SEPDM to announce decision on statehood questions in the region

SEPDM has concluded central committee meeting and is expected to announce detailed decision on statehood questions including Sidama

SEPDM _ Ethiopia _ Statehood question

July 15, 2019

The central committee of Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM) concluded its meeting on Monday after 10 days.

The party has sent briefs to state and state-affiliated media outlets in the country.

According to a report by Ethiopian News Agency (ENA), SEPDM said that it discussed in depth current political and security issues and has resolved to foster the ongoing “change” in the country.

The issue of statehood which has been rattling the region’s politics was also an agenda item during the central committee meeting of the party.

However, the party did not disclose details about the decision except saying that the central committee “took adequate time, had a mature discussion and identified direction [to implement it].” 

About ten zones in Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region, as it is known by the Federal government of Ethiopia, have demanded to have a state of their own. 

However, ethnic Sidama demand for statehood sounds more radical as they have already sent an ultimatum for the Federal government that they will declare statehood on their own for which seemed to have angered Prime minister Abiy Amed when he appeared before the parliament early this month. Unlike the warning from the prime minister, radical Oromo ethno-nationalists who seem to have dominance over Abiy Ahmed are in favor of Sidama demands.

Political observers say the city of Hawassa could be a controversial issue even if ethnic statehood status is granted as ethnic Sidamas seem to claim ownership rights over it.

Existing Federal arrangement in Ethiopia mostly ethnic-based dominated by one ethnic group except in the case of Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region which is composed of nearly 50 language groups.

The brief from SEPDM also said, as reported by ENA, it discussed issues related to rule of law, peace, and security in the region and put directions in that regard.

It also said that the central committee reached consensus on ways of tackling challenges that the ongoing “change” is facing and resolved to work with determination and decisiveness on the issue of the unity of Ethiopia.

The party is yet to issue a detailed statement reflecting on the ten days meeting and key decision and is expected to do so this week.

Meferiat Kamil, Minister for Peace and Security at the Federal government level – which is the most powerful position, by design, of all the ministerial positions, is the chairwoman of SEPDM.

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