Ethiopia: Wolaita rally for self-rule and justice

By Teshome Borago

Wolaita Ethiopians held a massive rally in the capital Soddo and other parts of the zone demanding equality and human rights for their people.

They also asked for justice for the massacres of nearly a year ago, which the Wolayta Committee for Human Rights (WCHR) labeled “one of the darkest weeks in Wolaita history.”

Many Wolayta people held signs for “regional state” status as well as to remember those murdered in Hawassa and beyond in 2018.

Rare in Ethiopia, the demonstration was reportedly supported & organized jointly by both the local ruling party officials and various Wolayta opposition groups in the zone.

Dozens of former Ethiopian army and federal officers of Wolaita descent also joined the rally in their uniforms, holding grievance signs that the country they defended and fought for is not providing equal representation and protecting their people.

In June 2018, some Wolaita businesses were destroyed and innocent Wolaitas burned alive by radical Sidama mobs who attempted ethnic cleansing in Hawassa town.

In addition to Wolaita (who makeup around 3 million in population), many other large southern ethnic groups (including Sidama & Gurage) complain about the lack of regional status; while other small ethnic communities like the Harari, Tigray, Somali and Afar were already rewarded statehood under the 1990s restructuring of Ethiopian federation.

However, the WCHR said human rights for Wolaitas nationwide is more important than simply changing the label “zone” to a “state.”

In an online statement, the WCHR said:

“We must fight harder for the human rights and equality of the 25% Wolaita people in danger living out of our zone because of growing nativism and hate.”

The new government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has ignored the regionalism requests by the likes of Wolayta, Sidama and Gurage ; as well as various controversial issues on Addis Ababa, Welkait, Metekel, Wollo, Dera, Guji, Dire Dawa, Moyale and other contested areas in Ethiopia.

2 COMMENTS

  1. the current so called federal ‘killil’ is designed by olf and tplf in 1991 to advance the ambition of these ethno fascist groups for ”greater independent tigrai” and ” independent oromoia’. they carved up ethiopia into so called ethnic killils without public consultation and without the participation of all stake holders. the sizes of tigrai was increased 5 fold by taking land from neighbouring amhara and afar regions using the military and state power they captured. the so called oromia killil /region is drawn in a similarly manner.
    Now these two groups stand as staunc supporters of the ‘constitution’ and scream that the constitution is ”none negotiable”.
    the question of the wolaita and other groups who seek regional administration should be addressed to reflect the wishes of the people on the basis of a formula that addresses similar issues country wide .
    It is to be expected that other groups like sidama, guraghie, konso etc will demand similar regional administration. there for a formula should be workedout common to all ethiopians , so that what is done for one region can be repeated consistently onto another region. the entire federal killil structure needs to be revised to address the issues by taking into account the wishes of the people.

  2. What a mess??????? People are driven by devil sprite who ignited conflict on all areas. So those who learnt and spent their time academically, inspire by God and devoted to truth should work day and night to lead those people to a right direction maybe because they are victims of ignorant people.

    If it was injustice on the region, no way!! we should confront it. But watchful and be calm, the ultimate result may lead to vanish you also or back fire to you!!

    May god bless all?

    Long Live to Ethiopia

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