Sidama Liberation Front

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The Council of South Ethiopia Region Should Announce the Date of the Sidama Referendum Immediately!

SNLF Press Release, 11 February 2019

The Sidama nation unanimously demanded the restoration of its national regional self-administration on 18 July 2018. In accordance with articles 47 (2) and (3) of the constitution of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) and articles 32 (2) of the law establishing the election board of Ethiopia, the Council of South Ethiopia Region is mandated to organise the referendum within 12 months of receiving the demand for the creation of the Sidama national regional state after the decision has been endorsed by two-thirds of the Sidama council. Seven months have elapsed since the demand has been handed to the South Ethiopia Council without fixing a date.

The Sidama nation has been demanding regional self-rule since it was forcefully annexed into the feudal Abyssinia/ Ethiopia in 1892/3 by the superior army of King Minelik led by Lul-Seged of Shoa. The nation took up arms against the feudal and Derg regimes demanding genuine regional self-rule. In 1978 the Sidama freedom fighters travelled to Somalia to receive military training to wage an armed resistance against the Derg’s regime. In the 6 year civil war for self-determination, between 1978-1984, the Sidama nation lost 10 to 15,000 freedom fighters and civilians. In parallel armed uprisings in other districts of the Sidama, however in Borricha and Wotara Rassa districts the Sidama nation lost over 500 civilians in 1978 alone to Derg’s indiscriminate massacre.

Moreover, the demand for self-determination intensified further under the brutal EPRDF’s regime that further undermined the relative freedom of the Sidama nation by forcefully merging the Sidama with 55 nationalities in the southern part of the country in October 1992 to create an illegal region called SNNPRS. We know that, the sole objective of creating SNNPRS was economic exploitation by the predatory elites of the defunct regime.

Since the change of government following a revolution led by the gallant Oromo nation particularly the youth, Qeerro, supported by other oppressed nations, the country witnessed a glimmer of hope.  A hope is that nations oppressed by the successive tyrannical regimes in Ethiopia in the past 130 years, will realize self-determination without further delay.

Besides, against this hope is a repeated procrastination by the South Ethiopia council to announce the date of the Sidama referendum for self-rule. Angered by the indicated deliberate procrastination, the Ejjeetto called for a peaceful mass rally in Hawassa for the 11th of February 2019.  Nevertheless, the rally was postponed after consultations with the elders and the administration to 21 February 2019; if the regional council fails to announce the date for the referendum immediately.

Therefore, finally, we urge the regional council to hear the call of the nation, respect the constitution and unconditionally announce the date for the Sidama referendum without further delay; as doing may result in an unwanted consequence.

Justice delayed is justice denied.

The Sidama National Liberation Front (SNLF) February 11, 2019