May 23, 2019
The same day that Addis Ababa city council had its second regular congress of the year to evaluate nine months of performance and to consult on major happenings in the city, the acting Mayor, Takele Uma, vows to take measure what he called illegally appropriated land in the city.
And usually, it means the demolition of houses.
“The city administration will take measure on organized illegally misappropriated land,” Addis Ababa’s controversial mayor told journalists.
In consultation with stakeholders, he has identified the direction to deal with the “illegal misappropriation of land and illegal settlement” according to a report on Thursday by state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate (EBC). However, the report did not give a clue as to what the direction is.
The Mayor claims that illegal appropriation of land is increasing in the capital. He added that “All residents in the city have a legal right to live in a healthy environment.”
Yeka, Bole, Kolfe, Nefas Silk and Akaki districts of Addis Ababa have seen trends of “organized, illegal misappropriation of land” in recent weeks, says Take Uma. Yet, it is unclear how these areas became targets and it is unclear, too, as to the size of land in these areas that are illegally misappropriated in recent weeks.
He accused “investors,” brokers, government executives and “foreign powers with a political agenda of their own.”
Apart from demolishing houses, City administration will hold the above-mentioned entities legally accountable, he added.
How soon is the city taking measures? Well, only two weeks of notice is given to those who are considered by the city as “illegal” land owners. It means that if they are not demolishing it on their own within two weeks, the city administration will do so.
Apparently, there is an anticipation of resistance on the part of Takele Uma’s city administration which has got detractors who challenge its legitimacy on grounds that he was appointed Mayor against bylaws of the city regarding the appointment of Mayor. His administration has been accused of altering the demographic composition of Addis Ababa residents by planning to settle thousands of ethnic Oromo in the capital Addis Ababa.
He told journalists, “In addition to misappropriation of land, those who take part in any activity that disturbs residents’ peace will not be tolerated”
In February 2019, Oromo regional state administration demolished tens of thousands of houses in towns surrounding the capital Addis Ababa – like Legetafo. The houses were demolished on alleged grounds that they were constructed illegally although residents produced evidence that they have been paying property taxes to the regional government.
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