Although the constitution guarantees free land to farmers, in practice farmers and poor folk in cities have few legal protections from eviction, says Logan Cochrane, also of Hawassa University.
But similar conflicts fester elsewhere, sometimes turning violent, as in the eastern city of Harar, where a minority of ethnic Harari enjoyed political privileges at the expense of much larger Oromo and Amhara populations.
Establishing cities sometimes involved the eviction of those already on the land, including the Oromo clans who lived on ground that was taken for Addis Ababa.
In recent years towns and cities in southern Ethiopia, especially in Oromia, have been flashpoints for political and ethnic turmoil.
In July riots took place near Tsige’s home after the assassination of Hachalu Hundessa, a popular musician and activist from the Oromo ethnic group.