ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia
Ethiopia officially got a 10th Regional State Government on Thursday.
On Nov. 20, 2019, the Sidama ethnic group, one of 56 in the country’s Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples
Regional State (SNNPRS), held a referendum voting for a separate state government in what was a landslide result.
The official transfer of power was conducted during an emergency meeting of the SNNPRS, according to the state broadcaster FANA.
There are at least 10 other ethnic groups in the region demanding the same status threatening a further breakdown of the country into ethnic-based self-administered entities.
The lead up to Sidama referendum was bloody when youths demanding immediate secession clashed with security forces resulting in the death of scores of people.
Sidama is the largest ethnic group in the southern Ethiopia region with more than 3 million population.
The official secession would not pose any problem in the wider region as people would maintain their age-old togetherness in other areas of people to people contact, FANA quoted the president of the SNNPRS as saying.
The beautiful lakeside city of Hawassa would be the capital of the new Sidama Regional State Government. It is expected that the Sidama state would soon announce its cabinet and form a regional parliament.
Ethiopia has become an ethnic-based federal state upon the endorsement in 1994 of a federal constitution that gives ethnic groups the right to self-administration up to secession.
Many Ethiopians are vehemently opposed to the constitution’s Article 39 that gives secession right to ethnic groups.
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