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Left: the Welayita people traditional dance; right: Sidama girls celebrating Chembelala, the Sidama people’s new year festival

Belachew Mekuria (PhD), for Addis Standard

Addis Abeba, November 28/2018 – In post-cold war East Africa, two contradictory yet concurrent events – integration and disintegration of states – are in the making. While in neighboring Ethiopia and Sudan we had witnessed two countries becoming four (Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan and Republic of Sudan), other five East African nations – Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda – are moving fast forward to federate and integrate to become the East African Federation. One being driven by nationalist movements against oppressive authoritarianism, the other with a motive of reaping the economic dividend out of unity-with a motto of  ‘one people one destiny’ – where there could be free movement of goods, capital and labor. As noted by Gidon, ‘deep tides of nationalist feelings and powerful financial and market interests are running in opposite directions’ in this same part of Eastern Africa. (Gottlieb, Gidon, (1994), ‘Nations without state,’ Foreign Affairs, Vol. 73, p112)