The purpose of this research was to investigate the main causes of the post 1991 ethnic conflicts in Ethiopia based on secondary data. The theoretical ground of the study was the instrumentalist paradigm which claims that ethnic conflict is a clash between rational agents over scarce resources. Accordingly, the research has established that the post 1991 ethnic conflicts in Ethiopia consisted of multifaceted variables which made the conflicts simply appear as a mere inter-ethnic differences. The real causes of the conflicts were inequitable distributions of economic and political power or the demand for access to political and economic benefits. Furthermore, almost all of the major conflicts were not based on ethnic antagonisms. Yet, they were labeled as ‘inter-ethnic conflicts’ simply due to the fact that they bear the names of the participant ethnic groups. Above all, the conflicts seemed to be inter-ethnic clashes resulting from sheer ethnic differences on account of the previously created inter-ethnic distances among the various ethnic groups of the country.
Key words: Ethnicity, ethnic conflict, ethno history of Ethiopia, ethnic politics.
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