News: Delays in school attendance, salary payments cause concern in newly established East Borana Zone

Since the Oromia regional government announced the establishment of a new zonal administration in February 2023, there have been widespread demonstrations taking place in multiple cities and towns, including Gooroo Doolaa

Addis Abeba – Thousands of elementary and secondary students in Gooroo Doolaa, a district within the newly established East Borana Zone of Oromia Region, are still unable to start attending school, despite the new academic season starting nationwide two weeks ago. Civil servants in the area are also expressing concern over the delay in receiving their salaries for over three months.

According to a teacher from a preparatory school in Gooroo Doolaa, registrations have been relocated to alternate locations, causing difficulties for parents and students. Gooroo Doolaa is one of the ten districts that make up the newly established East Borana Zone.

An anonymous parent from Gooroo Doolaa shared with Addis Standard that his two children have been unable to attend school due to a lack of registration. As a civil servant himself, the parent mentioned that, despite not receiving his own salary for the past three months, he had planned to borrow money to purchase school supplies and send his children to school.

One government employee claimed that when they approached the district administration regarding their overdue salaries, they were instructed to continue working with the promise of payment coming soon. Another civil servant expressed despair over the lack of services being provided to crucial community institutions, such as public health facilities. This has resulted in hospitals in the district being unable to provide necessary medications, causing suffering for patients.

In February 2023, the Oromia regional government announced a significant restructuring and merger of cities, as well as the creation of a new zonal administration. As a result, the East Borana Zone has been established as the 21st zone of the Oromia Region, incorporating ten districts that were formerly under Borana, Guji, and Bale.

Nagelle, the former capital of the Guji Zone, was chosen as the administrative seat for the newly formed zone. Additionally, three districts from Guji have been included in the East Borana Zone. Meanwhile, the administration of the Guji Zone has been relocated to Adola Redé.

This decision, which the regional government stated was made in response to long-standing demands for development, security, and good governance, faced strong opposition from residents, leading to massive demonstrations in various cities and towns within the zone. These demonstrations and protests also resulted in the loss of civilian lives.

Efforts made by Addis Standard to reach out to the education offices of East Borana Zone and the Oromia Region were unsuccessful. AS

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