Ethnic Wolaita Party pushing for referendum
September 2, 2019
Barely a week after the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) disclosed a date for Sidama zone referendum, a zone within Southern Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region (SPNNR); an ethnic Wolaita Party – Wolaita People’s Democratic Front – is demanding an answer from the regional state council.
Leaders of the party who held a press conference on Monday in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa said “we need a constitutional response to our demand,” reported by DW Amharic service.
For leaders of the party, the ruling coalition (Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front- EPRDF) is the source of problems although it is pointing fingers on other entities.
When over 1.5 million people took to the street demanding for a regional state status, it is not right on the part of the government to prohibit it and recommend for research to determine the statehood questions says vice-chairman of the front, Bisrat Elias. He, in fact, said that it amounts to “no, you can’t have a regional state.”
On the other hand, Tekle Borena who is chairman of the party remarked during a press conference regarding the status of Hawassa city – which is likely to be under Sidama state should the outcome of Sidama referendum turns out to be in favor of Sidama statehood. “As far as we know, the Hawassa we know in history and up to now, the city is a hub for multiethnic people,” he said -according to a report by DW Amharic.
The intention of the party in that regard is that Hawassa will be a city that will serve as a city for ethnic Wolaitas too in the event that Sidama zone becomes a regional state. He also thinks about a sort of arrangement where councilors drawn from all ethnic groups are represented in the city council and the city’s administrative structure.
Leaders of the ethnic Wolaita party say that is has been a long time since the demand for ethnic Wolaita party is formally lodged and that they are not happy government has not yet responded to it.
The party also called for an end to what it called military command center in Wolaita zone and for the withdrawal of The Command Post, as well as an end to curfew time in Wolaita zone and the region.
Apart from Wolaita, several other ethnic groups in SPNNR have demanded for statehood after their zone level administration approved their demands. However, the party that is governing the regional state, South Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM) has not disclosed decisions officially regarding these statehood demands.
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