The concept of autonomous local government enjoying powers that directly emanate from a constitution is unknown to many federations; however, recent developments suggest an increasing constitutional recognition of local government. A constitutional recognition entrenches the status and autonomy of local government. It represents a formal guarantee against any arbitrary elimination of local government by the national or subnational government. This article seeks to determine whether the Constitution of Ethiopia envisages the establishment of an autonomous local government or a deconcentrated local administration that serves as implementing agent of the national or regional states. The text argues that local government in Ethiopia enjoys some level of constitutional recognition; however, the lack of clearly specified powers, together with overwhelming financial dependence on regional governments, has rendered the promise of autonomous local government a pious wish.