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News update: Gurage Zone Council declines new cluster restructuring, stick to earlier request

SNNP President Ristu Yirda, attending the council meeting. Source: GZGC

Addis Abeba – In an emergency meeting held today, the Council of Gurage Zone, In Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s (SNNP) regional state rejected the government’s proposal to be organized in clusters to pave ways for two more new regional states.

The emergency meeting was attended by the 92 of the 97 members of the Council, and was held in the presence of SNNP President Ristu Yirda and other high level officials of the regional state. Accordingly 52 of the 92 attending Council members voted against the proposal which would see the zone joining four other zones and one special woreda to form a new regional state. overwhelmingly rejected the proposal to cluster with other administrative structures.

On August 09, residents in Wolkite city, the capital of Gurage zone  staged protests by boycotting routine activities including civil service works and business activities in opposition against the cluster restructuring. There were more protests yesterday in other towns in the zone.

The new restructuring will have seen four zones: Hadiya, Halaba, Kembata Tembaro and Silte zones, as well as Yem Special Woreda join the Gurage zone to be organized into one new regional state.

However, the zonal administration objected from being a part of the clustering stating that it has not yet discussed on issue of restructuring to join the other zones and special Woredas. Earlier Alemyirga Woldie, head of economic sector of the Gurage Zone Council, said that the Gurage zone administration was instead waiting for the response from the House of Federation on its earlier request for a regional state status which was submitted on 26 November 2018.

Alemyirga recalled that these zones and special Woredas had discussed the issue at different levels, but said that the Gurage people expressed their opinions that the question of the regional organization which was already approved by the Zonal Council and was still waiting for the decision from the House of Federation.

The Gurage Zone Council had unanimously voted for the establishment of a separate regional state status during an emergency meeting it held on 26 November 2018. “The council has no other option but to implement the people’s request,” Alemyirga said, reminding members of the Council that their accountability is only “to the constitution, to the people and their conscience,” and that members should implement the Council’s decision without anyone’s influence.

Today’s emergency meeting took place following the submission on 04 August by Kiflu Wanna, deputy speaker of the SNNP regional state Council, to the House of Federation (HoF) a cluster of ten zones and six woredas in the region requesting to be restructured in two additional regional states out of the existing SNNP region. The respective Councils of zones and Special Woredas approved the request over the weekend of 31 July.

The new restructuring will merge a total of 16 zones and special woredas in SNNP region into two additional regional states. Accordingly, the six zones: Gamo, Gedeo, Gofa, Konso, South Omo, and Wolayta zones, as well as the five Special Woredas: Ale, Amaro, Burji, Basketo, Derashe Special Woredas will form one regional state after the HoF approved the request. Similarly, four zones: Hadiya, Halaba, Kembata Tembaro and Silte zones, and Yem Special Woreda will be organized in one regional state. Kiflu has asked the HoF to respond to the requests “immediately based on the constitution.” AS

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