NEWS ALERT: SNNPRS COUNCIL CALLED FOR EMERGENCY MEETING; EXPECTED TO TRANSFER POWER TO EFFECT SIDAMA REGIONAL STATE

NEWS ALERT: SNNPRS COUNCIL CALLED FOR EMERGENCY MEETING; EXPECTED TO TRANSFER POWER TO EFFECT SIDAMA REGIONAL STATE

Signboards declaring Sidama statehood are placed in various places in Sidama zone were placed as far back as July 2019 . Photo: Social Media

Addis Abeba, June 16/2020 – The Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Regional (SNNPRS) Council has called for an emergency meeting of its members for June 18.

The letter from the Council requests its members to assemble at Millennium Hall (Cultural Hall) of Hawassa & collect the main agenda of the 5th year, 2nd emergency meeting.

A source close to the matter told AS that the main agenda of the meeting will be the transfer of power to effect the official actualization of the new Sidama Regional State.

In a referendum held on November 23/2019, an overwhelming majority (99.8% or 2,277,063 out of the registered 2,280,147) voters have voted in favor of a future Sidama regional state. However, the decision has not been effected as of yet and it is expected that the main agenda of Thursday’s meeting by the Council will focus on that.

The emergency meeting also comes at the heels of the decision by 38 members of Wolayta zone representatives of the Council to withdraw from the council in protests against a recent move to reorganize the Southern region into four regional states. Wolayta zone representatives said the move didn’t consider their request for a separate statehood.

When effected, the Sidama regional state will become Ethiopia’s 10th regional state bordering Guji and West Arsi zones of the Oromia regional state and Wolayta and Kembata (both of which have approved statehood quests at zonal levels), as well as Gedeo zones of the SNNPR. AS


NEWS: DEBRETSION CALLS FOR A NATIONAL DIALOGUE INVOLVING ALL POLITICAL PARTIES, NATIONS & NATIONALITIES

Participants of today’s meeting in Mekelle

BY BILEH JELAN @BILEHJELAN

Addis Abeba, June 16/2020 – In a statement released late this afternoon on the officials Facebook page Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), Tigray Regional State vice president Debretsion G/Michael (PhD) is quoted as saying that “if there is a need to have a platform for dialogue, it should be a a national dialogue involving all political parties and Ethiopia’s nations and nationalities.”

Debretsion said this in the wake of a day-long dialogue with representatives of Ethiopian Inter-Faith Council, a Council consisting of seven different religious and traditional leaders, as well as representatives of Abba Gadas, senior citizens, and elders who took the initiative to travel to Mekelle in a bid to lesson growing tension between the ruling Prosperity Party and TPLF.

The statement said the representatives have presented a written paper on what they believed to be the initial discussion points in which they emphasized that “The leaderships of Tigray regional state and the federal government should immediately sit at a round table and calmly discuss about national consensuses as well as discuss on ways of solving global and national challenges together.” They have also emphasized that what the country needs at the moment was peace and its people should focus on peace and development and not war, the statement paraphrased the paper by the representatives.

It is in his response to this that Debretsion is quoted as saying what the country needs is an all-inclusive dialogue involving political parties, and federalist forces representing all nations and nationalities in the country. He also said that TPLF doesn’t accept any attempt to have a dialogue behind closed doors involving only itself and the federal government and that such dialogue doesn’t bring any meaning. However, he expressed his appreciation and respect to the initiative, although it happened “in the last minute.”

He further accused the PP led federal government of trying to dismantle the constitution and establish an authoritarian state, which has exacerbated the tension between Mekelle and Addis Abeba; and if there are parties trying to solve this problem, they should first look into the struggle between the ruling Prosperity Party and the different nations and nationalities of Ethiopia and not just the federal government and Tigray regional state, the statement said.

Debretsion has criticized the silence hitherto of the inter-faith council for other crises including that plagued the country, such as blockages on roads leading to Tigray region, the use of public media by the ruling party to wage the rhetoric of war against Tigray for its decision to hold elections, PP’s complacency with Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki to sidelining the Tigray region and its people as well as PP’s actions in working with other external forces against the interest of its own people, according to the statement. If a dialogue aimed at finding a solution is to be had it should also include at least other political parties, religious leaders, senior citizens and elders in the region and not just TPLF. He also criticized the ban on the mediafrom attending the meeting, and said holding a dialogue in secrete will not bring a solution.

However, he assured the participants that there will be no war that Tigray will be starting, the statement said and paraphrased him as saying Tigray knows the worst part of a war and knows too well the the fruits of peace, unity and tolerance; however, this doesn’t mean Tigray will be handing over its rights, the statement said. AS