Two opposition political parties – the Ethiopian Social Democratic Party (ESDP) and Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice (EZEMA) – in their latest statement urged the government to address the question of the Wolayita people through dialogue and in a peaceful manner.
The parties issued their respective statements following the unrest that occurred in different parts of the Wolayita Zone of the Sounthern Regional State, which claimed the lives of at least 10 individuals. The unrest came after leaders of the zonal administration and influential persons were by arrested by security forces on Sunday August 9, 2020.
According to various sources, the leaders of the zonal administration and other influential persons of the area were discussing their quest to have their own region while security forces detained them. Subsequently, people, who demanding the release of their leaders, and security forces clashed, which led to the death of civilians mainly in Sodo and Bodity towns.
Even though the arrested individuals were released on Thursday August 13, 2020, the opposition parties urged the government that it should take the issue seriously and try to address the question through a series of discussions with members of the society, politicians, elders and influential persons and warned that trying to address the issue via force would result in another political and social problem not only in the area but the whole region.
In this regard, ESDP recalled that the party has initially opposed the recently proposed clustering arrangement to address the question of region and stated that the incident that took place on Sunday resulted from the lack of the government’s willingness to address the question of the people through open and frank discussions.
Similarly, EZEMA also recalled that the party had issued a statement that opposed the government’s proposed clustering arrangement stating that it [the government] is repeating the same mistake that was committed with the arrangement of the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPRS) and hence the government should follow a peaceful way in its effort to address the issues and to launch a platform to discuss with the public regarding the matter.
Apart from this, both parties urged the groups that raised the question of statehood to be patient and present their question in a peaceful manner and also to take into consideration the existing COVID-19 threat. Finally, both parties urged the government to assess the level of the loss of life and destruction of properties and to notify the outcome to the public swiftly.