This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book provides a discussion of the nature of policy choice in Africa and some examples of the rearrangement of choices in state-ethnic encounters. It examines the more commonplace, low-intensity demands arise largely from the desires of Africa's peoples for the benefits of modernity. The book is concerned with the alternative mechanisms available to public authorities as they attempt to mediate between the different principles of state capacity for governance and ethnic autonomy. It offers one application of the public policy literature to the management of competing state-ethnic claims. The book focuses on the Ogaadeen question reveals so forcefully, there are always limits to the effectiveness of bargaining mechanisms. It shows that demands are highly varied, ranging from the low-Intensity demands for distributional benefits within the political system to the high intensity demands for separate statehood and independence outside the system.