A symbolic, normative, and institutional investigation of the 1995 Ethiopian
Constitution reveals that the individual is displaced and locked in the periphery as
much of the socio-economic and political ecology of the state is occupied by Nations,
Nationalities and Peoples (NNPs). The Constitution presents and makes NNPs authors,
sovereigns and constitutional adjudicators by adopting a corporate conception of group
rights. As this corporate conception of group rights permeate and structure the organi–
zation of the Ethiopian state a nd government, the individual is relega ted in the
constitutional order. In order to make the transition to constitutional democracy sus-
tainable, it is argued that the Constitution should accommodate and ensure individual
autonomy by adopting a collective conception of group rights. This offers both the
normative basis and institutional safeguards to strike a proper equilibrium between
group rights and individual rights.
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