Plan to expand Addis Ababa scrapped

iolafr Oromia-ethiopia AFP A burnt out truck, assumed to be set fire by protesters, lies outside the village of Wolenkomi, western region of Ethiopia in 2015. Picture: Zacharias Abubeker

Addis Ababa – The government has reportedly scrapped a contentious plan to extend Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa into the surrounding territory of the Oromo people, after it provoked widespread protests and a deadly crackdown by security forces.

The pro-government media outlet Radio Fana on Wednesday reported the government’s decision to drop the so-called “master plan.”

It said the decision was made after a meeting of the central committee of the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) one of the constituent parties of the national ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).

Ethiopia is an ethnic based federation, with three other parties the Southern Ethiopia Peoples Democratic Movement (SEPDM), Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) and Tigray People’s Liberation Front ( TPLF) also being part of the EPRDF.

Since last November protests have been raging across the Oromia region, Ethiopia’s biggest state which surrounds the capital city, over what demonstrators said were plans to take more farmland from the Oromo people, under the guise of integrating them into the development of Addis Ababa.

The clashes have since left dozens of people dead, with activists and human rights agencies accusing security forces of employing violent tactics to suppress the protests.

The Oromos, who make up about a third of Ethiopia’s nearly 100 million populations, have had a contentious relationship with the central government for many years.

Many accuses the central government of marginalising them, politically, culturally and economically. The government denies this. It has acknowledged that the protestors have some real grievances, but has also accused them of being infiltrated by terrorist elements which are trying to destabilise the country.

Africa News Agency

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