Council ratify Ethiopia’s new ethnic-Sidama statehood

Council of SNNPR recognizes Sidama as an exclusive ethnic statehood. Located in South Ethiopia, the zone has about three million population

Sidama State _ council SNNPR
Ceremonial recognition for Sidama sate at the SNNPR council. Photo : ENA

June 18, 2020

Seven months after the referendum for ethnic Sidama statehood, the people’s representatives of Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR) passed a decision for Sidama zone to be organized as a regional state.

That raised the number of regional states of Ethiopia to ten.  These administrative structures are states that are building blocks of Ethiopia’s ethnic Federation.

It was in an emergency meeting held on Wednesday that the SNNPR council passed the decision, the state media – Ethiopian News Agency reported. 

Sidama Zone was part of SNNPR which is composed of about fifty ethnic-based groups – a feature that gives the region a unique feature in that it was not exclusively based on a single ethnic identity unlike the case of the remaining members of the ethnic federation.

Sidama is now an exclusively single state.

Hawassa, a city which is the seat of SNNPR government and a city with a considerable number of non-ethnic Sidama Ethiopians, was one of the issues that were raised when the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) decided to arrange a referendum following deadly violence that claimed dozens of lives in July 2019.

The status of the City was to be determined in consultation with the regional state, as reported at the time. 

Safety and protection of non-Sidama ethnic minorities within what is now becoming Sidama regional state was another issue of concern at the time as radical ethnic Sidama nationalism manifested sentiments of hostility to minorities.

However, the arrangements on those issues are unclear at this point.

On the other hand, a number of other ethnic groups are also pursuing demands to form their ethnic-based state breaking away from the SNNPR.

The Council has expressed its stand that it will take a look into the demands for new administrative arrangements.   

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