By Staff Reporter
ADDIS ABABA – (BORKENA) – Following the restructuring of the former Southern Nation Nationalities and Peoples’ Region into four new regions, protest has sparked against the one that was named Central Ethiopia Region, sources said.
The Amharic Weekly Reporter said that Central Ethiopia Regional State, which embraces Gurage, Silte, Kenbata-Tinbaro, Halaba and Hadya Zones including Yem special Woreda is said to have been formed without legal procedure.
Guraghe Zone voiced its resentment through its party, Gogot for Guraghe Unity and Justice that ahead of the establishment of the Region, there should have been discussions on the new draft constitution. Party Public Relation Head, Jemil Sani said that one of the issues that should have been dealt with at the emergency meeting held on 18 August 2023 was the legal procedure to ratify the draft constitution of the new Region, Reporter said.
Stating what he called legal procedure, Jemil said that after approving the draft constitution, the regional and zonal councils including the special Woreda should have come together and asked for its amendment. It was after this discussion, all those bodies should have sat round the table for agreement, he said.
However, he pointed out that, contrary to the legal procedure, before the aforementioned bodies had discussed it, the constitution was presented during the final meeting, which was called to approve Regional establishment. This may cause great confusion among the people, Jemil said, adding that the people of Guraghe have no question regarding the seat of the Region. But it has repeatedly requested that it should be granted its right to become an independent Regional Government.
Jemil said that the question of self-governance is based on the constitution and is being voiced by the people of Guraghe. If this question is not resolved properly, the area may become unstable.
Jemil said that the procedure and decisions made in the formation of the Region show a situation that violates the provisions of the constitution and stifles citizens’ opinions. The decisions made in the course of the discussion have a tendency to plunge the area into unrest.
Expressing discontent over the process of restructuring, Jemil said that instead of introducing a permanent solution to the region, what has been done on the ground is rather a means of silencing the demands coming from the people.
Jemil stressed that no public decision has been made to set up a region in Central Ethiopia, especially the question of Guraghe should be resolved by “referendum” as allowed by the constitution. It is inappropriate to deny the rights of the people of Guraghe.
He said that crushing the Gurage Zone with others “is not legal”. The decision made by the ruling party to restructure the Zone in a cluster is neither appropriate nor as per the legal procedure, according to him. Moreover, the proposal presented to the Zonal council was rejected fully, Jemil said.
Meanwhile Council members of Kembata-Tembaro Zone are expressing discontent against the placement of government structures across the Zones. They protested that it was inappropriate to enter into the establishment of the Region without giving answers to the basic questions that were being raised by the people.
A member of Zonal Council, Senait Legesse said that the question of Kembata-Tembaro Zone is that of justice on structural problems. She said that before the formation of the Region, the demands of the people had been submitted to all concerned bodies starting from the council at all levels up to the Prime Minister’s Office.
However, as there are uneven performances in the decisions made by the Region, there are complaints on the placement of the government structures. The Zonal Council asked for further scrutiny of this issue by independent bodies.
Though the meeting should have been held after the discussion with the council and the people, it was called and decisions were made well beyond the legal procedures. This will complicate the problem, Senait said.
Senait said that the people raised questions saying that the economic, social and political benefits of the institutions should have been elaborated properly and fairness should have also been taken into account before their placement in all Zones.
The government structure placed in Kembata-Tembaro Zone is a directorate of Agriculture, Technical-Vocational, Youth and Sports. But to confuse the people, they renamed this single directorate as different offices of Environment, Forestry and Agriculture which were all incorporated previously as a single directorate. This will not respond to the public’s basic questions, Senait said.
Senait further said that the questions asked by the residents of the Zone for equality and justice turned on deaf ears. But until the demands of the citizens are settled down as per the law, the struggle will continue, she said
“The main reason for the disintegration of the southern region is the issue of justice, and now there should be systems of justice and equality that enable us to keep going together,” Senait said.
In order to live together, all the government structures in the region should be shared fairly, she said. However, as the decisions passed by the assembly are made by putting aside the people’s vote, they are not acceptable. The people know that as the structures given to the Zone are not on the basis of fairness, they keep on with their peaceful struggle until justice prevails, Senait said.
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