Entewawekalen Wey Special Show Hosted By Artist Hanna Yohannes. How much do you know about the person who is very close to you? July 14,2019
Having proceeded with the proper legal procedure – first getting the question approved by the zonal council, exactly about a year ago, and submitting a formal request for the regional council to conduct a referendum – the question of Sidama seceding from the Southern Regional State and forming a self-administrative region has reached the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) for a referendum.
But the NEBE is excusing itself from conducting the referendum mentioning various reasons. These reasons can be summed up by institutional reform, creating the needed legal framework for the independence of the Board as well as ensure a free and fair election in 2020 and fulfilling the Board’s human resource needs.
While the constitution of the Federation states that referendums of such nature shall be conducted within one year and while the one-year ultimatum on the constitution has lapsed by unnoticed and with the silence either from the federal government and the NEBE, things have been reaching a boiling point in Sidama as well as other constituencies under the Southern Regional State.
Despite their enthusiasm about the fast-paced process until it reached and stalled at the NEBE, the people of Sidama staged two major rallies asking for a quickened response from the Board. The first rally called in all Sidamas and supporters of the cause from all walks of life and the second only involved the women who propagated the same kind of message – quickened response to their constitutional question. The heads of the zonal administration, Sidama cause activists residing both in Ethiopia and abroad and high-level officials from the regional administration backed these rallies and called for the same.
The quick movement of the question from Sidama which reached the NEBE with a letter signed by the regional council speaker a year ago triggered questions from almost a dozen zonal administrations that have approved the question of forming a separate regional state out of the Southern Regional State. Their approvals have now reached the regional council which has to accept the question and write a letter for the NEBE for a referendum in the requesting nation, nationality or people.
This, which experts say would be difficult to manage if allowed, seems to have concerned both the regional and the federal government. The regional government commissioned a study conducted by academics including professors from Addis Ababa University. Although the study was concluded recommending a cluster of states for what is currently known as the Southern Regional State, this comes to the distaste of many in the Southern Ethiopian Peoples’ Democratic Movement (SEPDM). But this is not something to shun off for those from the South West and South Center zones as they were to some level implying this.
To the assurance of the concern from the government, during his address to the House of People’s Representatives (HPR), Prime Minister Abiy said, recognizing the constitutional right of forming own state for nations, nationalities or peoples, any such question should follow the due process of law and any move against this will be faced with the federal government’s intervention as was in the Somali Regional State.