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Kaffa demands statehood, PM Abiy says “it will not solve the problem”

Demand for statehood in Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region (SNNPR) has caused a serious security problem in Ethiopia, at least in the case of Sidama. Abiy Ahmed’s administration has nodded for Sidama statehood demand and preparation is underway to organize referendum. Ten other administrative zones in the regional state have demanded same autonomous state but they have not got similar response. Kaffa zone is one of them.

Bonga _ Kaffa _
Crowd at Bonda stadium cheering PM Meles Zenawi. Photo credit : OPM

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had a working visit to Kaffa- birth place of coffee, a province within Southwest Ethiopia and currently under SNNPR regional state, on Sunday as followers of Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church took to the streets in many cities across Amhara regional state.

Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen, the Defense Minister, Lemma Megersa, and the first lady accompanied him. The Defense Minister’s involvement in the local working visit to Bonga, the seat of Kaffa zone administration, has caused a little confusion among Ethiopians who closely follow the country’s politics.

A massive crowd showed up at Bonga’s stadium where Prime Minister made a speech to residents of the city. The welcome ceremony was colorful as the prime minister arrived in the city wearing a traditional Kafficho coat.

Abiy Ahmed – waving to the crowd in Bonga. Photo credit : OPM

He was presented with a horse, a spear and shield – treasured instruments of warriors in the Ethiopian traditions – and with which Ethiopia fought major battles in history including the battle of Adwa where invading colonial army of Italy was totally defeated.

The popular Ethiopian flag, which the Federal government does not use and even outlawed at some point before Abiy Ahmed took office, was hoisted in the stadium.

Later, Abiy Ahmed, his deputy Demeke Mekonnen and Ristu Yirdaw, president of SNNPR region to which Kaffa is a part, had a meeting with community representatives.

And he had to face the inescapable question of statehood.

Kaffa zone council submitted the demand for statehood nearly about a year ago for which it has received neither “yes” or “no” response. 

The existing Federal government in Ethiopia is based on ethnic identity and the country is divided into nine ethnic based regional states and two city administrations, including the capital Addis Ababa.

The office of the prime minister disclosed on Sunday that Bonga, Keffa, community representatives have asked the prime minister to address Kaffa People’s demand in connection with a new administrative arrangement for the zone which aspires to break away from SNNPR regional state.

His response was “regional statehood arrangement does not solve all the questions,” and he advised residents to consider “other related alternatives.” And he was not clear when he meant by “other alternatives” as the only other within the existing administrative arrangement is to continue as a zone within SNRRP region.   

Keffa zone is not alone in its demand. About 10 other administrative zones in the SNNPR region have demanded a similar administrative arrangement.

The National Election Board of Ethiopia has agreed to organize a referendum only, so far, to Sidama Zone and has already disclosed that it will take place on November 19, 2019. 

Representatives from Bonga residents have also raised economic and infrastructure development issues during the meeting with Abiy and his deputy, and the prime minister has promised to address the demands as much as possible.

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  1. It is good choice . They must be heared . They should be free politically created demarcation and border invented by amhara . Nationality is all about adminstrative and politics specied with religion, opium brewed by priests , dealers who scarmble the land and created thier own hegemony.

    • The demarcation was created by TPLF. Yes they were conquered by Amhara but they remained in a region called Keffa. When TPLF came to power, it lumped them into a new fake region called Southern Nations.

  2. We need to think Ethiopian not regional. They are true Ethiopians and their request should be addressed. What needs to be addressed is the constitution. It should read ” we the people of Ethiopia….”

  3. Subject: “Kaffa demands statehood, PM Abiy says “it will not solve the problem”

    Commentary, 17 Sept 2019
    Quote:” it will not solve the problem” Unquote. Why not? What is the problem? It must be brought to the attention of the Ethiopian PEOPLE in totality and democratically discussed for the benefit of ALL.

    No problem can be solved unless the problem is clearly and openly narrated to the PEOPLE. This is universal truth. It is sincerely hoped that the young (42years old), dynamic, charming and wise Prime Minster will live up to his image and be open to the people that he was chosen by previous government (*) to lead the people of Ethiopia who, for centuries, denied the concept of DEMOCRACY, FREEDOM, EQUALITY, and JUSTICE. Yes, Ethiopia has been an INDEPNENT country for seemingly time immemorial but, alas, equally the people of Ethiopia were under imperial and dictatorial governance without any sense of LIBERTY.

    Now, in the 21st Century, Ethiopia, for the first time in its entire history, is TESTING the concept of DEMOCRACY, FREEDOM, EQUALITY, and JUSTICE as attested by the daily demand by ordinary Ethiopians to have “ethnic identity” and equality thereof. If unheeded (and discussed in a civilized manner) the country may very well be divided into pieces. It is a LEGITMENT demand and a warning against democratically deaf form of government.

    Executing the above objective is the crucial point. Ethiopia has no choice but to deal with the concept of governance that was denied to the people for centuries past. With this background, it is not unusual for the Ethiopian people to show their grievances based on skirmish here and there. It can also escalate to a level of disintegration into pieces. Adio! That would be the END of Ethiopian History.

    What requires is a far-sighted LEADER and with equally well educated individuals in all fields of endeavour in the country to reach the people, not violently and dictatorially but in enforcing peace and stability within an atmosphere of DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE for the benefit of the people, by the people themselves as partners of change. It can be done. It is NOT a new phenomenon. It requires reaching the PEOPLE – not artificially but practically, involving them in the decision making.
    Footnote: (*) it is not a secrete that the “election” of the youngest member of parliament , Mr. Abiy Ahmed, has its own surprising twist of road, unsuspected and beyond expectation of smart experienced individuals who concocted political maneuvering for their agenda. They goofed! As the common saying goes ‘that is the way it goes’ or perhaps, the French saying is more romantic: “C’est la vie”, or to be self-sufficient, perhaps remembering one of the endlessly admirable sayings of the immortal and insightful genius Aba Gebrehana would give political players insightful wisdom of a lesson. Ethiopia is at a cross-road of WARNING.

    • Good analysis. But what would you say is a solid and tangible answer to issues like this?
      Instead of the usual: “Let’s involve the people, lets have democracy, Ethiopia is in danger?…”

    • denkoro,

      is it you fled to london filled with betrayal and narcissit ideology? Is it you who sold tabot and tsilat, taberacle to get into uSA and spying your own people to obtain resident permit ?

      We know that you donot live in peace with your neighbours in your own village and tow;

      I do know you very well, many amharas live in feud and animosity among themselves on the account of stealing land from one another.

      I have never experienced this among oromo farmers who are feeding amhara region while amhara fled to Debrezeit and Nazret due to drought and famine.

      For you it is a great tribal pride and outcry, shilela, to kill innocent people and fire tons of bullets.

      I also remember what I was told that amhara farmers killed many passengers , socalled tsegure liwut, strangers, aiming at his or her head and chest like birds just how Red indiens were treated in the past.

      Back in history western leaders were starving thier target enemy by starving them to death and you are shamlessy doing the same gambling in the life of people backed by Abiy ahmed.

      YOu are using religion and orthodoxy to push forward your ethnic centered agenda .

      Stop playing your outdated and stinky game of politics and religion.

      Many emperors were using religion and christianity in the same manner.

      You liked abune Morkorios since he is amhara . However, he was considered as fan of Mengistu Hailemariam and his party . Nobody likes Abune Merkorios during his papacy.


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