Ethiopia: Astaraki Ethiopian Radio Program July 14,2019 By Mentesenot Yelama On Ethio FM 107.8
Following this warning by PM Abiy, the Eejjeto of Sidama, the youth, met in Hawassa city and issued a statement saying that they will never back down because of illegal and unconstitutional warnings from anyone.
Abiy also called for patience from the requesting people from the Southern Regional State reasoning the NEBE’s efforts of reforming the institution and legal frameworks. And, he said, to answer such questions, the nation needs a strong institution to ensure that “answering a region’s questions won’t create another wound and infection apart from curing the intended disease.”
Abiy further went to say that the current request is analogous to a woman who could not bear a child but got to have one after one year.
“If she wants to have her baby by the third month because of her waiting for 10 years, it won’t work. One can’t change the course of nature because of their yearning,” Abiy said to the giggling of members of the HPR.
The intensification of the question and discussions surrounding the questions of forming a separate region in the Southern Regional State, especially that of Sidama, is finishing the one-year frame put by article 47 of the constitution. There are discussions that the Sidama could announce their statehood on July 18, 2019 (11/11/11 in the Ethiopian Calendar).
A discussion organized by NEBE on Wednesday at Ghion Hotel, Addis Ababa on the question of Sidama saw none from the invitees of Sidama including the opposition. Even a specific discussion paper dealing with the question of Sidama was not presented because of the tensions and the gathering only discussed international experiences of dealing with such questions, the legal context of such questions and how Ethiopia could deal with it.
Disgruntled by this discussion organized by the NEBE, three opposition groups from Sidama issued a statement on the same day calling for the halting of the discussion because “the Sidama did not raise any question to be answered by discussion and studies by scholars; it is rather a constitutional question one.” They even urged the NEBE to announce the date of the referendum within five days from the issuance of the statement.
A prominent scholar, who has studied the Ethiopian political sphere for about two decades, seems to be concerned by such heating and polarized opinions and thoughts around the question of statehood, especially those around the question of Sidama. For such questions to get answered, there needs to be fulfillment of three conditions: the right of the questioning nation, nationality or people, members of the society whose rights could be affected because of the decision like the residents of Hawassa city and the question of Hawassa in which the region as the whole invested to its development.