African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 403

Full Length Research Paper

Politics by other means: Protests in Ethiopia (2015 -2018)

Yohannes Gebeyehu Alebachew
  • Yohannes Gebeyehu Alebachew
  • Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 17 July 2020
  •  Accepted: 13 August 2020
  •  Published: 31 August 2021


Protest has been employed by those who lack access to the resources of organized pressure groups and/or by those whose values conflict sharply with those of the dominant elite. It has been a means of politics by other means. The use of protest as other means of politics in Ethiopia was more pronounced and recurring between the years 2015 and 2018. However, the problem still is little is known about the root causes of the protests. Despite the vast news reporting on the protests, there is little or no comprehensive analysis on the fundamental causes of the protests. Much of the news reporting on the protests focus on immediate causes and overlooked or failed to present a systematized analysis of the fundamental causes. This paper, therefore, aimed at explaining the fundamental causes of the protests in a systematized manner. Thus, the research methodology is explanatory approach. The study employed case study, protest event analysis (PEA), content analysis and historical research methods to formulate inductive reasoning from separate events and incidents in the effort to unearth the underlying causes of the political protests between 2015 and 2018. Theories of social revolution and empiricism are used to put in perspective separate incidents and events in the effort to build up the case. The content analysis and protest event analysis (PEA) revealed that the underlying empirical causes for political protests in Ethiopia during the period under consideration emerged from structural, institutional, ideological contradictions and weakness resulting in marginalization, economic dogmatism, parochial political culture, strategic exclusion, ideological hegemony and weak institutional set ups. These resulted in politicized discontent and eventually political violence.


Key words: Political protest, theories of revolution, protest in Ethiopia.