Ejjeetto to proceed with referendum amid Abiy’s warning
Ahead of July 18, where the Sidamas are preparing for a unilateral declaration of a regional state, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) has warned those who have asked to establish their autonomous regional state, to be patient.
“I ask the people in the South who have asked to establish a regional state to be patient but if anyone tried to go in an unlawful way, the same thing that happened in Somali will happen in the South,” Prime Minister Abiy told MPs earlier this week.
"We have received the requests and be patient,” he said.
Following this statement from the Prime Minister, groups from Sidama, a.k.a. Ejjeetto, believed to be behind the movement, issued a statement stressing that they will go with their initial plan of declaring their autonomy.
“Any unconstitutional responses from anyone regarding the Sidama’s requests are unacceptable,” said the group.
In its statement, the group also said that the warning given, intends to squash the demands from the Sidama ethnic group, which are the largest population in Southern Ethiopia.
In relation to this, Crisis Group, a global think tank earlier this week, have warned that not responding to the Sidama’s demand might create a conflict and a violent climate.
“If the federal government accedes to Sidama’s constitutional demands without a proper preparation, it could aggravate deadly unrest. But seeking to frustrate the demands is equally perilous,” it said.
“Abiy should offer Sidama leaders a referendum date at the earliest possible time. If the Sidama still declare their state unilaterally on July 18, they should delay its formation until sensitive issues, particularly relating to multi-ethnic Hawassa city, are resolved,” said the group.
There are at least ten ethnic groups in Southern Ethiopia alone, who have asked to establish their own regional state.