Land policy in Ethiopia has been controversial since the fall of the military socialist derg regime in 1991. While the current Ethiopian government has implemented a land policy that is based on state ownership of land (where only usufruct rights are given to land holders), many agricultural economists and international donor agencies have propagated some form of privatized land ownership. This article traces the antagonistic arguments of the two schools of thought in the land reform debate and how their antagonistic principles - fairness vs. efficiency - are played out. It then goes on to explore how these different arguments have trickled down in the formulation of the federal and regional land policies with a particular view on the new Oromia regional land policy as it is considered the most progressive (with regards to tenure security). We provide some empirical material on ongoing practices of implementing the Rural Land Use and Administration Proclamation of Oromia Region. Our analysis suggests that while the laws are conceptual hybrids that accommodate both fairness and efficiency considerations, regional bureaucrats have selectively implemented those elements of the proclamation that are considered to strengthen the regime's political support in the countryside.