18 July 2018

Ethiopia: Addis Abeba City Council Appoints a New Mayor

Takele Uma Banti, eng. is appointed by the council of the Addis Abeba City Administration to become the city's next mayor. Takele replaces the outgoing mayor Diriba Kuma, who has finished his term in office as of April this year. Dagmawit Moges (Mrs) and Dr. Solomon Kidane were appointed to become deputy mayors.

Takele, who was the transport bureau chief of Oromia regional state until his appointment, will have the official title of a deputy/acting mayor because he is not a member of the city's council. However he will have the full responsibilities of a mayor. Previously Takele has served as mayor of Hoelta and Sululta towns in the Oromia regional state special zone surrounding Addis Abeba.

The elections for the Addis Abeba City Council, along with local elections and the elections for Dire Dawa city council, another chartered city, were planned to take place in April this year, but they were all postponed for next year, making the outgoing Mayor Diriba Kuma, who is now appointed to become an ambassador, stay in office beyond his mandate. The city's council appointed Takele as the 31st mayor of the city following an extraordinary session yesterday afternoon.

Takele is taking over a city riddled with multiple problems including corruption, high unemployment, housing shortages, sanitation, water shortages, and most dauntingly, a complicated constitutional entanglement, among others. Takele himself came to the public's limelight when he fiercely protested against the controversial 'Addis Abeba Integrated Master Plan', which set the beginning of the Oromo protests in April 2014. The master plan has since been shelved.

In a message posted on his facebook page Takele referred to the city "a melting pot where Ethiopia's many cultures meet and intersect. It's also our primary gateway to the world. And Africa's undisputed diplomatic capital." He also assured the city's residents that "Addis Abeba/Finfinnee belongs to all Ethiopians regardless of region, religion or social class. It's the microcosm of our "rainbow" nation, bubbling with all kinds of diversity - ethnic, cultural, spiritual, and economy."

The challenges waiting for his as mayor were not lost in Takele's message too. "I am also mindful of the many challenges that lie ahead. Managing our great city's rapid spatial growth; improving the lives of all Addis Abebans; addressing rising inequality and homelessness; tackling water shortage; sanitation issues; improving good governance and service delivery; ensuring access to affordable, efficient and reliable transportation especially for the poor; tackling youth unemployment; and finally making Addis a modern cosmopolitan City."

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