Sidama Liberation Front

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Sidama’s National Quest for Regional Self-Administration Won’t Be Sabotaged
by SNNPRS’s Plots!

Press Statement by Sidama National Liberation Front (SNLF) August 09, 2018      

The Southern Ethiopia nations and nationalities regional State (SNNPRS) has been established by illegally dismantling the previous 5 independent regional States at the end of 1992. The Sidama nation has been one of the 5 independent regional states under region 8, which included Gedeo and Burji.

The Sidama nation vehemently opposed the amalgamation of the 56 nations and nationalities under one unconstitutional regional arrangement by the TPLF/EPRDF’s regime from the very beginning.  The creation of the region contradicts article 39 (2) of the constitution of the FDRE. It was unfair and unjustifiable under any circumstances. It did not take into account suitability for governance, delivery of economic and social services and justice to the various peoples merged into this artificial region. The two fundamental objectives of creating the southern region were (1) to counter Oromo nationalism and (2) loot rich natural resources of the region with impunity to enrich the Tigray region. Nothing more, nothing less.  

Regardless of the Sidama’s unanimous rejection, it has been imposed on Sidama and the other 4 independent regional states that make up amorphous SNNPRS. Ever since, the Sidama nation has been at logger heads with the TPLF/EPRDF regime on this critically important issue for the survival of the Sidama nation.  

The Sidama nation is the fifth largest in the country and an economic backbone of the country supplying a third of coffee exported earning the country hundreds of millions of USD in foreign exchange.

The Sidama people and its business community were systematically targeted in the past 27 years whilst the TPLF and its loyal affiliates are given privileged statuses in Sidama land Hawassa.  It development activities were dismantled and ransacked.

To date the Sidama nation has been subjected to countless atrocities and massacres including the Loqqee massacre of 2002 and the June 2018 planned killing of over 12 Sidama civilians in Hawassa and 8 Sidama and Oromo civilians in Shaammana grenade attack in which more than 78 Sidama and Oromo civilians were wounded.  The Sidama nation has been targeted by a well-planned and meticulously coordinated by three anti-Sidama elements including TPLF, Deheden and TPLF’s Sidama cadres such as the infamous criminal Shiferaw Shigiute.

Without bowing to these coordinated attacks on the nation, the Sidama has strengthened its resolve to push with its demand for a regional self-rule that has been aborted 12 years ago. To materialise their long overdue demand for a regional self-administration, the Sidama Zone council held its extra-ordinary emergency meeting on July 18, 2018. On the indicated meeting, the decision to become a regional state has been made unanimously. Following this, the decision has been passed over to the SNNPRS, federal government and federal house of federation as per the constitution of the country.  

Therefore, the Sidama nation is waiting for the date to be fixed to undertake a referendum within 12 months from the date of decision of the council of the Sidama Zone. Neither regional SNNPR State nor the federal government of Ethiopia has got any constitutional right to reject the decision of the Sidama Zone apart from honouring the constitution by allowing the Sidama nation to undertake the constitutional requirements before becoming a regional state. If the regional state (SNNPRS) fails to prepare for the necessary conditions for the Sidama nation within 12 months from the date of decision to conduct a referendum, the Sidama nation by default becomes a region after sending a formal letter to the Federal government for recognition.

In similar manner the SNNPRS aborted the demand of the Sidama nation to become a regional state in 2005/06, the same SNNPRS’s culprits are playing their old game cards. Currently, they are engaged with propagating to double the numbers of various Sidama districts once again as part of dividing the Sidama nation and sowing conflicts. This is planned to create unnecessary tensions between the Sidama community- thereby divert their attention from the core issue.  

Therefore, the actions of the SNNPRS and their TPLF’s agents are not only criminal, but also unlawful whilst the Sidama nation is in the process of waiting for a referendum date to be fixed. We reiterate that, this must be a focus of the Sidama nation and the Sidama Zone. We also emphasises that, it is also none of SNNPRS’s business; hence they must refrain from using the Sidama nation as their experiential tool to make the nation a model of subjugation and oppression. The Sidama nation has been extremely tolerant of SNNPRS and those who are living in its soil but continuously plot against the interest and right of the nation. Tolerance and patience have got limit. The Sidama is at the maximum point.   

The Sidama nation demands restoration of its regional administration in the coming 11 months in accordiance with articles 39(2) and 47(2) of the constitution of the FDRE. The nation will never comprise on this demand!!

Finally, we call upon the Ethiopian government to ensure that the rule of law is observed and the constitution of the country is honoured. We demand that the SNNPRS must unconditionally stop interfering in Sidama affairs apart from preparing for a constitutionally guaranteed right to conducting a referendum within 12 month from July 18, 2018 onward. The Sidama Zone council also has got national obligation of honouring the unanimous decision of the Sidama Zone council by allowing nothing other than preparing for a referendum. The preparation should start immediately. The current meddling of the SNNPRS in Sidama affairs must immediately come to an end.

We are certain that the Deheden (SNNPRS) and the TPLF’s loyal affiliates are working to destabilise Sidama as part of their plots against the leadership of the new Prime Minister. Therefore, the Sidama nation must be unambiguously clear about this to remain firm with its decision to become a regional state. The rest of Zone, District and special areas of administration within the Sidama nation will be addressed once the Sidama nation asserts its rightful rights to a regional self-administration.  

In the end, we call up on all peoples in Ethiopia, in particular those who peacefully live in Sidama land, to support the just cause of the Sidama nation without any fear or suspicion. A peaceful and prosperous Sidama Regional State will benefit everyone who lives in it.   

Justice for the Sidama and the rest of Ethiopian peoples.

The Sidama National Liberation Front (SNLF) August 09, 2018