Yesterday, several dozens of private residences in Legetafo, a small town outside of Addis Ababa, which is under Oromia regional state,were bulldozed.
Treated like illegal and left with no government protection, hundreds of families were reduced to homelessness with their children.
The brute with which the houses were demolished has ignited uproar among Ethiopian politicians and activists alike.
Based on remarks on social media, many Ethiopians are alarmed and doubting the intentions of Oromo Democratic Party, a party that is governing Oromia region, whose chairman is the prime minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed.
The regional state carried out the demolition for a second day today and it plans to do so in the weeks to come which will affect more than 12,000 residential houses – a process which will leave hundreds of thousands of people homeless.
A report by Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) today said that Legatafo town Mayor, Habiba Siraj, confirmed that more than 12,000 houses will be demolished. She said the houses are built illegally.
But the story on the other side is different. Residents of Legetafo whose houses are demolished say that they have been paying land taxes and utilities for over ten years now.
Apart from the town administration, Oromia regional state seems to treat the act of bulldozing the residential houses as “appropriate”on grouds of an alleged “land grab.”
Sheger FM cited Addisu Arega, Oromo Democratic Party’s Rural Political Mobilization and Organizing head, as saying that measures against “land grab” and illegal construction will continue in the interest of enforcing the “rule of law.”
Oromia regional state land administration head, Dr. Milkesa Midegsa, called the measure taken by his regional government as a measure taken “against illegal construction in accordance with the law.”
Milkesa further said that the action is based on Lease Law Proclamation No.721 and the purpose is to “rebuild the city with international standard.”
Ethiopians in social media are opposing the measure that is making citizens homeless.
Many tend to see that most of the cases of demolition is targeting non-Oromo speaking families and see a motive of ethnic nationalism and politics in it.
Meanwhile, Oromo Democratic Party (ODP) cental committee held its meeting in Addis Ababa to undertake six months of performance evaluation. The party believes that it did well in terms of restoring peace and security in the region.
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