Ethiopia history of land tenure and the present land governance: The case of Oromia region
Solomon Dessalegn Dibaba
In Ethiopia land has been considered as an important economic and social asset where the status and prestige of people is determined. Because of such a high importance given to land, as compared to other properties, the legal protection accorded to land is always strict in nature. Ethiopian political and economic history has been clearly demarcated through its land policy. The history shows just how easily land tenure issues can politically divide a country and it has been the land policy which has driven the politics for more than century. The feudal system of land ownership in southern part of the country particularly, Oromia brings to an end its most democratic form of social and political organization which allowed free access to land. From the time of Menelik land was in few hands like the emperor, nobility and Ethiopia Orthodox Church. This writing focus on examining laws and policies as to access, use and transfer of rural land under the previous and current legal regime in Ethiopia, particularly in Oromia. Specifically it address the relevance of previous regimes land laws and policies to the present land governance of Oromia, the effects of these land laws and policies to the peasant farmers of Oromia. From the time of Derg to the present land is exclusive property of state and peoples, and its objective is to ensure social equity and tenure security. But state ownership of land in Ethiopia, particularly in Oromia, creates tenure insecurity and failed to ensure equality of citizens in accessing land. Because Oromia Rural Land Administration and Use Law prohibited land redistribution, unoccupied agricultural and community lands has been given to investors, and shorter period of lease made difficult to access land for persons who wants to engage in agriculture. This writing shows that from the time of emperor to the present what changed only was land policy but failed completely to guarantee tenure security and social equality of accessing land. The governing body in Ethiopia used land as political weapon by giving and taking it away as the case may be.