The Ethiopian PM seems to think that the demands that Gurage is pushing for are not beneficial. He is implying that cluster administration should stay in place
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Saturday was visiting Gurage Zone seat Wolkite hoping to convince residents to end their pursuit of ethnic statehood.
Presidents of some regional states, including Shimeles Abdisa from the Oromia region, escorted him. From the opposition, the leader of the Ethiopian Citizens For Social Justice Party (EZEMA), Dr. Berhanu Nega, was part of the entourage.
The result of the working visit does not seem to be as intended.
Abiy claimed that the discussion he had with residents was a good one. The peaceful nature of Guraghe’s pursuit of justice must have impressed him.
He wrote “The Gurage people are a peace loving people that address any emerging issues through constructive engagements and dialogue. I am pleased to have listened to the concerns and hopes they expressed in our discussions today,”
As it turns out, there was no agreement on the issue of statehood and he did not talk about it either.
EBC, state media, cited the Prime Minister as saying that administrative arrangement is not key for all the questions. “Residents of Gurage Zone should strengthen unity with neighboring zones and work together towards development,” he said, as reported by EBC.
Abiy Ahmed’s discussion was with representatives from the zone. And happened amid a stay-at-home strike called by an opposition party that is pursuing the statehood demand sternly.
Gogot for Gurage Unity and Justice party, an opposition party, shared a status update on its Facebook page highlighting the meeting that reportedly took place on Thursday this week and about the meeting scheduled to take place between the Prime Minister and residents of Guraghe zone.
The update from the party cited PM Abiy as saying, at the meeting in Addis Ababa on Thursday, “If I want Guraghe to become a region, it does not take me five minutes…I am not going to allow that because organizing on the basis of the region does not benefit Guraghe.” However, borkena was unable to confirm this from other sources.
According to the EBC report, the discussion between Abiy Ahmed and Guraghe zone residents focused on governance and development issues.
Participants posed questions about problems related to the lack of peace and development in the region. Residents made complaints that they are impacted by governance, water, road, health and educational development issues. These problems have reportedly caused social and economic pressure on the people.
Abiy is said to have pledged to resolve the demands step by step.
In February 2023, government security forces opened fire on demonstrators who took to the street in Wolkite to protest the shortage of water and killed at least three of them.. Several others were wounded. Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has established the figure by contacting eyewitnesses and relatives of the victims.
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