This paper reviews the politics of land tenure in the last three regimes in Ethiopia, the Imperial, Derg and the incumbent government. It critically examines the nature and mechanisms of land alienation and related controversial issues carried out in the context of Ethiopian history by national actors. Ethiopian regimes have experienced a strong political debate on the appropriate land tenure policy. Imperial regime encouraged complex tenure system characterized by extreme state intervention. However, Derg effectively abolished previous feudal land owning system thereby distribute access to land through Peasant Associations. The incumbent government on the other hand changed certain the policies of former regime by declaring state land ownership in the Federal Constitution. The debate continued yet again with privatization -vs- state ownership dichotomy. The key source of controversy is emanated from how Ethiopian regimes have used land resource as an instrument to realize sustainable development. Therefore, the nature of those contentions would be analyzed by taking into account private and government ownership system from theoretical perspective in need of policy option in this subject.
Key words: Land tenure system, state land ownership, Derg, Ethiopian People Revolution Democratic Front (EPRDF).
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