Events were organized ranging from panel discussions to road races in the main office of the new Sheger City
Oromia regional state senior authorities, including Shimes Abdissa, organized a discussion at the Sheraton Addis on what state media called the “Official establishment of Sheger City.”
Discussing Sheger city as a priority has raised ethical and political questions as it happened at a time when hundreds of thousands of residents in the Borena zone of the region experienced a famine-like situation due to a drought that killed well over three million livestock.
While many expressed views on social media platforms tend to see the Sheger City Project, which is poised to be bigger than Addis Ababa itself, as a political project, Oromia region authorities have been making claims that it is intended to bring about ease in government service delivery.
Mesfin Melaku, the cluster coordinator of the city, says the establishment of Sheger City will address demands from the people. He said it will embrace farming communities and make them beneficiaries of job creation, efficient service delivery and food security.
A range of activities was organized this week and it sounded like a big advertising spree. AbaDula Gemeda, former speaker of the house of representatives and president of Oromia region, was among the speakers. “Establishing modern cities is important for the growth of the region or Ethiopia.” And he had a way of fending off the growing skepticism towards ethnic Oromo nationalist politicians. “Our big agenda is getting out of poverty; that is achievable by establishing cities like Sheger and working hard,” he said.
Ethiopian News Agency, state media, cited Shimeles Abdissa as saying that “Sheger city is established with the aim to modernize service.” He is thinking in terms of “digital services” that are in line with the time we are living in. He also said that the Sheger thing will help farmers to practice modern agriculture.
The price that thousands of citizens paid for it is shocking beyond imagination. There are reports houses have been demolished while families were sleeping during nighttime.
This past week saw an intensification of demolition in what became Sheger City under the guise of “illegal settlements.” The claims of “illegal settlements,” are rather bizarre for some. Ethiopian Human Rights Council report released this week indicates that there were houses that are as old as 20 years with legal documentation including documents for utility bills and land taxes.
The action left thousands of residents homeless.
Sheger city is established in a way to bring together six towns that surround the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. It has 12 sub-cities and 36 districts.
The regional state is planning to build one million new houses in Sheger City.
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