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HoF Green Lights Regional Statehood

HoF Green Lights Regional Statehood

Federal gov’t cuts ties with new Tigray admin

The House of Federation on Tuesday approved unanimously the request of five zonal administrations and one special Woreda (district) under the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region (SNNPR) to hold a referendum towards coming together to form a new regional state.  

Kaffa, Sheka, Bench Sheko, Dawuro, and West Omo zones as well as Konta special woreda will be establishing local entities of the new regional state that has the proposed name of ‘South West Ethiopia Nations Regional State,” it was indicated.

The ‘go ahead’ for the referendum towards establishing the regional state has come amid several questions for regional statehood status from the current SNNPR.

The zonal administrations and special woreda have requested for a new regional state as they share similar language, culture, history, and geographical landscape. The decision was announced during Tuesday’s first regular session of the HoF held at its conference hall.

During the session, the house debated thoroughly on the stated agenda before members unanimously approved the proposal to hold a referendum. The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) is expected to come up with a schedule to hold the referendum on the proposed regional statehood of the five local entities.

So far, about 13 zonal administrations in the SNNPR filed their request for the regional council to form their own regional states, according to information obtained from the HoF.

In addition to Sidama that has already become a regional state following a 2019 referendum, another 12 zones in the SNNPR asked for a referendum on regional statehood.

Some of the zones that have been permitted to come together and form a regional state were among those that put in a request. The 12 zones that put in a request are: Kaffa, Gurage, Bench-Maji, Hadiya, Dawuro, Wolayta, Gamo, Kembatta Tembaro, Silte, South Omo, Gofa and Gedeo. 

In the same session, the house also passed a rare decision directing the federal government to halt all forms of relations with the news administration of the Tigray Regional State that has been accused by the former of holding illegal regional elections against the constitutional order. 

The decision has come following a resolution passed by the HoF on September 2020, declaring the regional election in Tigray null and void.

The Constitutional and Identity Affairs Standing Committee, which was mandated to follow the execution of the decision, reported the negative response of the regional state.

The HoF then passed a three-point decision, which entails: suspension of any form of relations with the Tigray regional council and higher executive bodies formed after the illegal election carried out in the region; maintaining working relations with the legal structure including city/town and kebele administrations that focus on development and the provision of basic services to the Tigray people; and monitoring the decision shall be carried out by the Speaker of the HoF and the relevant standing committee.