenure and the EPRDF led government of Ethiopia. Currently, the continued debate in the state –private land ownership dichotomy has kindled the interests of scholars in various fields. Different scholars and parties are writing and debating on the subject. In this article an attempt is made to remark and analyze the major ones.

Key words: land tenure, resource management, landownership, peasant, debate, tenure security, eviction and land fragmentation