While some residents of Sululta town,whose homes are reportedly marked with red paint, fear discriminatory demolition (the selection allegedly based on ethnic identity),the Mayor projects “law enforcement” narrative and deny discrimination
Some Sulultla town residents say that their homes in the city, just in the outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa, are marked with red ink selectively and they fear that the city administration is planning to rip them away.
These residents have even told Sheger FM radio that Sululta town authorities have told them that the houses will be demolished after seven days. Most of the houses identified for an alleged demolition are in the locality of Asir Killo.
Mayor of the city, who spoke to Sheger FM on Friday, deny that the houses are not marked selectively and that the homes are “throughout four kebeles in the town”
Based on Sheger’s interview with Rosa Umar,Mayor, and report from state broadcaster, EBC, the city framed its plan to demolish houses of Ethiopians as ” a move to enforce rule of law” in the city.
The Mayor said that residents were not told that their houses will be demolished in seven days but to bring evidence that their land ownership were legally appropriated. And the intent behind it, according to the Mayor, is to identify what the administration labeled “rent seeking authorities and brokers” involved in the appropriation process.
What she did not say but implied in the interview is that “illegal construction” allegedly in green areas, public market places, forests and land given out to “investors,” will be subject to law enforcement measures which means that the houses authorities relate to the above mentioned places will face demolition.
In mid February 2019, authorities in Legetafo town, which is also under Oromo regional state, ripped away more than 2000 houses on alleged grounds of “illegal construction” and “Green zone” zone development. As it turned out houses targeted for demolition were mostly belong to Ethiopians of non-ethnic Oromo origin.
Ethiopia’s Ombudsman issued a statement saying that it is ”saddened by what has happened in Legetafo” The Legetafo demolition left thousands of Ethiopians, who appropriated land legally and spent a life time savings to construct homes and lived in the place for well over a decade, homeless in a matter hours.
Residents of Sululta town whose homes are reportedly marked seem to fear that same thing will happen to them.
The government of Abiy has been criticized for turning a deaf ear to the demolition of houses with the pretext of “enforcing rule of law.”
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